Simon Gaskell should reinstate John Allen to his post at Queen Mary. It is the right thing to do after the Employment Tribunal’s findings that John’s dismissal was unfair. The Tribunal found that removing the whole of the John’s pre-sabbatical work was such a serious breach of contract that, taken together with the failure to deal with his grievance in a reasonable time, it would have justified resignation and a constructive dismissal claim. (more…)
With two tweets, Prof Matthew Evans announced his notice to Queen Mary University of London, standing down on July 1st, 2016. His departure follows that of Prof Jeremy Kilburn. I once shared with the Principal of Queen Mary my view that because managers (like politicians) change all the time, the incentive to build an improved department (which in former times would mean personal recognition) appears to be lacking. Indeed, this pair of managers deeply transformed the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences: in a blink of an eye they recruited over 50 new academics who joined 40 members of staff surviving since 2011, while effecting 35 departures of active researchers. Was it for the better? I think Prof Evans would say so:
At the same time of my dismissal from Queen Mary on grounds of redundancy, my colleague Babis was also served notice. His case hasn’t seen any publicity so far. In what follows, I present the description of the original Employment Tribunal Judgment by the Honourable Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing, DBE. I transcribe a few parts of her Judgment (ommitting some of the legal terminology) with an aim to make some aspects of Babis’ experience better known and the text easier to follow for the lay reader. The public document is available in full here.
Chris Havergal reports today on Queen’s University Belfast plans to axe 236 (note the precision in their count) jobs and reduce student numbers by 1,010. James Field reports that the University of Surrey is to cut 100 jobs and scrap its politics department, partly using the Research Excellence Framework (REF) as a guide. Jack Grove reports that up to 165 jobs may be lost at London Metropolitan University. The University of Aberdeen is to cut about 150 jobs as part of efforts to save millions of pounds in the coming months (this item from BBC but see also my post over one protagonist).
Let us “refocus on current strengths”. Perhaps we were currently somewhat unfocused but nevertheless strong. Or perhaps we can “reduce” our current strengths (“staff”) to gain a more viable “student-to-staff” ratio. After all students pay more now, they need fewer teachers. (more…)
Last week I visited colleagues that continue to work at my former department. I and others had our affiliations severed following the restructuring of SBCS in 2012. My trip coincided with the publication of the names of individuals (and their contributed papers) representing SBCS in a major UK government evaluation, known as the REF. It is therefore unsurprising that conversations centred, amongst other things, to an evaluation of the REF outcomes for the department and the effects the restructuring had on its performance. Some of the comments I heard are difficult to transmit without placing valued colleagues or myself at risk of further reprisals. In this category I place important matters such as the wellbeing (health) of friends who have been put under “performance management” or subjective views on the dramatic shift in what is being valued and rewarded within the restructured department.
Restruction is “dESTRUCTION by means of a Restructuring exercise”.
I read yesterday that Warwick’s “Medical School and School of Life Sciences have been warned that the departments are under-performing financially” and that “bosses at the campus, in Gibbet Hill, Coventry, say if they have to cut staff they aim to find volunteers to leave their jobs in return for redundancy payments“. I then saw an earlier report in BBC suggesting that the situation was such at Warwickshire College. Were both institutions issuing job threats to instill uncertainty?
What caught my attention was the terminology used: bosses at the campus. I could think of other terms, more appropriate for those in positions of responsibility in a bank, a prison or a university…