Tag: university management

wrong direction

After being dismissed ‘on grounds of redundancy’, Babis Magoulas and I took Queen Mary University of London at independent Employment Tribunals. Judge Foxwell heard the two cases and dismissed both. We then appealed, but only my appeal was upheld. I wrote 3 posts (here) criticising the Judgments in Magoulas v QMUL that, in my view, failed to serve justice. For a summary see “academic position, age discrimination and social justice“. I won’t rehearse again all arguments, but I was reminded today only of this one. In a piece where I claim that generating large surpluses at public Universities is wrong, I also suggested the Law should become clearer in demanding that Employers effecting dismissals should first demonstrate that their whole institution is in need of cost-cutting, since in the case of Babis, Queen Mary was operating on a surplus of £9-17M, claiming that its Medical School was £2M in deficit that justified the compulsory redundancies. I mention the above, because the new Head of School in my former department (who replaced this one) announced that the new Principal (who replaced this one) has made it clear he wants to increase the present £30M surplus to £50M…

The toxic environment has spread to many UK universities. Such spreading does not make it right. Colleagues need to organise, resist and revolt. (more…)

Hong Kong University Student Union article on Matthew Evans

I provide translation of an article published by Jason Tsui in Undergrad, HKUSU. The views represented are not mine, however the overall sentiment of this article agrees with my personal view of what a bad idea it was for the University of Hong Kong to offer a position of responsibility to someone with a track-record in dismantling successful academic departments. The article mentions that 30 colleagues were fired by the application of Evans’ restructuring criteria. In reality, 11 members of staff were declared at risk of redundancy (I was one). Possibly there was confusion with parallel recruitment adverts for 30 staff during the sacking of their peers or with voluntary departures to better-managed institutions, which eventually have risen the number of departures to almost 40 (without including departures of new staff that joined the School after 2012). The author also appears to have misunderstood that Prof John Allen’s claim for unfair dismissal was successful. Matthew Evans’ vindictive behaviour against John Allen ammounted to breach of contract. My petition for John Allen’s reinstatement stands.

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These are lies, Dicky, not misrepresentations

This is how Dicky Clymo, emeritus professor at Queen Mary University of London, came into my life. First, he taught me about iron pans in peatlands. Second, he taught me that calling someone who is conveying a false statement a liar has implications (difficult to know and/or prove) over a) the person’s knowledge of the truth, and b) the person’s intention to confuse, manipulate or cheat her audience. A polite gentleman, he advised me to use instead the phrase that X manager was misrepresenting Y or Z fact or opinion. (more…)

Are we failing to scientifically educate the next generations?

Merope Tsimilli-Michael, after giving a talk at a conference in honor of George Papageorgiou, where John Allen also participated, asked his opinion on her presentation. In turn, John introduced me to Merope a few months later,  while in Mexico (through Skype). I read with interest what she and Pierre Haldimann had to say.

For more than twenty years we have witnessed worrying changes in science… The first symptom was that a number of publications contained serious flaws… the frequency of low quality publications has steadily increased.

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