Academic Freedom, Academic Independence

“Established by Royal Charter; accountable to Parliament”. In a British University a Professor can be sacked for failing to obey instructions of persons with neither interest in, nor understanding of, research and teaching; who have accordingly achieved little or nothing of academic distinction themselves; and who waste one’s time. “Managers”, unelected and unaccountable, may, of… Continue reading Academic Freedom, Academic Independence

The Stern Review of REF

It seems to be a distinct improvement on many counts. One declared objective is to guard against “gaming” the system. Many institutions will surely, nevertheless, find ways to misrepresent their research achievements. I can’t immediately see what these will be. Apparently the rules will be published in 2017 for a REF in 2021. BIES The… Continue reading The Stern Review of REF

Higher Education and Research Bill – what is it for?

This morning I attended a discussion meeting at the House of Lords concerning the Higher Education and Research Bill. In my opinion there is an urgent need to oppose this disastrous Bill. The Convention for Higher Education has produced a summary of the many reasons for doing so. These include, quoting from the e-mail of… Continue reading Higher Education and Research Bill – what is it for?

The Managerial University: A Failed Experiment? – Demos

Source: The Managerial University: A Failed Experiment? – Demos By David West, “..an independent researcher living in Canberra. Until 2013, he was Associate Professor of Political Theory at the Australian National University”. A brilliant account of dark forces exerted on universities, deflecting their goals, activities and governance away from the advancement and dissemination of knowledge.… Continue reading The Managerial University: A Failed Experiment? – Demos

CDBU Public Lecture by Thomas Docherty

Thomas Docherty’s lecture on “Academic Freedom and the Social Responsibility of the University Institution” took place on 14 October 2015, at Royal Holloway, University of London. The poster advertised what amounted to a stimulating account of the necessity of academic freedom for any institution that qualifies, in my view, for the name “university”. Thomas also… Continue reading CDBU Public Lecture by Thomas Docherty

REF and Volkswagen’s cheating device

When a measure becomes a target then it ceases to be a measure. From BBC News, 25 September 2015:  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some cars being sold in America had devices in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. “We’ve totally screwed… Continue reading REF and Volkswagen’s cheating device

Plastid Preview 2015

A fascinating two days, ably hosted by Christine Raines and colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex. The venue was the new, light, spacious Essex Business School, a building replete with winter garden and turf-roofed, space-age lecture hall with dire acoustics. A colleague from an ancient university remarked that the small, internal… Continue reading Plastid Preview 2015