Friday, 4 February 2011

Attack on Academic Working Conditions at UWE

I've been alarmed by news coming from the University of the West of England, for whom I work as an external examiner. It appears that all Professors, Readers and Principal Lecturers are having to reapply for their jobs, a situation that has led the local branch of the Universities and College Union to call a strike.

It appears that the affected staff members have had to apply for new "roles" and it is no longer enough to "merely" lecture and research. Some staff are likely to be demoted as a result of the exercise. Furthermore, after the process has been completed for Principal Lecturers, a similar reassignment of "roles" will be carried out for the rest of academic staff. Philosophy is under particular pressure as a small subject area with further threats to close the MA despite its attracting EU students and the work produced being, to my certain knowledge, of very high quality. This attack on the working conditions at UWE is likely to be replicated elsewhere. The Guardian meanwhile has been publishing articles about what university staff can do after being made redundant. There is little doubt that the situation in UK academia is worsening daily.

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