'academia' Category

  • Thoughts on the UUK Offer of 23 March 2018

    March 24, 2018

    UUK and UCU released a statement on Friday setting out a way forwards on the USS dispute. This (very lengthy) post examines the statement point by point, emphasising the concessions made by both sides. The summary/ conclusion of my analysis is as follows: Employers have made major concessions only as a result of industrial action. […]

  • On the Third World Quarterly imbroglio

    December 12, 2017

    I have co-authored a letter, printed in last Saturday’s Times, with a longer version in Times Higher Education, defending the academic journal Third World Quarterly and its editor, Shahid Qadir. I organised this letter with my colleague Phil Cunliffe at Kent, and it is signed by most of the journal’s remaining editorial board members, editors […]

  • Student Outcomes Metrics

    October 20, 2015

    In the last couple of months I’ve been busy writing a response to HEFCE’s plans for changing the “quality assurance” system in UK higher education. The outcomes are blogged here and here at the Disorder of Things. An open letter against the use of “student outcomes” metrics as a proxy measure of teaching quality – […]

  • The Perpetual Financial Crisis of UK Higher Education

    July 23, 2015

    A piece I originally wrote for The Disorder of Things has been reposted by Times Higher Education here. My favourite paragraphs as a teaser: The peculiarity of the UK Higher Education system is that it combines the worst aspects of the market with the worst aspects of the state. With increasing marketisation, we see fluctuations […]

  • USS Under Attack: Take Action

    September 9, 2014

    The following is an excerpt from a UCU Left briefing document about the latest (completely unjustified) employer attack on academics’ pensions. It ends with various draft motions for branches to pass. If you’re a UCU member, please take appropriate action. LJ. PS: “I told you so” is rarely a useful political comment, but many of […]

  • Tristram Hunt crossing UCU picket lines

    February 11, 2014

    I am extensively quoted on the front page of the Morning Star today, in my capacity as a UCU activist. The encounter with Dr Hunt was, sadly, exactly as described – save that I don’t think anyone was actually ‘shocked’ (and I never said they were).   UPDATE: the story went viral during the day. […]

  • Politics & IR Journal Rankings

    July 30, 2013

    Generally, I think journals rankings are a ludicrous idea, for reasons too obvious and tedious to go into right now. However, as many will know, HEFCE has recently issued a consultation on open access requirements for any post-2014 REF. I am trying to gauge how far the leading journals in the Politics and IR fields […]

  • Myanmar: a new future through higher education?

    May 10, 2013

    Yesterday I participated in a ‘Myanmar-UK policy dialogue’ organised by the British Council entitled ‘Myanmar: a new future through higher education?’ This got quite a lot of coverage yesterday because the keynote address was given remotely by Aung San Suu Kyi who asked for Britain’s help in reconstructing Myanmar’s dilapidated university system (BBC, Times Higher, […]

  • Academic Experts and Democratic Policy-Making

    October 4, 2011

    A freedom of information (FOI) request by tobacco giant Philip Morris for the data behind an academic study on teenage smoking habits recently caused considerable outcry. Naturally, the company was seen as trying to subvert the research for its own nefarious purposes and Stirling University consequently resisted. They should not have. Not because FOI itself […]

  • Libya and the LSE

    March 4, 2011

    After intensifying pressure and days of media speculation, the director of the London School of Economics, Sir Howard Davies, has finally resigned over his institution’s controversial links with the Libyan regime. He was doubtless right to go, having made grave errors of judgement that severely damaged the LSE’s reputation, seeing it branded the ‘Libyan School […]

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