TELL US YOUR STORIES

We’re interested in hearing your stories about what happening at your university. Please contact us at kimthomas@ntlworld.com if you have a story to share. Let us know if you’re happy for us to publish your story on this site. We will keep stories anonymous unless you would prefer to have your name included.

Here are some of the stories people have shared with us:

Academics are infantilised

“It’s amusing that you have ‘tenured academic’ as a category, at a time when this is a vanishing, if not vanished breed. I have a ‘permanent’ contract, but the hostile performance management regime in my institution means that we’re all aware that we’re only as permanent as management’s latest whim. We’re inundated with tracts articulating the university’s global aspirations and so-called strategies for achieving them, suggesting stately progress towards a shared destination, while in practice there is constant change and an ever-increasing set of ‘quality assurance’ demands to comply with – which themselves change from one week to the next. Academics are at once marginalised, as human resources officer and operations managers dictate how we must spend our time, and also infantilised with incentives and deterrents in the form of competitions, star charts and hortatory memos prohibiting actions not approved by authoritarian committees. Collegiality, imagination, creativity and goodwill are all dwindling as competition and obedience to often absurd strictures thrive.” Permanent academic, humanities

Business executive made a professor

“The head of our school for the last four years was not an academic, but a former executive of a well-known technology company. He was brought in without any previous consultation to the academics of the school and, now that his term as head has finished, he was instantly awarded the title of Professor, without having never written one single paper, done any research or contributed to knowledge in any way. This, in my opinion, shows how meaningless an academic title has become and how corruption has already destroyed most, if not all, academic values.” Researcher, physical sciences

Postgraduates encouraged to snoop on academics via social media

“Junior colleagues and postgraduate students encouraged to stalk academics through social media and report any materials not in keeping with corporate view of institution. Abuse of disciplinary procedures and anonymity to keep those critical of new management practices in insecurity. Having to spend vast swathes of what-would-be research time rebutting accusations that arrive with big dossiers of supporting material, some of it obviously factitious and implausible yet taken very seriously by the hierarchy. The management and departmental positions quickly populated with right-wing straight males, other candidates edged out through fake sympathy or by making their position unbearable. Breakdown of departmental support structures through chipping away at subject-based integrity. Perpetual turbulence, divide and conquer, political machinations defended through tropes such as ‘professionalism’ and ‘desperate times’. Central members of the department desperate to leave before things get any worse for themselves.” Permanent academic, arts