A leg to stand on

May 9, 2003

Panel chairs are right to complain ("RAE chairs: 'we'll pull out", Letters, THES, May 2) about the injustice of the invention of a 5** grade in the research assessment exercise and its possible repercussions across the UK. It indeed makes light of their professionalism and good faith.

For academics, it compounds the demoralisation induced by hugely eroded pay, the proliferation of administrative demands of unproven usefulness and the role conflict generated by the pressure to improve teaching quality and to do excellent research.

If, as is always possible, the chairs' hope that the Higher Education Funding Council for England will change its mind proves unfounded, what would the next step be?

John Dunkley
Head, School of Modern Languages
University of Aberdeen

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