A lesson in what the LSE teaches 1

August 25, 2006

Everybody at the London School of Economics accepts that there is a right to free speech and free expression. But an academic who publicly accuses his colleagues of, among other things, giving "boring" lectures and of having "buggered off" when they are away conducting research does risk becoming unpopular among them (Opinion, August 18).

Not surprisingly, very few appreciated the joke. Most heads of department would surely think that an open-day speech of such a character raised issues of collegiality.

Of course, if Erik Ringmar had been uncovering a genuine scandal then his criticisms of his colleagues might be defensible. But his assertion that he is no whistleblower is true. Less clear is how far he understands the institution that employed him for more than a decade.

We are a research-led university. We think that this is a positive asset in terms of teaching. There may be circumstances in which teaching and research come into conflict - for example, when academics are on research leave - but most academics believe that good research enhances good teaching and vice versa.

Institutionally, the LSE recognises excellent teaching (as well as collegiality) financially and in our promotion decisions. More important, the quality of our teaching is appraised by student questionnaires and by external examiners. The results have been mostly favourable, and if a problem genuinely does arise we deal with it.

George Philip

London School of Economics

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