Acts of treason

December 19, 2003

Top-class researchers do not always make excellent teachers as Stephen Hill asserts ("100 new chairs being created to lift RAE scores", THES , December 12). Cutting-edge researchers are often too specialised to be relevant to undergraduates and too busy to teach, leaving this despised activity to underpaid postgraduates.

Hill's view is a recent invention and not part of Cardinal Newman's Idea of a University for instance. Not everyone can join the research elite. Free-market competition will relegate most to teaching universities. Instead of defending free public-service education, the rush for research ratings is not only a Trahison des Clercs but shows the real limits of so-called academic community.

Patrick Ainley
University of Greenwich

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