Age is not the issue - ageism is 2

December 22, 2006

I recognise much of what was written in your lead story (December 15), although my own experience is that it is less age-specific and more to do with career ambitions. I have many remarkable young colleagues who demonstrate a commitment to autonomy, collegiality and scholarship, and they spend their working lives on teaching and related research whenever possible.

The "splintering" in my experience is a direct consequence of the "quality" industry, which exploits accountability and has had a detrimental effect on the quality of real academic work.

I would, however, add that in the "golden" age there were always academics willing to exploit the old values for another research day "working at home", and some of them could not have explained collegiality with the help of a dictionary. They were not in the majority, but their selfishness and cynicism opened the door to this new and much less pleasant world.

Dave Allen
Acting head, School of Creative Arts, Film and Media Portsmouth University

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