Cult of personality

October 28, 2010

I have read with interest the discussions about concentrating research funding on "centres of excellence" (Letters, 30 September).

The notion that students benefit from their encounters with "great minds" strikes me as crazy. Leaving aside one's definition of great minds, it seems to me that certain academics are being built up as celebrities whose very presence is supposed to make students brainier. What rubbish. Besides, students are unlikely to see much of them, given the academics' likely focus on research.

It is time for us to peel back the layers of nonsense attached to the Russell Group university experience, and instead apply our hallowed criticality to recognising the commercial moonshine that is intoxicating the academy.

Chris Holligan, Reader in education, University of the West of Scotland.

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