Fractional exponent

October 3, 2013

Your recent news story indicated that 0.2 part-time contracts have risen by nearly two-thirds across the sector during the past two years (“‘Game’ of one-fifth? Part-time contracts rise in run-up to REF”, 26 September). It also cited the University of Hertfordshire as having recruited the highest number of 0.2 staff, 75 between October 2011 and September 2013 – a 29 per cent increase on the numbers recruited in the preceding two-year period. Although the Hertfordshire figures are correct (provided in response to a Freedom of Information request), they are not all related to the research excellence framework.

At Hertfordshire, such fractional appointments are made for a variety of reasons, including moving visiting lecturers who are usually on teaching-only contracts to more permanent arrangements. Indeed, in the context of our current preparations for the REF, there will be just 11 staff on 0.2 contracts across our 14 submissions.

Graeme Rosenberg, REF manager at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, is therefore correct to be unconcerned about the increases if Hertfordshire’s example is replicated across the sector.

John Senior
Pro vice-chancellor (research and international)
University of Hertfordshire

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