Readers of the lost arts

May 27, 2010

I am always dismayed when I see authorities dumbing down the academic profession. Your article "Oxford report: goodbye readers, hello merit pay" (13 May) covered Oxford's efforts to abolish the post of reader, yet I doubt there is one lecturer at the university who would prefer £2,585 a year to that distinguished title.

A similar case arose in the University of London years ago: the award of higher doctorates was denied to staff with no consultation. We can't know how many scholars were deterred from working for London as a result.

One wonders how long the PhD will last? Administrators must hate it: all that examining is so inconvenient! And, surely, "emeritus" sounds too elitist?

Peter Rice-Evans, Emeritus professor of physics, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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