Research remains in our remit

May 4, 2007

How could your leader of April have got it so wrong? It stated that Bournemouth University was "positioning itself as a teaching-only institution where scholarship and research take a distant second place", "removing study leave and potentially making staff do more than 18 hours a week of teaching" and "retaining the intellectual property rights on teaching materials".

These statements are simply not true.

Our vision is described in our corporate plan as follows: "Bournemouth University is a youthful and innovative international institution offering a range of high-quality academic programmes geared to the professions. Our student-centred learning environment emphasises both intellectual achievement and employability. We are proud of our strength in research and enterprise and the world-class standing of our centres of academic excellence."

We ensure that our students learn from those who are themselves learning by providing all academic staff with the opportunity and encouragement to engage in research, enterprise and professional practice. To support our position as an academically led university, we have a larger academic staff research development programme and are providing more fully funded PhD studentships than any other UK university.

We are investing in initiatives that will reduce staff teaching loads markedly, not least by focusing on student learning, eliminating course duplication and recruiting 45 academic staff (17 advertised in The Times Higher , April ). These changes have not gone unnoticed: "The dream has become a reality at Bournemouth University where, under a radical restructure, lecturers will have their teaching loads reduced, leaving them more time for research" ( The Times Higher , October 6, 2006). The claim that our staff will be lecturing for longer hours in a teaching-only environment is complete nonsense.

Ironically, the editorial missed the wider point; Bournemouth is moving away from the 1992 polytechnic teachers' contract to the contract enjoyed by the majority of UK academics because it supports our academic aspirations to do so.

Paul Curran
Bournemouth University

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