What doctors need is a dose of fairness (2 of 2)

May 31, 2012

While raising a number of valid concerns about the external assessment of PhDs in the UK, Chris Hackley seems to take consumer sovereignty beyond its limits (if it is indeed appropriate to education at all).

In effect, he suggests that PhD external examiners should pass the theses submitted because of the fees students have paid, the time they have spent and the effort they have made. Alternatively, externals should withdraw from the process in the hope that even more generous examiners may then be found.

This view seems to be partly based on the assumption that supervisors have deemed their students' "work to be worthy of examination", as Hackley puts it. In my experience of many institutions in the UK, supervisor approval for the submission of a thesis is not a requirement and cannot be assumed. Indeed, with pressure on completion rates, students effectively must submit before (typically) four years, regardless of how their work has progressed.

Nevertheless, this freedom does help to ensure some protection from dependence upon supervisors and their own prejudices and patronage, a freedom that is not always so evident in the European systems that Hackley favours, regardless of their other advantages.

Andrew Sturdy, Bristol

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate