‘We’re only here for the REF’

October 3, 2013

“I find your imputation extremely offensive.” That was how Brian Bryan, our Deputy Head of REF Strategy, responded to the suggestion from Poppletonian reporter Keith Ponting (30) that our university’s recent recruitment of 154 research academics on very short-term here-today-gone-tomorrow contracts was nothing but a cynical device for inflating our REF score.

In fact, said Mr Bryan, this increase in 0.2 staff was no more than a “statistical blip”, much like the “statistical blips” that had occurred at the University of Manchester (47 new 0.2 appointments), King’s College London (66 new 0.2 appointments) and the University of Hertfordshire (75 new 0.2 posts). And it was also very much like the “statistical blip” in the whole university sector, which had recorded a 63 per cent increase in very short-term 0.2 contracts since October 2011.

Mr Bryan suggested that anyone who was cynical enough to detect a pattern in this rush of 0.2 appointments should listen to Graeme Rosenberg, REF manager of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, who recently declared his lack of concern about such figures. These appointments, Mr Rosenberg insisted, constituted only “a small fraction” of the overall academic body and had been made “for a variety of reasons”.

“There you are,” Mr Bryan said. “Straight from the horse’s mouth. Only ‘a small fraction’ and ‘for a variety of reasons’.”

But, persisted Ponting, hadn’t Imperial College London rather let the cat out of the bag by refusing to respond to the FoI request for its own 0.2 figures on the grounds that such disclosure “could affect the funding the college receives…for research”? Mr Bryan told our reporter he did not intend to respond to the question for what he described as “a variety of reasons”.

 

Join the Big March

Please note that all members of academic staff who wish to take part in the “Willetts Must Stay” march to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester should assemble in the atrium of the Management Complex at 9am tomorrow. Academic dress is mandatory.

A variety of placards will be available for collection from the march organisers. Choose from:

SAVE DAVE!

BY JOVE! NOT GOVE!

MITTS OFF WILLETTS!

ALTHOUGH WE NEVER REALLY THOUGHT IT AT THE TIME WE NOW REALISE THAT ON THE WHOLE TUITION FEES ARE NOT SUCH A BAD THING AFTER ALL!

ALPHA BETA GAMMA DELTA! RISE AND BUILD THE PRIVATE SECTOR!

 

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Next week’s seminar in the “Manager Within Me” series will address the importance to effective communication of asking significant questions. Many thanks to all those who have responded to my request to send in their own significant questions in advance of this seminar. Here is just a small selection:

Where can I watch the final series of Breaking Bad?

Did people in the Renaissance sing to themselves?

Do eyelashes grow back?

Is it possible to overdose on potassium from eating too many bananas?

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

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