End audit culture

October 22, 2015

I welcome the chance to be assessed on my teaching through the teaching excellence framework: the quality of my teaching and my ability to engage and inspire students is something that I am very proud of.

Nonetheless, one does have to challenge the logic behind the TEF and how it proposes to measure teaching. This ethos of metrication is symptomatic of government policy as a whole, which seems to be totally in love with imposing systems of measurement that assess how efficient one is at fulfilling the audit criteria rather than how efficient one is at performing the task itself. Family and friends of mine who are medical professionals and in other fields of work are all subject to audits that not only take time away from the tasks that they are meant to be performing but also steer how the tasks are performed away from what the professional judges to be best and towards a less efficient way that satisfies audit criteria.

All the professions, not just academics, need to challenge this phoney audit culture and decry it for the nonsense that it is. Let’s be blunt. As well as being an academic, I am a novelist, a journalist and a feature writer for magazines. Who knows more about writing as a profession and how it should be taught best? Me, or some administrator?

Rick Hudson
(Academic affiliation withheld)

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