A complete medical check-up

March 19, 1999

Your front-page article condemns as flawed and misleading teaching material that one of your experts concedes is subject to academic debate over its accuracy and interpretation. Criticism of a university's academic standards based on highly selective material is unjustified.

There has been no evidence in any assessment carried out by this university that any student has been misled.

The issue came to light as the result of a grievance by a member of our academic staff. Given that it was a matter of academic and professional judgement, an inquiry was set up involving appropriately qualified academic staff. The views of the external examiners for this module were also solicited. The conclusion was that there was no foundation for the allegations and that the material was not incorrect. But a special workshop was held to ensure the students' correct understanding of the material that had been contested. The matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the students concerned.

In the light of yet further opinions being submitted, I decided to establish another formal academic review panel, including external and independent subject specialists, to reconsider what is an area where differences of academic opinion clearly remain. That decision was taken before and not following, or as a result of, The THES's "findings".

The statement that an ongoing review of teaching material covering an area that is the subject of differing academic views is indicative of falling academic standards is as fallacious as it is specious. In fact, it shows that exactly the reverse is the case.

Peter Toyne Vice-chancellor and chief executiveLiverpool John Moores University

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