Cambridge promotion

January 30, 1998

Those of your readers who are familiar with our procedures in Cambridge will know that discussions of the Regent House are not always well attended. In fact the meeting you reported last week (THES, January 23) and at which you said that plans for the reform of our promotions procedures "received a battering" attracted only seven speakers from over 3,000 members. Of these seven, only two were clearly critical of the main proposal to establish a promotion grade of senior lecturer. The survey on which the proposals were based attracted replies from nearly 50 per cent of the 1,200 staff to whom it was sent.

I am not complacent about these matters and neither are the central bodies whose task it is to prepare the detailed report for approval later this term. One thing we can do little about, however, and which emerged as a common theme in the speeches last week is the erosion in university pay over which successive governments have presided. We are about to start another round of national negotiations with the government's instruction that we, and the public sector, should set an example. We have been doing that for 20 years with increasingly damaging effects on all our staff.

Timothy Mead, Registrary University of Cambridge

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