Department audit

November 5, 2004

Sue James , head of school, gives the lowdown on philosophy at Birkbeck College , University of London

Total number of academic staff : 17

Permanent academic staff : 13

Number on fixed-term contracts : 4

Number of hourly paid/casual academic staff : 15

Number of other academic staff : 4 honorary professors, 1 Jacobsen research fellow and 6 associate research fellows.

Number of professors or senior/principal lecturers including readers : 3 professors and 5 readers.

Number of ethnic minority academic staff : None.

Number of female academic staff : 5 and our Jacobsen fellow.

Number of female academic staff who are professors or senior lecturers/principal lecturers : 2 professors.

Research assessment exercise rating : 5.

When was the last quality assessment? At our last teaching quality assessment in November 2001, we received top marks.

Current and approved vacancies for the next 12 months : Christopher Janaway is about to go to a chair at Southampton University. We expect to be advertising a post shortly, and hope to appoint at professorial level.

Significant staff changes in the past six months? Dorothy Edgington recently left to take up the Waynflete Chair at Oxford University, and Fraser MacBride has joined from St Andrews University.

"Star" teachers or researchers? Anthony Grayling was included in The Independent 's list of Britain's 100 top intellectuals.

Research projects? The department recently received research grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. The philosophy school also contributes to the London University Philosophy Programme.

What have been the department's main preoccupations of the past six months? Our BA students study part time and are taught in the evenings; our graduate students are a mix of part and full-timers. All take University of London degrees organised and taught by a group of London colleges (King's College London, University College London, Birkbeck and Heythrop). Our part-time students therefore do the same courses as students at the other colleges, and go to lectures by experts drawn from all four philosophy departments. Last year all our BA finalists got firsts and 2:1s, but a constant preoccupation is to maintain teaching standards while increasing student numbers. We are keen to attract more MPhil and PhD applicants in our areas of expertise: epistemology, feminist philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, early modern philosophy, philosophical logic, philosophy of mind and psychology, and philosophy of language.

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