Department audit

January 21, 2005

Gavin Poynter, head of school, gives the lowdown on social sciences, media and cultural studies at the University of East London

* Total number of academic staff: 128

* Number of permanent academic staff: 109

* Number of staff on fixed-term contracts: 19

* Number of hourly paid staff: 26

* Number of honorary professors/fellows: 6

* Number of professors: 13

* Number of readers: 5

* Number of principal lecturers: 16

* Number of ethnic minority permanent academic staff: approximately 21

* Number of women academic staff: 65

* Number of women professors: 7

* Number of women readers: 2

* Number of women principal lecturers: 6

* Research assessment rating: Media, cultural and communication studies: 5 in 1996, 5 in 2001. Sociology: 4 in 2001.

* When was the last quality assessment? Teaching quality assessment in 1994 in English (excellent); internal academic reviews for media and communication studies and cultural studies 2003-04; innovation studies 2004-05. Institutional audit planned for March 2005.

* Current and approved vacancies for the next 12 months: Associate headships (senior posts) in media, communication and cultural studies and social sciences in spring 2005. We expect to advertise posts in expanding areas such as social work.

* Star teachers or researchers? Haim Bresheeth (film studies), Phil Cohen (urban regeneration), Andrew Cooper (psychotherapy), Barbara Harrison (sociology), Maggie Humm (modern literature), Chris Knight (anthropology), Mica Nava (cultural studies), Michael Rustin (sociology), Barbara Taylor (early feminism) and Nira Yuval-Davis (identity, race and gender studies).

Achieving 5 grades in the 1996 and 2001 research assessments and delivering the access agenda in East London makes all the staff stars.

* Research projects? We have recently gained grants worth more than £1 million, including an Economic and Social Research Council award in the "Identities and Social Action" programme, a Social and Cultural Impact Study of London City Airport, and several smaller grants for research into the Thames Gateway, refugee studies and metropolitan social and cultural history.

* Anything else? We have a growing number of pre-degree, overseas and PhD students. The challenge is to maintain research standards while expanding.

We also have to deal with changes in funding that rarely support the aspirations of universities such as ours. Arguably, it is the clash between the conservatism of this Government and our more radical aspirations that makes us determined to succeed.

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