Two professors defend their record

December 17, 2004

Malcolm Schofield, professor of ancient philosophy, Cambridge University
In a lively Senate House debate about the dearth of promotion opportunities for scholars at Cambridge University in 2001, veteran professor David Dumville uttered an immortal put-down to one allegedly undeserving holder of a prestigious chair.

"The professor's output at the time of promotion was two slender books, amounting in total to about 375 pages, and a handful of articles... the whole is able to be contained, in photocopied form, within a modestly gusseted A4 envelope, which I display here... it is about three quarters of an inch thick," he said.

Although Professor Dumville was too polite to reveal the identity of the professor, it was assumed at the time that he was referring to Malcolm Schofield, who holds a chair in ancient philosophy.

Professor Schofield told The Times Higher that he did not want to contribute to a discussion of the changing criteria for the prestigious title. But he cited 37 journal articles and contributions to nine books, all published between 1970 and 1997, when he received his chair.

"No doubt (the output is) more than some and less than others," he said.

"It's for others to judge the quality."

He added: "Perhaps Professor Dumville has large hands."

Others pointed out that Professor Schofield, who had been touted as a potential vice-chancellor for Cambridge before Alison Richard was appointed last year, is co-author of the standard work in his field, The Presocratic Philosophers (Cambridge University Press,1983), and had shown strong managerial qualities.

Stephen Hawes, professor, media and film studies, University College Winchester
While his colleagues among the professoriate at University College Winchester list academic books and journal articles under "research interests" on their personal web pages, media and film professor Stephen Hawes instead summarises his career as a TV writer and producer and teacher at universities and colleges.

Professor Hawes does not have a PhD- but this is not unusual for subjects such as media studies, where experience can count more than research.

Defending his entitlement to the professorial label, Professor Hawes said:

"Well, I have published. In my first university career, teaching French at Salford and Lancaster, I part wrote and co-edited a book for Penguin on resistance movements in the Second World War.

"In 20-odd years in television, I got credits as producer, executive producer and writer for arts programmes, drama and documentaries, on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the Channel," he said.

Among these were three full-length ballets by Kenneth MacMillan in the 1980s and Harold Pinter's adaptation of Elizabeth Bowen's The Heat of the Day in the 1990s.

"More recently, I wrote the documentary on Georges Simenon that was transmitted on French and Belgian national networks for his centenary in 2003. I write drama scripts for French and British network television.

These get made and shown and, presumably, judged.

"You offer me the right of reply, which sounds accusative. I don't think I want to reply in that sense. All I can say is I have published, on paper, tape and celluloid. It's for others to judge the worth."

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