Undervalued, not overqualified

December 21, 2007

I was disappointed to see my union buying into the idea that academic work is all about research and that teaching is a second-order activity that requires no expert knowledge in one's subject area and for which a PhD is a superfluous qualification. For all the postdocs who feel sidelined from their true vocation (research) in teaching-only posts, there are as many research associates doing a glorified research assistant's job, having been hired for generic transferable research skills and frustrated by their lack of opportunities to teach or otherwise use the stock of knowledge they devoted many years to acquiring. And, yes, many of us are going into further education because there the main qualification for a teaching post is not how one's previous research output can be used to manipulate a spurious national ranking exercise regardless of one's teaching ability.

David Knight, Cardiff.

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