Radical change

March 9, 2017

The report on the “over-representation” of left-liberal views in UK academia written by Noah Carl of Nuffield College, Oxford, which was based on a Times Higher Education survey from April 2015, was reported widely over the past week (“Adam Smith Institute ‘lurch to the left’ report: flimsy figures”, 2 March, www.timeshighereducation.com). It declared that 46 per cent of UK academics intended to vote for Labour in the 2015 general election, compared with only 11 per cent for the Conservatives, and also that the number of Conservative academics may have declined by as much as 25 percentage points in the past 50 years.

The idea that today’s academics are more radical than those of the 1960s is, of course, laughable to anyone who has experienced both eras, but that isn’t the real question here.

Fifty years ago, academics had tenure, lecturers’ salaries were linked to the same Civil Service grade as MPs, universities themselves paid for and actively encouraged blue-sky research, and class sizes were a tenth of the size they are today. The real question is what will be left of our university system in 50 years, now that the foundations that our universities were built upon have been so comprehensively destroyed.

Colin Hendrie
University of Leeds


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry

But the highest value UK spin-off companies mainly come from research-intensive universities, latest figures show