Academics

To solve the problems of this pandemic, we need more than just ‘the science’ | Dominic Abrams | Education

Politicians make mistakes all the time. There is no getting away from it, as being wrongfooted by public opinion can spell the end of a political career. In that sense, they’re a bit like academics: we are also bound to get things wrong. But unlike politicians, we see the advantages in uncovering and learning from our errors and biases, in discovering new things and constantly thinking beyond the immediate problem. – That’s why the national academies – the British Academy,…

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Manchester University braced for losses of more than £270m | Education

The vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester has said the institution faces losses in excess of £270m next year if students cancel their studies because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell told staff that job losses and pay cuts might be required, along with “rapid and radical changes to our university and the way we operate”. Her stark assessment came after a report from the University and College Union (UCU) forecast that the sector could lose about £2.5bn…

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Cambridge University assigns white academic to look at slavery links | Education

The equal rights campaigner and former Labour politician Trevor Phillips has criticised the University of Cambridge’s “bizarre” decision to appoint a white academic as head of a study into the institution’s historical links with slavery. Prof Martin Millett of Fitzwilliam College is to oversee the two-year research project, which will investigate ways in which the university “contributed to or benefited from the Atlantic slave trade and other forms of coerced labour during the colonial era” in an effort to “acknowledge…

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Lecturers went on strike over insecure jobs – now we fear coronavirus cuts | Charlotte Morris | Education

It’s no secret that around half of university teaching staff are on temporary contracts. While they feel anxious and insecure at the best of times, they are now doubly so due to the threat coronavirus poses to their future careers. This has been compounded by reports about academic job losses in Australia and hiring freezes in US universities. Now, with the news in the UK that the University of Sussex is reviewing temporary contracts across the institution and Bristol and…

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Postgraduate students urge funders to extend grants over coronavirus | Education

PhD and master’s students have signed an open letter asking to be given extensions to their funding by research councils so they can finish work disrupted by the coronavirus. The letter, which has more than 1,000 signatories across UK universities, asks for research councils to urgently publish a plan outlining additional financial support for all postgraduate students. Many postgraduate students are currently unable to continue their research projects and theses because fieldwork has been halted and university labs and libraries…

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Cambridge students urge university to let them retake the final year | Education

Cambridge University is facing calls to allow students due to graduate this summer to restart their final year in September due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of undergraduate students have signed a letter to Graham Virgo, the pro-vice chancellor for education, calling on the university to overhaul its summer exams amid widespread fears that the outbreak will adversely affect their exam performance. The demands came as the university’s vice-chancellor, Stephen Toope, announced it was asking all…

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Universities traumatise student student sexual misconduct survivors by mishandling cases | Anna Bull and Tiffany Page | Education

Sexual harassment complaints processes in universities are a feminist issue. Our research has shown that these processes systematically place (mainly female) survivors of sexual misconduct at a disadvantage compared to those (mainly men) accused of sexual misconduct. Why? Because in staff-student sexual misconduct complaints, students are silenced. They have no right to see evidence submitted against them, to attend a hearing into their complaint, to know the full outcome or to appeal it. Universities have even been known to reach…

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Portraits of UK black female professors – in pictures | Education

Phenomenal Women is said to be the first photographic exhibition honouring Britain’s black female professors. It features portraits by Bill Knight of 40 professors across a broad range of subjects. The show will be at London’s City Hall from 18 March until the end of the month Source link

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‘Abuse of power’: should universities ban staff-student relationships? | Education

Within weeks of starting her postgraduate degree, Allison Smith, then a student at Sussex University, entered a relationship with her lecturer. They had met at an induction party celebrating the new term with drinks and fireworks, where she found him “drunk and loud” but not inappropriate. He later approached her on Twitter. “That escalated quickly into flirtatious talk,” she says. Her lecturer, Lee Salter, assured her that the university approved of the relationship and said it would be “fine as…

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Fewer than 1% of UK university professors are black, figures show | Education

Fewer than 1% of the professors employed at UK universities are black and few British universities employ more than one or two black professors, figures show. The Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) figures show UK universities continue to increase academic and non-academic staff numbers to record levels but progress on employing more staff from ethnic minorities remains sluggish. Universities employed 217,000 academic staff and 223,000 non-academic staff in 2018-19, both up 5,000 compared with the previous year. Only 140 academic…

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As students, we support our striking lecturers in their fight for education | Claire Sosienski Smith | Education

As staff at more than 70 universities walk out on strike, students are standing by their side. Over the coming weeks you will see us on the picket line, holding sit-ins in university buildings and campaigning for better working conditions for our educators and support staff. We know that this is not just a fight for improved pay, workload and pensions: this is a fight for our education. Since tuition fees were introduced in 1998, higher education in the UK…

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UCL to ban intimate relationships between staff and their students | Education

University College London has become the first Russell Group university to introduce a ban on romantic and sexual relationships between lecturers and their students. UCL said the personal relationships policy would protect against potential abuses of power and conflicts of interest. The policy prohibits “close personal and intimate relationships between staff and students where the staff member has a direct responsibility for, or involvement in, that student’s academic studies and/or personal welfare”. It also obliges staff to declare a close…

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‘It can’t go on’: students join lecturers on the picket line | Education

Early on Thursday morning, striking staff and supportive students braved wind, rain and hailstones to picket at the University of Manchester, demanding an end to unequal pay, unfair workloads, rising pension costs and the casualisation of work. Outside the Samuel Alexander building, Spanish lecturers Adriana Bausells and Rubén Peinado said the precariousness of pay and contracts had become the norm for their department, increasing their workloads and stymieing prospects for promotion. Peinado, 34, is on his fourth fixed-term contract in…

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Thousands of university workers strike across UK | Education

University workers have formed picket lines on campuses across the UK on the first day of the “biggest-ever wave of strikes” over higher education pay, pensions and working conditions. The University and College Union (UCU) reported that support from staff and students remained solid, despite the fact it will be the third time university staff have gone on strike in the last three years – most recently just before Christmas. UCU branches across the country posted pictures of lively picket…

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Students say they don’t understand university offer-making. This must change | Julia Buckingham | Education

Education is a great leveller, a route for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their lives. We know graduates tend do better and earn more in full-time employment. More 18-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university than ever before, but they remain three times less likely than those from wealthier backgrounds to do so. To narrow that gap, universities must do more to help them. It is essential that the university admissions system is easy for students to understand…

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‘Naked intimidation’: how universities silence academics on social media | Education

When Cardiff University PhD student Grace Krause began getting headaches and back pain after staring at a computer screen for days on end, she decided to speak out online. “Staff are marking hundreds of essays in an impossibly short time. It is exhausting. Everyone is in crisis mode. Stressed, moody, morose, everyone feels like they’re drowning,” she wrote on Twitter. The tweet came after a colleague had killed himself on campus and the inquest cited workload as a factor. Within…

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