Lecturers

Don’t mislead applicants, regulator warns universities | Education

England’s higher education regulator is urging universities to avoid using misleading adverts and financial inducements to attract students, saying it could encourage applicants to make choices that are not in their best interests. The Office for Students said offering inducements such as last-minute bursaries to fill up undergraduate courses risked students being swayed by “a sales pitch with questionable incentives” rather than academic criteria. “There are concerns about the use of financial offers and inducements being made to prospective students…

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‘Far too many are struggling’: are universities failing autistic students? | Education

Matthew Moffatt, who is autistic, struggled when he started at De Montfort University. “When I saw how busy my lecture theatre was, it was terrifying,” he says. “My sense of panic is through the roof and I’m not very good at controlling it. It just builds really quickly – I start shaking and want to leave.” He hadn’t wanted to go to university because he didn’t think he would fit in, and hated the idea of presentations and busy lectures.…

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Staff warn of ‘intimidatory’ tactics at Liverpool University after strike | Education

The University of Liverpool has told staff who went on strike over pay and pensions this week that they must catch up on missed work or risk penalties, despite already having their pay deducted over the eight-day industrial action. In an email sent by pro vice-chancellor Gavin Brown, members of the University and College Union were told that failure to reschedule teaching missed during the strike period would represent partial performance of their contracts, which “the university does not accept”.…

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‘The Netflixisation of academia’: is this the end for university lectures? | Education

Before this month’s strikes over low pay and pensions cuts, staff were warned to pause their lecture recordings while they told students that they would be taking part. The University and College Union (UCU), which organised the strike, worried that university management would search recordings to identify who would be engaging in industrial action, and introduce measures to lessen its impact. The union had good reason to be concerned: during last year’s strikes, the head of Edinburgh University’s law school…

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I’m striking because insecure academic contracts are ruining my mental health | Sarah Darley | Education

This week, staff in 60 universities across the UK have been on an eight-day strike over pensions, pay and employment conditions. This has included growing casualisation in universities – which, as a researcher employed on a fixed-term contract, is my life. I’m not alone. A recent University and College Union (UCU) survey reported that 70% of the 49,000 researchers in higher education are currently employed on fixed-term contracts, as are 37,000 teaching staff (the majority of whom are paid hourly).…

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International students crossing picket lines ‘out of fear of losing visas’ | Education

Campaigners against hostile environment policies in higher education are calling on universities to suspend monitoring of international students’ attendance during strike action, because of growing fears their visas will be at risk if they choose not to cross picket lines. Responding to a call-out to Guardian readers about ongoing industrial action in 60 universities across the UK, a number of international students said they were supportive of strike action but worried about failing to comply with attendance requirements with potential…

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University strike: tens of thousands of staff walk out across UK | Education

Universities across the UK are facing widespread disruption after tens of thousands of lecturers and other staff walked out on strike in protest over pay cuts, increased pension costs and deteriorating conditions. Union leaders reported a strong show of support on Monday for the industrial action, which will last eight days and could extend into the new year with a second wave of strikes if staff demands are not met. Pickets had been set up at 60 universities that are…

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Students: don’t complain about your striking lecturers – join them | Education

This week, staff in 60 universities across the UK will take part in a strike led by the University and College Union (UCU). Their choice to strike has the full support of the National Union of Students (NUS) – but not all students have come out in favour of the action. Unfortunately, I’ve heard many fellow students criticise the decision of lecturers to go on strike. Within a few hours after the industrial action was announced, a petition was launched…

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Union warns of further strikes in universities row | Education

University students in the UK are facing disruption to their studies in the last few weeks of term and into the new year after union leaders warned of a second wave of strike action if staff demands are not met. More than 40,000 university staff at 60 universities are preparing to go on strike for eight days from next Monday, followed by a period of work to rule, in protest over their pensions, pay and conditions. But with no progress…

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University staff don’t want to strike for fair pensions and pay, but we’re being forced to | Jo Grady | Education

Earlier this week, the University and College Union (UCU) announced that staff in 60 universities across the UK will abandon their offices, libraries, seminar rooms and lecture theatres for eight days of strike action beginning on 25 November. The strikes are the result of two ongoing disputes in higher education: one on pay, job security, workload and equality, and one on changes to Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions. Although these are separate disputes, they speak to a common theme. Over…

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Why do academics dress so badly? (Answer: they are too happy) | Jonathan Wolff | Education

“I do like your shirt,” said a female colleague. “And your suit.” She then paused before adding: “But what I particularly like is that your shirt goes with your suit. So rare for academics.” Sadly the observation is well made. A few years ago another colleague read out an invitation to an event where the dress code was “smart casual”. What would be the opposite, he asked? It struck us both at once: “scruffy formal”. And what would that describe?…

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What hypocrisy, I think guiltily, as I jet off to academic conferences far and wide | Jonathan Wolff | Education

“What did you do on global climate protest day, Daddy?” “I was in the city centre, and joined the protest for a while. But I had to leave, as I needed to get to the airport to fly home.” I was in Hamburg that day. To speak at a conference, of course, one of many recent academic trips abroad, to China, the US and Europe, almost all by plane. Academic travel is seen as a perk of the job, although…

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Temporary work at £9 an hour. No wonder lecturers are balloting to strike | Education

When Thomas Swann completed his PhD in 2015, he spent three weeks applying for 40 different jobs in academia. He was lucky to secure a dream position at Leicester University’s department of politics and international relations, but the year-long contract meant it wouldn’t be the end of his job hunt. He is currently on his fifth short-term contract, now at Loughborough, and has no idea whether he’ll still be working in six months’ time. “It makes life frantic because as…

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Elite universities are too obsessed with tradition to tackle racism effectively | Clive Nwonka | Education

As we begin a new academic year, the struggle to decolonise higher education in the UK continues – especially after the issue of racism in UK universities returned to the fore over the summer. The decolonisation of universities is founded on the struggle to give non-western knowledge the prominence it deserves, challenging how we understand, study and experience the world through education. It is a collaborative movement which brings together different issues, experiences and perspectives to radically overhaul how universities…

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US academic given two weeks to leave UK after eight years | Education

After eight years researching music history at Glasgow University, Elizabeth Ford hoped her request for a visa extension would sail through this summer. Instead, the Home Office gave the American academic two weeks to pack up her life and leave the country. Ford has held a research fellowship at Edinburgh University – which, like Glasgow is in the elite Russell Group – and is due to begin a new research fellowship at Oxford University. But this is in jeopardy after…

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Cambridge’s one-on-one teaching model is based on exploiting graduates | Education

Recently, I was having coffee with a final year PhD student about to submit his thesis. He was excited because he had just finished giving his first ever lecture. He had finally been able to prove himself and experience what his future job might entail. Yet when we met later, he seemed downcast about the experience. It had taken him five hours to write his first 45-minute lecture – and several more to prepare the handouts and PowerPoint – but…

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