Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

This Corrosion Spreads

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

This Corrosion Spreads

Article excerpt

Terran Lane struck a chord with me, irrespective of the obvious differences between the US and UK higher education systems ("I'd have to be mad to leave here, they said - and they were right", Opinions, 23 August). You don't have to be mad to work in the academy these days - but it helps.

I am thinking about leaving the sector after more than 25 years, mostly based in the UK, but also Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. I come from a Continental European educational background and chose an academic career because I was fired up by my subjects - law, politics, languages and international relations. Academia offered research, autonomy, intellectual freedom and a culture of public knowledge and critical enquiry - until I was told by a senior manager that we were now a "private business" and so it was time to either "lump it or leave it".

I have spent the past 15 years at a large university in the North West of England and find that all the things I deeply value about academia are being reduced to empty shells thanks to a corrosive triad of commercialisation, commodification and consumerism.

A source of pride has become a mass conveyor belt of fleeting, sub- standard degrees. …

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