Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Absence-Minded, Professor

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Absence-Minded, Professor

Article excerpt

;Letters

Regarding your news item "Don't you kids know who I am?" (3 January), which covered the criticisms made by Guy Halsall, professor of history at the University of York (quoted as describing himself as "probably the most significant historian of early medieval Europe under the age of 60"), of students who failed to attend his lectures. Is not the underlying issue here one of the potential incompatibility between research interests and undergraduate-level teaching?

In the same issue, you carry a news story referring to the growing preference shown by the university sector for academic staff with doctorates ("Doctoral-level thinking: non-PhDs need not apply"). In it, Stephanie Marshall, deputy chief executive (research and policy) at the Higher Education Academy, appears to consider that those with doctorates equate to "the most capable staff ... on the books" who can "give the best possible experience to students" (although to be fair she does recognise that alternative non-research routes can be of equal merit).

Since undergraduate or first-degree students are by far the largest source of income for most universities, they should be the prime consideration when recruiting staff. …

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