Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Article excerpt

- Last week, Times Higher Education reported that management academics at Swansea University may be placed on teaching-only contracts unless they can offer four papers judged to be at least 3 in quality for the research excellence framework. The provision has been introduced by the School of Management's new deputy dean for operations, Niall Piercy. THE has since learned that the school's new dean, Professor Piercy's father, Nigel, wrote a paper in the European Journal of Marketing in 2000 setting out why it is "fundamentally stupid for a business school to try to improve its research assessment exercise score". In it, Professor Piercy senior complains that an RAE obsession leads to BORED, or "B Obsessive Research assessment Exercise Disorder". Symptoms include leading "people who should really know better" to "judge others only in terms of their 'RAE four' papers", regardless of the "underlying quality of their research and other contributions", which he describes as "mildly offensive". Will his son take note and rein in his proposals? Not b likely.

- The BBC is "dumbing down" science programmes because the corporation is staffed by humanities graduates, according to academic and presenter Lisa Jardine. The professor of Renaissance studies at University College London and presenter of BBC Radio 4's Seven Ages of Science was speaking ahead of the British Science Festival in Newcastle, The Daily Telegraph reported on 6 September. She said the idea that presenters must "mash up the difficult stuff, and particularly science, because people are not able to understand, is a complete fallacy" that arose because "everybody in the BBC is trained in the humanities". Professor Jardine, who switched from a maths degree to study English at the University of Cambridge, is presumably not volunteering for redundancy from her science-presenting post at the BBC.

- The University of Oxford regularly gets a pasting from the press, being blamed for everything from social engineering against private school pupils to the creation of a privileged elite caste that bestrides the UK's corridors of power. Now, in one of the most damning criticisms yet, it stands accused of spawning the films of Richard Curtis. …

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