Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Humanities Must Lead or Risk Being Left Behind: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Humanities Must Lead or Risk Being Left Behind: News

Article excerpt

A "stimulus paper" from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has called on UK humanities scholars to grasp the guidance nettle if they are to play a full role in the research agendas being developed across Europe.

Launched at the British Academy last week, Humanities Research Leadership in Europe was produced by Shearer West, head of the humanities division at the University of Oxford.

Professor West's analysis focuses on the 21 universities that make up the League of European Research Universities, an invitation-only umbrella group.

She notes that although "humanities academics have a more or less equal presence in... middle management with their counterparts in the other disciplines", they are underrepresented at the top.

Much of this, she argues, is down to "self-selection" and a research culture that engenders "a natural mistrust of leadership", which is often seen to be "at odds with the fundamentally individualist, laissez-faire and analytical approaches of the disciplines themselves".

Many medics and laboratory scientists, on the other hand, gain early experience of management and learn to "temper their individual research desires with the realities of acquiring funding for equipment and research assistants". …

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