Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Title Scramble

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Title Scramble

Article excerpt

The story about academic ranks/titles at Kingston University ("Kingston v-c defends last post for principal lecturers and readers", News, 2 January) raises again the conspicuous lack of standardisation across the UK's universities, which serves only to confuse rather than to offer clarity - hardly a worthy aspiration for learned institutions.

Despite their (notional?) status as independent institutions, universities in the UK are unambiguously part of a national system of higher education; hence a consistent pattern of academic ranks/titles would seem to be appropriate. A clear opportunity was available - and astonishingly missed - to ensure comparability when the polytechnics achieved university status in 1992, but the absurdity of having "senior lecturers" as senior staff in pre-1992 universities and as junior staff in post-1992 universities has persisted, along with the anomaly of having "principal lecturers" in the latter but not in the former. …

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