Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Letters

Article excerpt

Don't shut down Heythrop College

We are writing to express our concern at the news that Heythrop College, a college of the University of London that specialises in philosophy and theology, is to close ("Heythrop College to end in 'current form' and leave University of London", www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 26 June). In their announcement, the governors stressed that although the college would close, its mission and work would not.

We sincerely hope that the governors will reconsider their decision to close the college, and that they are aware of some of the excellent teaching and research that has been carried out in both theology and philosophy in recent years. The college offers a unique approach to the study of philosophy, and the theology submission (including philosophy) to the 2014 research excellence framework received good rankings. We sincerely hope that the college will revive its excellent provision of undergraduate teaching in subjects that, according to a number of recent reports, are sought after by a certain group of students and also by those employers who value "flexible minds adaptable to managing change" (see the philosophy profile developed for the Council for Industry and Higher Education, 2007).

The world of work needs students who have developed not only the skills required for business but also a sense of moral purpose. Heythrop is especially well equipped to offer this.

Alison Assiter, University of the West of England

Alison Ainley, principal lecturer in philosophy, Anglia Ruskin University

Robin Attfield, professor of philosophy, Cardiff University

Plus 34 others

For the full list of signatories, visit www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

Lack of assured thinking

In my view, it does not make sense to abandon a well-established system of periodic quality inspections by the Quality Assurance Agency ("Trust, or verify?", Features, 30 July). As an international part-time research student, I would feel short-changed. In a world in which many countries struggle to set up successful quality schemes for higher education, I cannot see the point of watering down a functional and trusted quality check procedure, especially considering the competition among higher education institutions and even among countries to attract talented students worldwide.

Murat Özel

Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

Bank of Monet and Dada

Universities collect art for the same purposes as they do anything else - to accumulate wealth ("Art and soul", Features, 30 July). They don't care about art itself. They may pay lip service to it, as they pay lip service to valuing research - but not researchers. But the end point is that it's all about money in the bank.

For example, one Russell Group university in the North East has enough art in its cupboards (that is, it has so much of the stuff that it can't fit it all on the walls) to fund all the fixed-term research fellows on its books for another year at least, if it sold the collection. And it's not showing the collection, so why not sell it? Will it sell? Of course not. Are researchers being made redundant? Oh yes. Can anyone view this art, which is owned at the expense of research careers, allowing the population at large to benefit from it? Nope, it's in cupboards. So much for the broader mission to educate.

Wombat Wombat

Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

Double trouble

The supposed "doubling" of research quality in life sciences reflects both numerator and denominator ("REF triumph of life sciences 'lacks credibility'", News, 30 July). As judged by the fact that it came near the bottom of the post hoc table of grade point averages by unit of assessment, life sciences was excessively tough in the 2008 research assessment exercise; it was presumably recalibrated in 2014. …

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