When I first started working as an academic, I did a year in a traditional highly-ranked university. It was there that I first met an ambiguous attitude to evaluations that I have found to be pervasive across academia. Evaluation work is valued by institutions for the money attached to it but dismissed as not ‘proper’ research. In this blog post I challenge this value system and explain why I think academics working in sociology should do more evaluation work.
Posts Tagged ‘academia’
Last week Heather from CelebYouth took part in a Roundtable panel, at the University of East London, on the audit processes that are taking over UK universities. There were four speakers two male and two female. Unfortunately the Times Higher Education, in reporting on the event, only mentioned the men. In response, we’re publishing summaries of what Heather and Miriam David had to say about the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the existing Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Academics are increasingly judged by metrics from the amount of external money they bring in to the scores they get from students. Critical among these are journal articles: how many articles, the rankings of the journals in which they are published, the number of times they are cited, and so on. So there is a lot at stake in assigning authorship of articles from collaborative research projects like this one. In this post, Heather and Kim share CelebYouth’s approach to authorship.
Back in December, I was interviewed on Radio 5 Live about my opposition to Syrian air strikes. The interviewer clearly had doubts about my politics but also about my job, evident when she introduced me in a sceptical tone as “Heather Mendick, who describes herself on Twitter as a freelance academic”. The idea of working as a freelance academic is unfamiliar, even to many university-based academics. The most common question I get asked by them is “What do you do?” In this blog I answer that question.
I began my academic journey in 2000 as an undergraduate student at an elite Russell Group university. I was lucky enough to have a great journey through my undergraduate years. However once I decided to carry on and complete a postgraduate degree I began to feel ‘out of place’. As I began my PhD I felt further and further isolated as the only ethnic minority student doing a PhD in the Geography department, and certainly the only person in my department at the time exploring the issues of race and ethnicity. In this post I discuss my own position within the wider context of race in academia.
In Ansgar Allen’s book Benign Violence, he writes ‘for every academic luminary, there are 100 academic men and women who have had their spirits broken by the reductive demands of the academic machinery, which insists that they enhance productivity for its own sake, measured by values which are not their own’. He suggests that professors who want to ‘speak on behalf of that intellectual constituency’ treat their inaugural lectures not as sites of celebration but as sombre occasions ‘devoid of all glamour and charm’. While it’s unlikely any new professor would want to do this, in this post Heather takes Ansgar’s suggestion as a provocation to academics to consider the kind of careers we pursue. In this blog post she offers some thoughts along those lines, explaining why, unless something changes, she no longer want to be a professor.
On the night before our End of Award Event festivities kick off, I’m haunted by the fear that I’ve forgotten something crucial. Now seems a timely moment to blog our ‘to do’ list…
Now we are about two weeks from the official end of the project, we (Heather, Kim, Laura and Aisha) thought it might be a good moment to say thank you to all the people who’ve supported us. While acknowledgements are a standard part of a book or dissertation, people don’t normally get the chance to do the same for a research study. Having this website, gives us this lovely opportunity…
The last section of the Gender, Media and Generation conference was directed towards the discussion of methodologies. The workshop reflected longstanding feminist concerns to enable discussions of the personal dimensions of research, with senior academics offering mentoring and advice for the ‘next generation’ of scholars. There is much cause for concern within higher education: the increasing managerialisation and audit culture, the impact of the changes to university funding and tuition fees, rising unemployment and casualisation of contracts, and the threat of yet further hurdles and requirements for academics to ‘prove themselves’ (such as the proposal to shift to a ‘pay to say’ model of academic publishing).