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Unanswered question: why did the VC not use the University’s own facilities for today’s webcast?

November 26, 2009

Answer: because he restructured media services out of existence, paring world-class facilities down to the bone. So he had no choice but to outsource, at a time when we’re all supposed to be making savings.

webcastThe University’s webcast page this afternoon stated: “We are sorry if you have exerienced (sic) technical problems with the webcast. High levels of demand have meant delays.” Does this shows that university IT needs significant investment? Service areas such as IT, however, are expected to take the majority of the 10-20% cuts demanded by the ‘economies exercise’. These new cuts of course are on top of the IT delivery review, one of the aims of which was to cut costs again.

Sending all IT staff on a three day course which teaches them that they should call their colleagues on campus “customers” (we kid you not) is not a fix for under-investment in IT. (Note, for accuracy, technical IT staff and one or two AR staff have not been sent on this course)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Anon permalink
    November 26, 2009 5:21 PM

    If staff such as IT workers are in your words “expected to take the majority of the 10-20% cuts demanded by the ‘economies exercise'” then why are you continuing pushing your lies to students about how the it is going to be frontline academic staff that will bear the brunt of the economies exercise.
    Perhaps if people like Mark Taylor -Batty spent more time teaching students and less time writing crappy lies on this blog then students would be getting a better experience at Leeds? How many hours a week do you spend directly teaching students Mark?

  2. A Nonymous permalink
    November 26, 2009 5:39 PM

    Are we saying that we should have world-class facilities in all areas, including in areas we rarely have need for (aside from graduation – important, but a few weeks per year – when do we need to stream live data like this)?

    If so, how many academics are we willing to sacrifice in order to have specialist staff sitting idle? Or do we have a bottomless pit of money?

  3. Mark T-B permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:09 PM

    Thanks for the comment, and for reading our blog. You don’t seem to have read it in detail.  UCU defend academic and related staff. Many academic related staff work in IT, and we are concerned for their jobs, as we are for the jobs of our sister unions’ constituencies. Services such as IT and the library will take a big hit, yes, and as we make clear on the blog, we are concerned to see student provision such as these compromised. Neither  I nor my colleagues have told any lies anywhere here. Academic and related staff are to be targetted. Come to my office, I’d happily show you the paperwork from around campus. It was after all the deputy vice chancellor who told us that academic staff in the areas under review would face compulsory redundancies. I hope you are right and that this proves to be untrue, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he was lying, as you describe our reporting of his words.  

    I  can assure you my teaching load is the same as my peers.

  4. Lecturer permalink
    November 26, 2009 9:14 PM

    Anon –
    frontline academic staff and services are all going to suffer. Centralisation of services might not affect academic jobs, but it will affect our roles and our ability to do our jobs. And it will affect the student experience – we care about the student experience. Loosing IT staff, secretaries, technicians, makes it harder for us to teach, harder for us to do research. Make no mistake, even if (unlikely as it may be) no academics go, the student experience at Leeds will be poorer after the cuts.

  5. November 27, 2009 6:11 PM

    Can I just say on behalf of LUU, that we do not condone personal jibes against individual members of University staff. If any students has an issue with a staff member, they are encouraged to come to the Union to discuss it privately.
    Leeds University Union is looking forward to having a constructive working relationship with UCU over the coming months and throughout these challenging times.

  6. November 27, 2009 8:05 PM

    I am insulted by the annoymous comment at the top of this thread. Mark is my Personal Tutor, and always has time for me and his students. He is highly committed, and delivers fantastic lectures, seminars and workshops. There are many students who will pick his modules as much because he is teaching them as the subject. The whole of the Workshop Theatre has nothing but respect for him, and I will not abide personal attacks against him. Especially when they are wrong – it is some cheek to accuse Mark of lying.

  7. Nick Pearce permalink
    November 27, 2009 8:54 PM

    I could not agree more with Conor Whelan. Mark Taylor Batty has always demonstrated admirable professionalism towards colleagues, respect for those he teaches, and compassion towards his tutees (which I proudly count myself as). Such defamation is needless, and a sad indication of ignorant, cybernetic scribbling.

  8. Georgia Sharp permalink
    November 27, 2009 9:06 PM

    I second Conor’s comment. Ask any student of the Workshop Theatre about Mark and they will have nothing but praise for him – guaranteed. Mark always has time for us.

    Even if you’re going to post comments like that (and as Jak said, personal jibes like that are completely unacceptable and unnecessary), at least have the decency to leave your name. I suggest you drop into the Workshop Theatre sometime and go and see Mark in his office to discuss your views if you feel this way, instead of making such unfounded accusations on here.

  9. November 27, 2009 9:38 PM

    I think you miss the point. The video recording was outsourced and the video streaming supplied. The university side failed to cope with a small amount of traffic (happy to see stats that indicate that ‘small’ to be wrong). Video is a service needed year-round in multiple discipline. Video-streaming technology is neither over-complex or expensive. The issue is with staffing. Fewer staff means resources are thin. Take the removal of technical staff in the School of Education and the impact that has had on ability to smoothly deliver some modules. The reduction of staff makes the delivery of services slower, less efficient and spread thinner.

  10. Michael Heap permalink
    November 27, 2009 10:45 PM

    I am also one of Mark’s personal tutees and was lucky enough to be taught by him in a number of seminars, lectures and workshops. I think bandying around baseless accusations is nothing short of abject foolishness, especially when it comes to calling people liars. The difference between the VC’s attitude to cuts and to university spending is shocking and that should be the focus of our concerns, not this petty insult-mongering.

  11. Sophie Paulden permalink
    December 2, 2009 12:13 AM

    I agree with all of the comments above. I, too, am an English student at Leeds University and i concur that Mark always has time for us. Even in this busy time with Mark being in meetings and protests regarding the job cuts, he still has time for us and i personally feel that if I had an issue needing discussion i could drop him an email and arrange a meeting.

  12. Anonymouse permalink
    December 4, 2009 7:41 PM

    The recording of graduation ceremonies is already outsourced and streamed from outside – only the recordings are streamed from existing internal systems. One main question is why did the VCs show have to be done live anyway? It could have been recorded and put out on LUtube, which is where it ended up after the event anyway.

  13. Ronni Thomas-Osborne permalink
    December 4, 2009 8:25 PM

    If people are going to make belittling personal comments about valued and incomparable members of academic staff they should at least attempt to substantiate their remarks. I would also suggest that they don’t choose a top class lecturer, dedicated and supportive personal tutor and excellent seminar leader to speculate about as evidence suggests it will only end in their derogatory remarks being disproved by students who actually have a leg to stand on.

  14. pedant permalink
    March 12, 2010 5:00 PM

    If you are going to comment on spelling and grammatical errors it is wise to ensure your own writing is perfect.

    “We are sorry if you have exerienced (sic) [b]UCU comment[/b] technical problems with the webcast. High levels of demand have meant delays.” Does this show[u]s[/u] [b](UCU mistake)[/b]that university IT needs significant investment?

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