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FBS professors protest the review

January 9, 2010

Yesterday evening, the Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences received a letter from twenty professors in the Faculty. In it, after recognising the challenges that they and their colleagues face, they point out that the process thrust upon them is ‘insulting and demeaning’ and express concern that that the contractually limiting nature of the job descriptions (which they are now being told they must apply for) challenges the principles of academic freedom and independence. They argue that this ‘is likely to be a barrier to innovation and change and a recipe for stultification’ and express a concern ‘that such a loss of posts is occurring without a fair and transparent judgement that is consistent with core academic values’.

The letter concludes:
‘We are concerned that engagement of staff in this process has been low. Our ability to influence strategy on sound academic grounds has been limited, resulting in low morale and a sense of resignation to the plan, and not resulting in the commitment we all require. These feelings of disempowerment are heightened by the timing of key decisions in the process. The deadline for professorial job applications precedes formal talks with trade union representative of the academic body by a matter of minutes. This is highly undesirable and totally unnecessary. It adds to the alienation of staff and is a threat to collegiate practice. Many staff will feel compelled to comply with these timings, but will do so under duress and this should not be misinterpreted as supporting the process.’

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