#Alt-Academy: An Interview with Bethany Nowviskie

This project also works to demonstrate to graduate students — and, indeed, to the increasing numbers of faculty members who are looking with interest at “alternative” academic careers — that there is deep commitment, vibrant intellectual life, and a great deal of satisfaction to be felt in careers that they may have been acculturated to see as consolation prizes for so-called “failed academics.”

The Idea of the University

Out of the shadow of the neo-liberal academy

Sean Sturm and Stephen Turner, Arena, June 2011 

We don’t find this a good account of our experience as teachers or, it seems to us, of the experience of our students. Even if the template of the U 2.0 can account for research productivity, it can’t account for what goes on the university in anything but econometric terms. As knowledge becomes commodity, the idea of the university has been subsumed by its own practices of measuring the production of knowledge. We would rehabilitate Newman’s idea of the university and its civic function, its will to community, as against the global citizenship of the neo-liberal university, with its flight from community. read more

Chav or cherub? Your fate decided in the court of injustice

Fielding, guardian.co.uk, 16 June, 2011

They don’t miss a trick to keep you down and out. They’ll invent free schools or Ebacc exams, which you’ll fail, because as Chris Woodhead, I’m sorry, Sir Chris Woodhead, once said: “The middle classes have better genes.” Marvellous.

Oxford no confidence vote

7 June 2011

Oxford no confidence audio

List of speakers

What Life Asks of Us

David Brooks, New York Times, 26 January 2009

Each of these institutions comes with certain rules and obligations that tell us how to do what we’re supposed to do. Journalism imposes habits that help reporters keep a mental distance from those they cover. Scientists have obligations to the community of researchers. In the process of absorbing the rules of the institutions we inhabit, we become who we are. read more

Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education

William Deresiewicz, The Nation, 23 May 2011

The reasons for these trends can be expressed in a single word, or buzzword: efficiency. Contingent academic labor, as non-tenure-track faculty, part-time and full-time, are formally known, is cheaper to hire and easier to fire. It saves departments money and gives them greater flexibility in staffing courses. Over the past twenty years, in other words—or really, over the past forty—what has happened in academia is what has happened throughout the American economy. Good, secure, well-paid positions—tenured appointments in the academy, union jobs on the factory floor—are being replaced by temporary, low-wage employment. read more

The idea of a university: Newman and Now

Stefan Collini, Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture, University of Birmingham

Academic Freedom After the Cronon Controversy

Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books Blog, 4 April 2011

Biddy Martin, the University chancellor, has issued a separate statement. She carefully explains the university’s response. She defends the faculty’s need for privacy in communication. And she urges them to “Continue to ask difficult questions, explore unpopular lines of thought and exercise your academic freedom, regardless of your point of view. As always, we will take our cue from the bronze plaque on the walls of Bascom Hall. It calls for the ‘continual and fearless sifting and winnowing’ of ideas. It is our tradition, our defining value, and the way to a better society.” … read more

Spending Freely on Research, Canada Reverses Brain Drain

Jennifer Lewington, Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 February, 2011

In the mid-1990s, higher-education officials in Canada warned of the consequences of government cuts in research funds and an exodus of academic talent.

Today, amid intensifying global competition for the best and brightest, Canada is on a roll, importing research stars and nurturing young Canadian and foreign scholars and postdoctoral students. The talk now is of brain gain, not brain drain… read more

Humanities, For Sake of Humanity

Dan Berrett, InsiderHigherEd, 30 March, 2011

Beware that false idol, the broadly applied metric. Embrace the neglected power of ambiguity and individual human experience… read more

That AHRC/Haldane dust-up, in chronological order

James Sumner, A blind thermometer, 29 March, 2011

The humanities fishbowl has been fizzy since Sunday over hotly denied allegations that the Government has been telling the AHRC what to think (see hereherehere,herehereherehere and here, and don’t come back till you’re confused and crying slightly)… read more

Academic fury over order to study the big society

Daniel Boffey, The Observer, 27 March 2011

Academics will study the “big society” as a priority, following a deal with the government to secure funding from cuts. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will spend a “significant” amount of its funding on the prime minister’s vision for the country, after a government “clarification” of the Haldane principle – a convention that for 90 years has protected the right of academics to decide where research funds should be spent… read more

Universities face cuts to historic buildings

Gallery, The Guardian, 30 October, 2009

Oxford University. Photograph: Graham Turner

Truth is our profession

Malcolm Gillies, Times Higher Education, 24 March 2001

For the real value of a university lies not in the cashed-up value of its brand, but in something much more heroic: how it protects liberal intellectual values, how it promotes educational virtues and how it exposes research vices. These qualities are never found in the league tables because they cannot be trivialised into numbers, yet they are products of the university’s most distinctive characteristic: the neutral space it creates in which the truth can be professed without fear or favour, a space guarded by the commitment to academic freedom… read more

Universities optimistic despite cuts

Harriet Swain, The Guardian, 22 March, 2011

But, as became increasingly clear during the summit, HE is becoming a market, and in a market it doesn’t do to be too gloomy or you could put off the customers … read more

Student Funding and an Oxford Education

Letter from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Tuesday 15 March, 2011

Vitally important though undergraduate students and teaching are to Oxford’s core mission, they are not of course the sum of a great university with a global reputation for research and innovation, and a graduate body drawn from over 140 countries. Yes, Oxford is about teaching, but it is also about research. It is a British institution, but also an international one. The interconnectedness and the rich diversity of our institution and culture are vital aspects of its character and strength. We forget that at our peril… read more

A Manifesto for the Arts and Humanities: The Example of Candide

by David McCallam (University of Sheffield)

So what is this Manifesto? In essence, it is a vindication of the arts and humanities as the most valuable of social and cultural practices. And it is overtly partisan … read more

I’m not a horse, I’m a person

RSAnimate, adapted from Dan Pink ‘The surprising truth about what motivates us’

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose …

Save the University: Wendy Brown

‘Efficient instructional delivery systems’ generating ‘human capital’ are literally producing cogs for the machine …

After Brown

Iain Pears, London Review of Books, Vol 33, No 6, 17 March, 2011

Attempts to alter the government’s policy on tuition fees have failed. Dreamed up by Labour, then embraced by the new Coalition government, the proposed reforms triggered large student demonstrations, but these had no impact on any constituency of real influence either in the universities or in politics. Many university vice-chancellors, terrified by the prospect of sizeable deficits, have backed the changes, more or less reluctantly… read more

Universities need your Titians

Richard Sennett, Guardian, 7 March, 2011

Why did they take the money? People in my local pub in London’s Clerkenwell usually don’t pay attention to academic news, but the day after Howard Davies resigned from the London School of Economics for taking Libyan money, my booze-mates wanted to know … read more