[iDC] Defending UC

Phoebe Moore pvm.doc at gmail.com
Mon Sep 26 20:27:14 UTC 2011

I completed my PhD in the UK system but my UG was in Texas. I taught from
day one of my PhD and have made a career of this, here in England.

I recall in the year 2002 colleagues saying with complete disgust, the
Labour government is violating its manifesto, it's requiring student fees,
it's the end of our profession.

I thought, in the USA everyone pays fees, so, so what?

My impression was that students would be fine, that loans would be provided,
job markets would benefit from a higher skilled supply of able adults etc.

So I misread the crystal ball. Now we're in a situation wherein students are
being told that they are customers, and we're as educators are the
providers. We're being told that we have to 'attract' and personally recruit
students, and if they don't show up, we're clearly not worthy of a job in
the academy (twisted logic, but not imagined). The view of education has
hugely transformed in the UK, and our reputation is desperately in danger.
There is very little research money in the Councils, and we work in
increasingly competitive work environments where we are competing for the
most basic resources (including students themselves). Compulsory lay offs
are now on the cards. How are we, as increasingly undervalued professionals,
meant to convince students that we are committed to their education, when
our own government has washed its hands of what was once considered a public
service, and set British education aside from the rest of the world? Will
only rich students now come to university? My fear is that quality will
plummet as individuals who do remain in teaching and research posts will be
required to take on increasing hours in place of those who've left the
academy (with frozen pay increases) with rapidly diminishing investment.
We're joining the precariat quickly.
On 26 Sep 2011 19:48, "George Siemens" <gsiemens at gmail.com> wrote:
> Anya, can you detail how learning occurs in spite of the system, not
> of it? In my experiences with at least that many universities in at least
> that many countries, I've found the opposite to be true - at undergrad,
> grad, and post-grad levels. The university is a spectacular place for
> learning - among the best that humanity has ever produced. The system has
> become ill and needs to be rethought. But tremendous learning, innovation,
> research, and knowledge development continues to occur in these systems.
> Your statement seems off-the-cuff and completely untenable.
> George
> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM, Anya Kamenetz <anyaanya at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM, John Hopkins <neo at neoscenes.net> wrote:
>> In my experience across more than 50 institutions of higher learning in
>> countries,
>> learning occurs despite the system, not because of it. And in that
>> I
>> applaud anyone who makes it happen, anywhere, anytime, (sometimes even at
>> great
>> personal cost)...
>> Yes.
>> a
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