Tuesday, April 17

Managers vs Academics

THES has an article on a leaked draft document from Birmingham University (not my employers, I work for another UK university) which shows rather a management obsessed viewpoint -
The (Birmingham University University and College Union) branch calculates that while the words "manager" and "management" appear 119 times in the document, "researcher" appears five times, and "teaching" appears six times. The word "academic" appears twice after its removal from the list of threats.

Yes, that's threat. Academics were apparently perceived as a threat to the strategic goals as defined by managers. The document goes on to detail the pay rewards for hitting targets (not that hitting targets equals a good job, as has been shown in many cases in the past, but it's easier to judge).

If I had to name a major threat to my university, I'd say "target-driven management schemes" were the worst - not that we have much say in the matter, given how the government allocates the money.*

Which reminds me, I must try and wring one more paper out of the desiccated remains of a not-so-recent research project. Once I hit the target, I can get on with something more scientific.

*I don't view managers as a threat, as trying to manage academics and researchers has got to be a thankless task, but some of the modern management trends definitely are unhelpful.

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