Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't read this post!

Lecturers made ill by politics

No one's interested-right?
Lecturers 'made ill by workload'
Nearly half of lecturers have been ill because of their job, a poll suggests.

About 1,000 lecturers were asked about different aspects of their work in a YouGov poll commissioned by the University and College Union (UCU).

More than 40% said bureaucracy was the worst part of their job and nearly two-thirds said they had considered leaving the UK to work abroad....

UCU joint general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Universities must take the lead on this issue of excessive workloads or we risk losing a generation of talented academics to the private sector or abroad as well as struggling to fill future vacancies."...

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association, which represents higher education employers, dismissed the survey as "extremely limited and vague"...

A spokesman for the group said it was important to reduce the administrative burden on lecturers, while also ensuring institutions remained accountable.

It said employers always supported the development of a healthy work-life balance and worked with unions in all aspects of employee relations.

It makes me want to laugh. The burden of bureaucracy is enormous. Nearly all of it has been imposed by government, so that they can say that "Bournemouth is as good as Birmingham". We did the "Diary Exercise". We were told not to report the number of hours worked (it averaged 53 per week)! Where I work, the joke is that "we do research in our spare time (i.e after the 40 hour week spent filling out forms and responding to government inititives and questionnaires about gender issues, oh...and teaching).

I sometimes think that the loony left-wing academics have merely been driven mad by initiatives. They yearn for a simple life where paper is yet to be invented and clay tablets take a long time to make and are used sparingly. Tribes of lecturers in cultural studies could make realistic war on business studies academics whilst seeking alliances with the mounted equine studies staff. Memos would not have to be written. Meetings could involve exciting exchanges of views and other missiles. People really could be stabbed in the back.

Think, this could be achieved at a stroke if we admitted that 20% is an absolute maximum for the percentage of people who should attend university and then fired all the sociologists, basket-weavers and media-studies nutjobs who currently populate our lower-echelon universities. Then we relocate them to somewhere isolated, where no-one else wants to go (Bournemouth might be good). We should also include anyone who says things like "ensuring institutions remained accountable" or "the development of a healthy work-life balance". Incidentally, notice that the easiest way to spot a non-subject is that it has "studies" dangling at the end of the name.

You know the joke:
mathematicians are cheap, they only need pencils, paper and wastepaper baskets;
sociologists are cheaper, they don't need the wastepaper baskets!

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