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Blood On The Carpets Of Academia


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Not if you set a-levels such that the top 10% get A, then the 15% after get B, then 15% get C etc

That way, the top 25% of kids are quite clearly highlighted, doesn’t matter how easy or hard the exam is, as the % would be the same year on year.

But then Guardian and such will scream that the blue-collar-fmaliy children are disadvantaged because they had a slower start in life, etc.

The best way would be an entry exam in Universities.

Edited by rondy
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servicemen and women

"Professional murderers" + "servants of a corrupt government" + unfunded pensions.

And servicewomen? How does that give them time to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen supporting Famully Valews.

Not a chance round 'ere. It really is just IT that is a worthwhile thing to do.

Edited by Cogs
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The other thing point which needs to be addressed is the anti-humanities bias (full disclosure: I am a lecturer in modern history and - shock, horror! - also teach one module on a film studies degree in another school); in fact, the anti-everything except applied sciences and engineering prejudice. Very few music graduates will become the conductor of a symphony orchestra, so let's close down all the music departments. Very few English literature graduates will ever make a living from publishing fiction novels, so let's get rid of those schools, too. Not many of my students are likely to end up as the next David Starkey or Alfred Hitchcock. However, all of them - if they've got the aptitude when the come in and are taught properly - will gain generic research, synthesis, analysis and communication skills that will equip them for economically productive roles in a huge range of workplaces. The studies have been done to prove it. And as for the value of research in the humanities and social sciences, maybe that value is more of a cultural nature than can be measured in pounds, shillings and pence. It's worth bearing in mind that some of the most highly regarded and influential humanities 'outputs' happened during the economic crises of the 1930s (Orwell, Faulkner, Hollywood's golden age, avant-garde art movements, Walton, Elgar etc.) and 70s/80s (high quality television drama, pop music, beat poetry, emergence of revisionist historiography etc.). I'd rather have that than Mao's and Pol Pot's cultural revolutions, thanks very much. We know what happens to societies that burn books in the belief that their authors are an unproductive luxury.

Well put, and if it wasn't obvious my earlier jibes at the humanities were mostly in jest. I think one of the biggest problems is that everyone has their own definition of "crap", and likes to put most of academia into that box. Cells raises some good points in his posts, but then comes out with the bizarre idea that we should abolish universities and learn from books. Just because you can learn a subject from a book, it does not make it the most effective way to learn the subject. Learning complex material requires exposure from multiple angles - something that is hard to do when you're tucked away in isolation with a textbook.

There is undoubtedly a lot of crap that could be cut, Cell's top ten including some eye-wateringly bad courses. But that pile of crap does not include all of the humanities by default. I would go a little further than your Pol Pot analogy. Choosing to invest our energy exclusively in science and engineering is not merely bad at the extremes (and of course at the extremes you have to point out that Mao was a poet :P ), it is bad even in a non-totalatarian state. As an engineer and a scientist I can say: would I want to like in the sterile and soulless world that would result from everyone doing what I do?

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Well put, and if it wasn't obvious my earlier jibes at the humanities were mostly in jest. I think one of the biggest problems is that everyone has their own definition of "crap", and likes to put most of academia into that box. Cells raises some good points in his posts, but then comes out with the bizarre idea that we should abolish universities and learn from books. Just because you can learn a subject from a book, it does not make it the most effective way to learn the subject. Learning complex material requires exposure from multiple angles - something that is hard to do when you're tucked away in isolation with a textbook.

There is undoubtedly a lot of crap that could be cut, Cell's top ten including some eye-wateringly bad courses. But that pile of crap does not include all of the humanities by default. I would go a little further than your Pol Pot analogy. Choosing to invest our energy exclusively in science and engineering is not merely bad at the extremes (and of course at the extremes you have to point out that Mao was a poet :P ), it is bad even in a non-totalatarian state. As an engineer and a scientist I can say: would I want to like in the sterile and soulless world that would result from everyone doing what I do?

I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit. The market needs to enter academic pay much more-as it does in the states. I see nothing wrong in paying an academic according to his grant income, his research output etc. Cut basic pay and award academics 5% of grant income as a salary bonus. Hell, even charity fund raisers get incentivized like this!

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This is the most ignorant statement I have read in a long time.

I hope you realise that most of the students come at level of monkeys after their secondary schools. We have to teach them everything. It is really painful to take somebody from the level of being almost-idot to the level of being useful-for-the-society.

I think that's ******

I'm 1st to criticise level of education nowadays but dont think its as bad as that.

Unless you are speaking about secondary education in England only.

As an anecdote - many a time we caught our lecturer making mistakes in Accountancy Tutorials - I was just learning and could spot the mistakes easily - what i was more surprised about was she couldnt think on he feet and see her mistakes and would always say "i will get back to you tomorrow"

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I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit. The market needs to enter academic pay much more-as it does in the states. I see nothing wrong in paying an academic according to his grant income, his research output etc. Cut basic pay and award academics 5% of grant income as a salary bonus. Hell, even charity fund raisers get incentivized like this!

Well you're about to get your wish. There is a strong desire among the funding bodies, and senior management at uk universities to bring in performance related pay. There is a very strong desire amongst academics in the uk to fight this tooth and nail. Guess which side will win eventually?

I disagree with performance related pay for academics, partly (as I explained in an earlier post) because I believe it should be a vocation rather than a career. Anyone attracted into the field by money should really be doing something else. The other problem is that there are no good performance metrics. Take your idea of a slice of grant income - is this really a good thing? It assumes that more money is better, but don't forget cash spent on research is actually a cost rather than a profit. The universities treat it as a profit, but we all pay the cost through tax. So this proposal would create an incentive to make research more expensive, and to apply for bigger grants. It is also an incentive to have as many grants as possible - but then the academic is spending less time on each so the funding body is getting less of a return.

There are equal problems with the other suggested metrics: publishing counts, citation counts, IP generated etc. They all lead to a system that can gamed, and the equilibrium in each game is bad if you consider the entire eco-system (academics, universities, funding bodies and taxpayers).

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I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit. The market needs to enter academic pay much more-as it does in the states. I see nothing wrong in paying an academic according to his grant income, his research output etc. Cut basic pay and award academics 5% of grant income as a salary bonus. Hell, even charity fund raisers get incentivized like this!

this is the point. Also, universities should incentivize more academics to spin-off start-ups....

knowledge economy and all that!!...how else will we revitalise and re-balance the economy and create these high-value manufacturing jobs??

However, we also need the necessary polarization in academic salaries and a change in general attitude to academics from within large company partners (i.e. science and engineering)

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I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit. The market needs to enter academic pay much more-as it does in the states. I see nothing wrong in paying an academic according to his grant income, his research output etc. Cut basic pay and award academics 5% of grant income as a salary bonus. Hell, even charity fund raisers get incentivized like this!

There is no way on earth you can afford to pay me 5% of grant income as a bonus, you'd be trebling my wages and disincentivising me to do more important things. It would also be incredibly unfair to people who can do work of considerable quality and importance on small grants and would encourage bloat at every turn (as if FEC, which is actually the problem wasn't bad enough). You'd be nailing all the theoreticians to a wall.

Completely ludicrous!

Edited by Cogs
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this is the point. Also, universities should incentivize more academics to spin-off start-ups....

knowledge economy and all that!!...how else will we revitalise and re-balance the economy and create these high-value manufacturing jobs??

However, we also need the necessary polarization in academic salaries and a change in general attitude to academics from within large company partners (i.e. science and engineering)

Again, industry wouldn't stand for it.

You'd have the same situation you have with News International (et al) vs. the BBC.

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There is no way on earth you can afford to pay me 5% of grant income as a bonus, you'd be trebling my wages and disincentivising me to do more important things. It would also be incredibly unfair to people who can do work of considerable quality and importance on small grants and would encourage bloat at every turn (as if FEC, which is actually the problem wasn't bad enough). You'd be nailing all the theoreticians to a wall.

Completely ludicrous!

Why don't you address the substantive point of my post:

i.e. that highly unequal academics with highly unequal outputs are paid equally. Right? Wrong? discuss ;-)

I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit.

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lot of dead wood in HE colleges and universities..

i would suspect we need to become more like the Germans re: university and research....

Quote from german academic on UK research in science&engineering :-

' Uk universities publish for the library. In germany, we have been publishing for the factory'

I feel academics will have to justify their existence on bringing in research contracts, as well as teaching...

otherwise, they may not survive.... :(

Name a UK university in the top 5 world Universities

Now name a German University.

You are completely crazy to criticise Universities over here, it's one of the few things we are world leaders in so why is there a need for reform?

You would think the Government would protect one of the few good things about the UK but oh no, they're too stupid to do that too.

By the way since when have academics not justified their existence on bringing in research contracts?

Edited by wealthy
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Why don't you address the substantive point of my post:

i.e. that highly unequal academics with highly unequal outputs are paid equally. Right? Wrong? discuss ;-)

I think a big problem with academia is that a single pay scale for lecturers completely fails to reflect the massive difference in quality in research and teaching that individuals in the profession put out. A lecturer at Oxford University may be a world leader in their field and bring in millions of grant income, but be paid substantially less than a senior lecturer at some backwater polyversity that does no research to speak of and teaches some course of dubious intellectual merit.

They are both paid not particularly well by international standards.

You want to frame this as the Poly chap getting paid less, the question really is whether the Oxford (trusting in the brand name a bit too heavily IMHO, some departments in Oxbridge are a bit like Real Madrid or the Harlem Globetrotters if you know what I mean) guy should be paid more.

I don't really think he should be because I don't think money can influence the quality of the work or the effort put in, everyone I know is full-on all the time, there isn't more that can be squeezed out. As I said earlier, the British system is relatively under-funded and highly efficient by world standards, casting around for random "reforms" isn't very appropriate in my opinion. Nearly any performance related system that was anchored against any other western country would wind up paying everyone more, not less.

So I disagree and I disagree with your general premise as well.

Note also that as it is, the competition and motivation produced by the RAE has caused universities to become over productive in research as far as the government is concerned. Bizarre eh.

Edited by Cogs
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Academia is not even aware there has been a bubble let alone a bust. If you had any idea how little work and much pay Uni lecturers and professors get there would be an uproar.

Totally wrong

Academics ar top institutions work harder, have better qualifications and get less pay than other professional counterparts

Plus as I mention again it's one of the few things in the UK that leads the world.

Your vision of an academic sitting around living it easy is outdated by a couple of decades/

Edited by wealthy
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They are both paid not particularly well by international standards.

You want to frame this as the Poly chap getting paid less, the question really is whether the Oxford (trusting in the brand name a bit too heavily IMHO, some departments in Oxbridge are a bit like Real Madrid or the Harlem Globetrotters if you know what I mean) guy should be paid for.

I don't really think he should be because I don't think money can influence the quality of the work or the effort put in, everyone I know is full-on all the time, there isn't more that can be squeezed out. As I said earlier, the British system is relatively under-funded and highly efficient by world standards, casting around for random "reforms" isn't very appropriate in my opinion. Nearly any performance related system that was anchored against any other western country would wind up paying everyone more, not less.

So I disagree and I disagree with your general premise as well.

Note also that as it is, the competition and motivation produced by the RAE has caused universities to become over productive in research as far as the government is concerned. Bizarre eh.

I totally agree.

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Totally wrong

Academics ar top institutions work harder, have better qualifications and get less pay than other professional counterparts

Plus as I mention again it's one of the few things in the UK that leads the world.

Your vision of an academic sitting around living it easy is outdated by a couple of decades/

:lol::lol::lol:

That'll be the world where cute little bunnies talk and lions sing songs.

3015140267_92d3fa5fe7_o.jpg

I think you're referring to those 'top' institutions where the majority of research is done by cheap foreign labour.

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:lol::lol::lol:

That'll be the world where cute little bunnies talk and lions sing songs.

3015140267_92d3fa5fe7_o.jpg

I think you're referring to those 'top' institutions where the majority of research is done by cheap foreign labour.

What are you on about?

The top 10 Universities in the world are from the US and the UK.

Edited by wealthy
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Who decides the criteria?

Fook me! Rotterdams Erasmus is better than Imperial by far.

Why don't you go to conferences, sit on program committees, give talks at other Universities around the world, work with them on research, and see for yourself

Or, better still STFU with your anti UK ignorance.

Edited by wealthy
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Why don't you go to conferences, sit on PC committees, give talks at other Universities around the world, work with them on research, and see for yourselfOr, better still STFU with your anti UK ignorance.

I do all that in bold.

And yes, the UK is OK, but to assume it leads the way smacks of complete ignorance of other EU standards. Which, by majority, are 100000% superior to the UK.

For a PI to succeed here we need collaboration, and when that occurs there are many EU groups clearly superior. The EU framework projects have shocked alot of UK groups. We never knew how far we were behind.

And it's getting worse.

Do you know how the French view British post-docs - they don't think they're good enough to be used as loo roll.

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Why don't you go to conferences, sit on program committees, give talks at other Universities around the world, work with them on research, and see for yourself

Or, better still STFU with your anti UK ignorance.

Ignore renterbob, he's an embittered technician pretending he knows all about academia.

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I do all that in bold.

And yes, the UK is OK, but to assume it leads the way smacks of complete ignorance of other EU standards. Which, by majority, are 100000% superior to the UK.

For a PI to succeed here we need collaboration, and when that occurs there are many EU groups clearly superior. The EU framework projects have shocked alot of UK groups. We never knew how far we were behind.

And it's getting worse.

Do you know how the French view British post-docs - they don't think they're good enough to be used as loo roll.

"Do you know how the French view British post-docs - they don't think they're good enough to be used as loo roll."

You are a complete ignoramus, most of the European post-docs are clamouring to come here. There isn't such a thing as a "British post-doc" in the way you present it.

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  • 415 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
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      • up 5%



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