Third rate?

The latest means of sowing destructive competition within universities has begun, and predictably Kingston is already at the bottom. Also predictable is the University’s spin on its bronze TEF rating, the lowest possible (those institutions on a “provisional” rating have not provided enough data). The new teaching guru, Clarissa Wilks, puffs on about innovation and quality experience to improve KU’s rating in future, but this is without doubt a disappointing result.

The reason the lowest rating was predictable is the management’s treatment of the staff over the last four years. There has been much emphasis on clearing out the “underperforming” lecturers. The first purge happened soon after Ratty took control, which lost the University many good staff — often so good at their subject they ran outside consultancies — and now another round is underway. Result: fewer staff to teach the students, many worried about their futures; too many of us bogged down in the need to “innovate”, a word as debased as “excellence”, largely a fruitless exercise in wheel reinvention. As for underperforming staff, it’s unlikely they ever existed. If they did they are still here — in the senior jobs.

Good teaching needs well motivated teaching and support staff, as this blog has emphasised often. The management is not delivering that, on the contrary. Unless it can halt the decline in staff job satisfaction — refer to the last staff survey — Kingston cannot expect to improve over bronze. Unhappy staff equals unhappy students. A pity the SMT cannot grasp this.

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