Dark September

This is the month we start teaching again, hamstrung by various measures, not least the NSS with which the students look set to undermine their own education. Our paltry pay award, all of 1.7%, means yet another real pay cut this year, depressingly accepted by UCU members. Who would vote for a pay cut? Us. Certainly not the managers whose pay award will probably turn out to be somewhat larger as in past years.

Then we have the 3rd phase of Plan 2020 to endure. How many staff are in for the chop this time? So all the staff can be forgiven for facing this academic year with great misgivings. Meanwhile Stevon, our Chief Architect, will twitter on about improvements all the while holding an axe over our heads. No change in sight.

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6 Responses to Dark September

  1. Garmon Awfulshirts says:

    Just a small observation: fewer staff car spaces and more concrete plinths at both Penrhyn Road and Knights’ park campuses. Meanwhile, bus frequencies are cut from three per hour, to two per hour. That’s our employer’s commitment to green transport! If you have to give a lecture, and you’re 5 minutes late, allow at least an hour!

  2. KSA says:

    Sad news. Kingston School of Art, freshly minted by Chief Architect Spier and a flurry of marketing minions suffers two great losses early in this new academic year. Screwy Louis Nixon, claimed by his new employer Hong Kong Baptist University to be a significant artist who had done great things for Kingston, leaves KSA with a legacy of doing very little for a very long time, apart from intimidating/schmoozing in turn like a revolving door. Sadly missed since his disappeared from campus drinking sessions a while back, we still can’t find Screwy Louis’s research research outputs for the REF he is deserting. Erstwhile friend of Spier, Prof Scrwy presumably received a glowing reference from the Great Man to grease his exit. We understand the plaudits may have featured Nixon’s ability, like many great modern artists, to take someone else’s idea and call it his own. Or did Screwy Louis write the reference himself to complement the hagiography his new employer is broadcasting. Good luck Prof Screwy, at least you can’t break much in HK. The second mighty oak to fall in the icy winds blowing through KSA is noisy motorcyclist ‘Fly-man hand-Mademunt’. Oh sorry if you haven’t heard of him: he leads the Design school. Leads from behind that is, loudly, new-manfully, tattoo-edly always there for his team. What a fellah! He is great in stature and known for all things short: trousers, attention span, working day. Fly-man is going to an even grander throne than Nixon, but much closer to home. It seems he wiggled something at his old Kingston dean. Can’t have been a world-beating cv though, because Fly-man hasn’t got one. Well good luck buddy, and do remember which end of the hammer you use to crack a nut. Bless you Fly-man, your absence will be missed. How will KSA manage without these two great men? Come back soon to find out, when the new acting dean person has felt a few more collars. By the way, we think this acting dean may have something to do with Screwy Louis and Fly-man jumping ship. She is Ann Boddington. Kingston School of Art is too scared of her to think of a funny name. Let’s call her Big Beads for now, because she sports that accessory chain of office that is customary for ladies at the top. Perhaps there will be necklace swapping sessions at SMT? And dangly ear-ring exchanges for the more arty expressive individuals? Only thing to say about Big Beads so far is: if you hear them tinkling behind you, duck before the machete swings. More soon.

  3. JP says:

    As a former Kingston staff member, now at another institution I can confirm that Kingston is not a normal University. The leadership has for years cultivated a philosophy of student-first, reactive policy making which entirely ignores the fact that the staff, both academic and support, are the ‘product’ which the students are ‘buying’ when they choose to study at the University. They have prioritised vanity building projects, IT changes and student numbers over the only product which the students really need to obtain high quality and respected degrees; the staff. My new institution has a Senior Management position dedicated to the staff experience, ensuring that the University’s ‘product’ remains of a high quality and consistent. They have prioritised this over IT and building projects (both of which are a little dated) and have gone from strength to strength. Yes there are external challenges from Brexit, the Tory government etc, but until the Management team at Kingston pay heed to the alarm bells (apalling staff survey results, high staff turnover rates) ringing loudly their ears, sadly I fear no improvements in research reputation or student satisfaction will come.

    • Another Fine Mess says:

      Why does it have to be a choice between good facilities and good teaching?

      Given that many universities are awash with money thanks to increased fees, it should be possible to have both attractive buildings and up-to-date IT infrastructure, alongside high-quality teaching and learning.

      Other institutions manage it so it shouldn’t be beyond the ability of KU management to do the same – should it?

  4. Stuart Wilson says:

    Onwards and upwards then :)

    • MissThePeopleGladImGone says:

      I’m now working in the 5th University of my teaching career with Kingston being my previous (left in August)… Kingston had the best IT facilities out of them all from a teaching perspective but its the big systems, often forced upon IT (timetabling), that really created poor experiences for me. Found myself often being moved to a room where needed services were not available at a seconds notice! Poor poor poor!

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