Following a petition from several member of the Politics dept, the blog has decided to take most of the post down. The principle accusation of the contribution, presumably from a member of the department, is that the Head and the Deputy Head allocated an unfair proportion of research students to themselves. None of the comments below confirm or deny this. Regarding the rest of the post, it is a personal view of the author. However, Dissenter’s Blog is not intended to be a vehicle for unfair or unjust attacks. So in view of the petition below, the post has been edited.
Further to the claims of this contentious post, figures sent to Dissenter’s Blog, show that Politics has 31 current research students distributed between 13 academic staff. Of these, 5 are supervised by the head of department, 12 by the deputy head. So it appears 58% are supervised by the head and deputy head together. The Blog welcomes comments to support or refute these figures.
Kingston University’s Department of Politics was in 2017 ‘restructured’ as part of Plan2020, meaning that it was downsized through redundancies from 18 to 14 staff (14.4 FTE to 10.4 FTE). Although this was marketed by KU senior management as a means to improve efficiency, the results were dire. According to the Guardian league table, student satisfaction with Politics teaching fell by nearly 5%, from 79.2% in 2017/18 to 74.3% in 2018/19. The Politics Department overall did register a tiny jump in the league tables, all the way up from 75th to 74th place. But this was in the same period when the university as a whole rocketed up from 81st to 58th place. Of course, KU’s rapid rise in the tables was because the methodology by which the tables were calculated was changed, courtesy of the Guardian’s league table compiler Matt Hiely-Rayner, who by a complete coincidence, was also Head of Planning at Kingston University. Thanks to Hiely-Rayner’s moving of the goalposts, some KU departments made rapid climbs up the league table. Politics should have benefited too – after all, its Student to Staff Ratio improved from 18.1 to 16.5 in the table after losing four full-time staff-members ! But even all this fiddling of the figures can’t hide Politics’ underperformance.