What’s coming up at Subrosa this week…

LOGOThursday 4th of December – Beat the Bailiffs Workshop
A workshop to learn how to verbally defend yourself, your property and your rights from invasive bailiffs. Will be leading to the start of a Beat the Bailiffs Moss Side campaign.

Friday 5th of December – How We Remember: The Politics of Trans Day of Remembrance
A follow up to the alternative trans day of remembrance which was held in November.

Saturday 6th of December – Green Street Quartet Live at Subrosa
modern jazz quartet
facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1562480597318727


Kingston wins no awards

Readers of Ratty’s last (official) newsletter will know, assuming they got to the end, that Kingston was up for two Times awards, Widening Participation and Entrepreneurial University of the Year. The idea that Kingston should win an award for widening participation when the VC’s intention is to raise the A Level points bar for students will strike many as quite comic, although it managed to win one for its staff demotion scheme, so nothing is too ridiculous to come true. But to pre-empt the next newsletter: Kingston failed to win either. Sheffield and Anglia Ruskin won the two awards for those interested in such diversions. Note to Ratty: must try harder. How about a Deputy Vice Chancellor for Winning Awards? That’ll go down well with the staff.

Or maybe just make the staff feel valued, stop threatening them, stop making them reapply for their grades, jump through silly hoops, live in open plan offices, sit at their desks every hour of the day. Call us old fashioned at Dissenter’s Blog, but happy staff might just deliver the better university the Riverhouse Rat claims to want.

How’s that staff survey coming along by the way?

A little T and L goes a long way

Kingston is a teaching university. That is undeniable by income, common consent and the institution’s history, notwithstanding the fantasies of the Riverhouse Rat. Most of our funding comes from undergraduates, which even the deluded senior management understands, the reason so much emphasis is rightly placed on maintaining student numbers and educating them well.

The majority of the academic staff at Kingston did not come to work here because they wanted careers focused on research. Many came because they preferred teaching to research, or wanted to place at least as much emphasis on teaching, or work more closely with industry. They may have been escaping the obsessive impersonal dust-covered halls of the old universities, or never been near them in the first place; or they may just have felt their abilities did not lie in that direction. Whatever the reasons, Kingston staff are not dedicated researchers, and even those who somehow manage to do some in this pressured staff-cutting environment are not producing the kind of work that gets into the super-cited journals that excite figures like Ron T at Business & Law (a man, incidentally, who will know next to nothing about academic research as most understand it).

So Ratty’s problem is how to turn Kingston into a “research university”, one that feels it can stand tall alongside other universities such as the self-declared bunch of academic snobs now called the Russell Group, after a fancy London hotel (maybe the Claridges Group would have sounded better). Given that Kingston has so many academics without the research history, it can either sack them, which of course it has been busy doing, and replace them if they can find enough serious research academics willing to come to Kingston, or find an area everyone can research.

Which is where Lesley-Jane-Hyphen-Hyphen-Eales-Reynolds and her T&L comes in. We all do teaching and therefore, the implicit reasoning goes, we can all do research in teaching. To that end Kingston now has a selection of groupings that meet a lot, produce posters, and generally mull over the minutiae of teaching and hopefully knock out a few papers in the proliferating journals out there. Many will wonder how much scope there is for research in teaching, other than the day to day improvements we all do without worrying about publishing. Perhaps L-J’s output can gives us some pointers, let’s check the citation databases. Er… perhaps not — she only has (ahem) two.