Employers' offer is not fair game 4

We applaud Susan Bassnett's comments on the lack of action by the academic community on university issues. It is true that academics have failed to challenge ill thought out policies that have undermined the sector, which is now blighted by a managerialist culture and where a focus on "quality" and "skills" has supplanted the liberal virtues of critical thinking and the furtherance of human inquiry.

There are disturbing reports of academics' careers frustrated by obstruction and intimidation from senior colleagues. Our work has revealed how universities are increasingly used as a means for policy-makers to pursue social welfare reform without public debate or adequate funding. We agree with Bassnett that there are far bigger issues facing universities than pay.

We fear that the concern about salary levels has eclipsed any debate about vital issues concerning the role of universities and has deflected attention from other onslaughts. Unless we pause to think about what is happening to the fabric of higher education, before long there will be no UK academic sector in which today's junior staff can seek employment in the future.

Sally Baker
University of Wales, Bangor

and B. J. Brown
De Montfort University

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Muslim woman at graduation ceremony, Barbican, London

Sector called on to embrace faith-related concerns in intellectual debates