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Yet another Downfall parody, this time on the travails of academic publishing.

(shamelessly pinched from [livejournal.com profile] lionsphil)

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Unlike the rest of my friends list, I'm not (primarily) going to be posting about Terry's knighthood (although that is nonetheless very good news).

Instead, I'm posting about Wendy Hall, my former PhD supervisor, who has been made a Dame in the New Years Honours list.

Jolly good news, and much deserved.

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So, what is the correct response when your senior colleague comes into your office with a half-bottle of undrinkable Cava that he then proceeds to spray over your ceiling, walls, whiteboard, chair, and floor? Especially when his response is to giggle like a maniac? This was before 9am, by the way.

My office now smells of stale cava...

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Dammit. I would have got a perfect 5.0 on my teaching evaluation from my students, had one of them not given me a 4 (good) instead of a 5 (very good).

I shall have to be satisfied with a near-perfect 4.89.

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This morning, it was Isobel's turn to wake up shouting at the radio. UCU have agreed to put UCEA's offer of 13.1% to their membership (and not, as the BBC put it, agreed to the increase - learn how a democratic union operates!), so the industrial action will be suspended for the duration of the balloting procedure. I can't say that I'm happy with this offer, and will probably vote against accepting it.

[livejournal.com profile] surliminal can now look slightly smug for having been able to prepare for her marking. My role in assessment this year has been mainly limited to third year project vivas (which were all rescheduled for tomorrow and Friday, so I'll now be taking part), fourth year research project reports (with a marking deadline of next week) and my half of the second year databases course (for which I've yet to receive the scripts). I predict a very busy few days.

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There's nothing quite so likely to give me indigestion at lunchtime than reading about the latest antics of certain vice chancellors in the Times Higher. Today's edition has a beaut of a story: David VandeLinde, the VC of Warwick University (and formerly VC of Bath University, which is where I know of him from) is introducing US-style academic titles at Warwick.

All 850 academic staff at Warwick University will from next year be able to call themselves "professor" following a decision to adopt the US system of academic titles.

Warwick is the first UK university to break away from hundreds of years of academic tradition, renaming lecturers "assistant professors", senior lecturers and readers "associate professors" while still calling professors "professors".

The radical move will horrify those who believe the "professor" title should be reserved for an academic elite. But David VandeLinde, Warwick's vice-chancellor, predicted that other UK universities would follow suit.

He said: "It gives us instantly internationally recognisable titles and provides us with a unique offer to our academic teaching staff in which all can share in the title of professor. It will inevitably be copied, but Warwick will be remembered as having the foresight to lead that change."

[...] Warwick will be the first university to adopt US titles for all academic staff. The system will be used for new appointees and adopted by existing staff by the start of the 2007-08 academic year.

I'm assuming that, in due course, former professors will be keen to distinguish themselves from their lesser colleagues by describing themselves as "full professors", as seems to be the vogue in the US. This certainly seems much simpler than our existing system.

During his time at Bath, VandeLinde was keen to introduce a number of US innovations, including sports scholarships. When he moved to Warwick, he quickly won the support of staff there, as can be seen in this quote from the THES in November 2000:

Professor VandeLinde said: "Warwick is now well established within the UK's 'Ivy League', and I look forward to the opportunity and challenge... to lead Warwick in becoming recognised as a world-class research university."

Personally, I found myself slightly mystified by this statement, because I was under the impression that Warwick was already recognised as a world-class research university...

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It's nice to know that your profession is held in such high esteem by the general public. The BBC has a story on the TUC's unpaid overtime survey, and the comments on "lecturers and their thirteen week paid holidays each year" are making me depressed and furious by turns.

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Nick Gibbins

August 2010

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