Stephen Toope to mark all exam papers
Strike action around exams causes Vice-Chancellor to pick up slack
Due to strike action of University staff concerning pension disputes this year, examinations are likely to be affected. More shocking than the news that exams may be shortened is that Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope may have to mark all exams himself.
Strike action in Lent term has already seen disruption to students' education, with many missing vital lectures on elements in their exams which they may not be examined on now.
This may be set to continue. Although UUK and UCU are in the process of coming to an agreement, with UCU members due to vote on the proposals shortly, an extra 14 days of strikes next term has already be sanctioned by UCU. The strikes will most likely happen in the exam period, when they will have the biggest impact.
Naturally, students and the University are concerned, with the strikes set to bring the whole edifice of education crumbling down around them. Never fear though – the University has a backup plan.
In an email sent around to staff, the situation has been explained about how perilous the strikes could be to the examination process. With examiners going on strike and refusing to mark papers on strike days, and some external examiners who are responsible for moderating exam papers resigning, it is worrying that the marking of exam papers may be inconsistent and therefore unfair to students.
The way to ensure utter consistency across the process is for the Vice-Chancellor to mark all exam papers. Toope is highly qualified, having graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and European History, and has a PhD from this university. His knowledge of the academic process, will no doubt set him in store for the rigorous process ahead.
It still remains unclear whether the strikes will go ahead in Easter term. But if they do, rest assured that the University has devised a plan to mean we all get our grades this year. In the meantime, Toope may be brushing up on his knowledge of calculus and medieval literature.