UCL on a ‘dangerous and destructive path’, says academics
Morale among UCL academics “has never been so low”
The Tab has learnt that UCL members of staff have expressed their concerns over management in an online blog that considers UCL on a “dangerous and destructive path”.
The blog, called Save UCL (Again!) blog is written anonymously by UCL staff who are keen to spread information regarding to the UCL community on any developments that UCL management, under the direction of Provost Michael Arthur [pictured] have undertaken.
Academics have admitted that increased “controlling” bureaucracy has led them to feel “overworked and unhappy” with their work at UCL and consequently, morale among academics at UCL “has never been so low.”
Other concerns include the “huge” expansion of the UCL student body, with 40,000 students set to start in September and the increased reliance on voluntary staff and compulsory staff redundancies. In 2016, a reported 250 redundancies were made among the UCL support staff.
The construction of UCL East with an “unprecedented” £280 million loan, generated through faculty budget surpluses has also been heavily criticised for having “no proper academic oversight” to unify teaching at the new site with the Bloomsbury campus.
Academics have also found the need to reach Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) targets an ‘intervention’ into their jobs. Having signed up to TEF, a government scheme to incentivise education quality, UCL would be allowed to increase tuition fees if it meets expectations. The blog says it is a “mystery” that management would sign UCL up to the TEF when “other leading universities [are] opting out of this scheme.”
UCL had previously defended the TEF scheme. Responding to criticism in the summer, UCL stated: “There is no consensus about how to measure teaching quality, as Ofsted’s experience in schools has demonstrated.
“It is therefore particularly important that criteria for evaluating teaching excellence in higher education institutions are informed by a clear set of principles. The criteria that inform the TEF will quickly determine the sector’s focus and any future investment in education development with long-term implications for the design and delivery of degree programmes.”
Staff concerns over the management at UCL has been growing for sometime. Just before Christmas, several senior UCL academics proposed a vote of no confidence to UCL management.
Back in the summer, members of the School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS) showed strong opposition to reforms made to UCL’s discretionary accounts policy.
UCL declined to comment.
The blog can be found here.