University of Sheffield staff warn students could be affected as external examiners drafted in

14 members of staff from the University of Sheffield’s urban studies and planning department signed a letter


Fourteen academics from the University of Sheffield’s urban studies and planning department have warned that students could be affected as external examiners have been drafted in amid the ongoing UCU marking boycott.

As members of the UCU are participating in a national marking and assessment boycott, the university has reallocated marking to staff not involved in the teaching of relevant modules.

In an open letter to the University posted by Philipp Horn, staff have said they  “cannot be sure that the mark has been conducted by people with the appropriate expertise”.

Furthermore, while undergraduate dissertations are n0rmally double marked to ensure marking is of the fairest and highest standard possible, undergraduate dissertations will not be marked in this way this year.

Staff continue in the letter: “We are concerned that the strike breaking measures validated and promoted by the executive of the university are at risk of undermining the consistency, integrity and fairness of marking”.

According to the letter, Professor Koen Lamberts, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield has so far refused an invitation to meet with local UCU representatives.

In a statement to The Sheffield Tab, The University of Sheffield said: “The University and College Union (UCU) has asked its members across the UK to take part in a boycott of marking and assessment processes. The University of Sheffield has been working hard to minimise the impact on our students and the vast majority of students who are due to graduate will not be affected. The University of Sheffield continues to work with our trade union colleagues to listen to concerns and make improvements locally. For national disputes, it is our sincere hope that a sector-wide resolution can be found that can bring an end to this ongoing industrial action.”

This comes as it has been announced that the University of Sheffield will pay students graduating without all their marks £500. Members of the UCU, which represents more than 120,000 university and college staff nationwide have taken part in a marking and assessment boycott since April.

The Sheffield Tab contacted Philipp Horn for comment, but did not receive a response.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Sheffield universities working with council to tackle rubbish from students moving out

University of Sheffield students could receive empty certificates at graduation

University of Sheffield climbs eight places to rank top 20, according to new league tables