Academics, you need to be managed. It’s time to accept that

Aug 21, 2015 by

oxford

If we ask about their research, academics accuse us of ‘neo-liberalised surveillance’. But we have an academic background too, and need their support

I work in a university that still has sabbaticals. It’s the largest investment we make in research. We ask staff for a short proposal about how their time is to be spent, and what they hope to gain from the experience. A number of staff have labelled this process a form of neo-liberalised surveillance. And this sums up the problem many of them have with management.

I have just stepped down as an academic manager after nine years to return to my previous professorial career, teaching and researching. I have grown used to being seen as “the other side” by a minority of colleagues who seem to believe they are self-employed and not part of a large, complex organisation.

I understand some of their concerns but have become frustrated by an anti-management stance among a vocal minority.

Like all large organisations, universities need some management to ensure things get done, and to reduce tensions between competing priorities or demands. This can be done well, it can be done indifferently, and it can be done badly – but academic managers are mostly just trying to ensure we all still have a university to work in.

We know from well-publicised surveys that many academics feel under pressure to publish work that will be admissible to the Research Excellence Framework.

Source: Academics, you need to be managed. It’s time to accept that | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

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