Punk Academic’s Crowd-Sourced Quick Guide to Masks

++UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL FROM CATRIONA GOLD (@cat__gold), DAVID CHIVALL (@dchivall ) and JAMES SUMNER (@JamesBSumner) ++ It goes without saying that a) I don’t think we should be onsite, b) I think that mask wearing should be the norm, and c) I wish so very much we were on an alternate timeline. But we’re…More

Archive: In defence of postmodernism

(Originally published at The Socialist Imaginary) ‘In the past, when you needed information, you went to an encyclopaedia… and you could trust that the information would be true.’ Or so says Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s famed education guru, best-known as the co-ordinator of the PISA testing process which provides a comparative metric analysis of national education…More

Say no to onsite teaching: Being the university in a time of crisis

The news tonight that the government is to ban social gatherings of more than six people should be a turning point in the discussion over universities teaching face-to-face (F2F) on campus. Large gatherings, the government says, are the greatest risk of spread. By magic, apparently, such risks don’t apply to workplaces, places of education or…More

Expendable assets: Staff and students in the pandemic university (long read)

On Friday a letter appeared in The Times – signed by ‘100 leading academics’ no less – advocating ‘a return to face-to-face teaching as soon as possible’, making clear its signatories’ rejection of UCU’s position that wherever possible, teaching in the forthcoming university term should take place online. The Times probably wouldn’t always recognise all…More

Universities and the coronavirus: Questions of leadership

Mike Finn (@punk_academic) As the novel coronavirus pandemic has swept the world, it has inevitably become a political question. This is no less true of universities in Britain than in any other area. There are real, and immediate, challenges for institutions that often have tens of thousands of students from a wide range of locations…More

The end of the line for Alistair Jarvis

This morning, staff and students fighting for pensions and against marketisation woke to the surprising news that Oxford’s vice-chancellor, Louise Richardson, had emailed staff to confirm the University was reversing its position on pensions. This was all the more spectacular given that only yesterday Oxford’s famed academic self-governance was derailed by 21 ‘loyalists’ who vetoed…More

Strike week two: The university rises

Week Two of the strike, freezing temperatures, and the university reborn. It has been a remarkable three days. Across the country, picket lines have been manned with gusto, with dogs, babies and even a Strikeosaurus putting in an appearance. Students have turned out in force too, playing their part in the line and in supporting…More

UK higher education and the perils of ‘it’ll never happen’

The appointment of Toby Young to the board of the Office for Students, the new regulator for English higher education, has unsurprisingly sparked fury amongst academics. Young, a longstanding supporter of Conservative education policy and ‘disruption’ was the poster-boy of the free schools initiative introduced by the coalition government under Michael Gove as Education Secretary. His West London Free School became the symbol of Gove’s desire to ‘free’ education from the remit of ‘the blob’, instead returning to a ‘traditional’ curriculum free from any of that ‘progressive’ nonsense.More