Despite currently studying at Kings College London, I haven’t been involved in the campaigns against the cuts in higher education in the U.K. Partly this is due to a lack of time, but also because I’ve been burnt out by politicking.
But news today that Middlesex “University” (should read: Corporate Services Provider) is to shut down the philosophy department has caused the bile to rise.
The Dean, one Edward Esche, has stated that the decision is “purely financial” and that the department has no “measurable” contribution to the university.
Yet it is an internationally renowned department, the highest research-rated subject in that University, a grade 5 rating in the 2001 RAE assessment, a 2.8 in the 2008 assessment, with “65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.”
Despite the malevolence of the RAE, it does produce some sort of measurement, one designed for managers and bureaucrats such as this Dean who has arbitrarily disregarded it. Whether he has done so because he truly believes ‘money is the measure of all things’, or he is hiding his real reasons (too critical? not ‘useful’ enough?), the result is the same. An agenda driven entirely by commercial concerns, one that has finally disposed of any educational and academic criteria.