Friday, July 24, 2009

Mind-bogglingly Useless Research

Comments left on Times Higher Education's article 'Toxic combination' threatens jobs cull , 16 July 2009:

Fred the Shred 16 July, 2009
Yet again the academic community expresses its horror that the University sector should be exposed to the real world. There is nothing wrong with building surpluses, indeed in the longer term these will benefit the academic community.

Surpluses create cash, which in turn is used to fund capital expenditure and keep borrowings down thus giving the sector a lower gearing and allowing more income to be spent on academics producing mind bogglingly useless research rather than going on interest payments.

Cash reserves also generate additional income for an institution through investment income. Kings London's Standard and Poors rating will have been decided after close scrutiny of their current and future plans. It is possible that King's quite realistic approach to the issues facing them contributed to the upgrade ( which will have mightily pissed off another institution by the way). How much is it going to take for the academic community to realise that they don't live in the protected cocoons of ivory towersand haven't done for the last 30 years( since the days of the blessed Margaret). I worked in the sector for 25 plus years and now work in the real world. It's far more stressful, but it's fun, particularly dealing with people who don't have over inflated opinions of themselves. We recently had to ask staff to take a pay cut. It was purely voluntary but 95% took it up. I understsnd UCU are still insisting on a pay rise this year. Get Real.

Jonathan 16 July, 2009
Fred the shred: you might have some pertinent points that present an interesting counterargument. The problem is you wrap in in such condescending and, quite frankly, insulting language that I can only guess your "25 plus years" in the sector did not involve teaching diplomacy. If you want to make a point, make it reasonably. Otherwise, give it a rest.

Fred the Shred 16 July, 2009
Jonathan, presumably you mean the type of diplomacy used by academics when a manager, quite reasonably, questions what they are doing. I spent an awful long time trying to be diplomatic with academics. If you think I am being insulting I suspect you are being a touch sensitive.

Don't feed trolls 16 July, 2009
Fred the Shred is a dreary troll spouting the tedious line that HE is somehow "not the real world". I particulrly enjoyed the inept mixed metaphor of "protected cocoons of ivory towers"! The private sector - those splendid and self-deprecating chaps that brought us the credit crunch? - are very welcome to his second-rate intellect (and third-rate rhetorical skills).

Fred the Shred 16 July, 2009
Don't feed trolls. QED.

Don't feed trolls 16 July, 2009
Surprised old Fred has the time to reply in that "fun" Real World job of his. In my cocoon of ivory towers, I. on the other other hand, have the leisure to reply (in between working on mind-boggling pointless research of course).


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