Category: Higher Education

It’s not enough for research to be useful to policy actors, we must try to actually influence change

There is no doubt that good communications and framing research and evidence for your audience is important to influencing policy and having research impact. But shouldn’t we be aiming higher than producing and packaging research that simply meets the demands of policy actors? Surely what we actually want to do is influence change, not reinforce social and political norms? James […]

Book Review: Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences by Imad A. Moosa

Academics today have to publish to succeed. In Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences, Imad A. Moosa assesses the disastrous consequences of this view for academics, both personally and academically. Review by James Hartley. This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books and is published under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UK license. Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits Versus Unintended Consequences. Imad […]

Is peer review bad for your mental health?

Amidst fears of a mental health crisis in higher education, to what extent is the peer review process a contributing factor? It’s a process fraught with uncertainty, as authors try to forge something constructive from often mixed feedback or occasionally downright unhelpful comments. Helen Kara stresses the importance of being aware of the effects of uncertainty and taking steps to […]

PhD students supervised collectively rather than individually are quicker to complete their theses

Given the choice, most PhD students would prefer to receive individual supervision rather than be supervised alongside their peers as part of a collective. This is understandable, given the undivided attention and precise, directly relevant advice one would receive. However, Hans Agné and Ulf Mörkenstam have compared the experiences of individually and collectively supervised students on the same doctoral programme […]

The neurotic academic: how anxiety fuels casualised academic work

As higher education undergoes a process of marketisation in the UK and the activities of academic staff are increasingly measured and scrutinised, universities are suffused with anxiety. Coupled with pressures facing all staff, casualised academics face multiple forms of insecurity. While anxiety is often perceived as an individual problem for which employees are encouraged to take personal responsibility, Vik Loveday […]

Book Review: How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities by Iain Hay

In How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Iain Hay offers a guide to how early-career academics can develop their careers while meeting the ever-growing expectations of universities. While the book does not overtly challenge the institutional demand for scholars to be “academic superheroes” and occasionally offers contradictory advice, Iván Farías […]

Does not compute: why I’m proposing a moratorium on academics’ use of the term “outputs”

The word “outputs” is now ubiquitous in UK academia, particularly in a REF context that requires authors to think of their publications in such terms. To Kirsten Bell this is jarring, with a term previously more commonly associated with the language of computing or economics, where outputs are measured and monetised, clearly not suitable to academia. It’s ultimately ideas that […]

Student data systems and GovTech apps will increase competition and performance measurement in higher education

Current debates in higher education policy have drawn attention to the significant impacts of marketisation, metrics, and performance management on the sector. Ben Williamson argues that a restructuring of the data infrastructure is shaping these HE trends. An examination of the HE data infrastructure reveals the political aspirations coded into its architecture, the actors involved in its production, and its […]