Author Topic: Universities  (Read 1187 times)

Universities
« on: July 16, 2020, 11:19:21 PM »
A few on here work in universities. Are you still in a job. My friend has just been laid off and apparently Manchester's having a massive cull. I had a look and it seems that only the first term is just online for Mcr whereas the whole academic year is for Cambridge. I presume that students will just stay at home if that's the case.
 
Manchester will be fucked. All that Oxford Road/ Wilmslow Road corridor will be so screwed. God knows how Blackwells has hung on for so long but if they're not going to get students buying their book lists from them, I can't imagine them being able to carry on. That big Brewdog's probably fucked too. *sniggers*

Re: Universities
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2020, 11:38:10 PM »
yeah manchester oxford road had a load of shit put in where they FINALLY demolished that shitty Man Met bridge over the street. and that silly bougie market they set up under the mancunian way just to get rid of the rough sleepers. would like to say I'd love to see new skyscraper manchester get cunted but it's not the cunts who are going to suffer.

icehaven

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Re: Universities
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2020, 12:53:37 AM »
My colleague's daughter is in her first year at Nottingham and has been home since lockdown started, and I think she's currently expecting to go back in September or October, but that's entirely dependent on second waves and local lockdowns etc. The house her and friends had been in the process of securing for their second year obviously isn't happening now though so they aren't sure where they'll live even if they do go back in Autumn.

Re: Universities
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2020, 12:57:18 AM »
As long as wikipedia exists we'll be alright but still, harsh on workers and students.

Re: Universities
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2020, 12:58:13 AM »
the first lecture gig I have in October is going to be via Microsoft Teams which will be a great wheeze all things considered since I don't have to fucking go down to london

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Universities
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2020, 10:07:18 AM »
I had a contract extension until end of July, which I thought was part of the general University scheme for extending post-doc contracts due to expire...but turns out that I had agreed to help out with REF and they gave me the month and half for that, which I had forgotten due to lockdown mental collapse. So when I asked the University to extend until I got a decision on a Covid research application they told me to fuck off. I told them I had given the University 10 years good service and brought in 3 grants (2 large). Fuck off. I got snipey and told them "thank you, I now know where your priorities lie".

Then I got an e-mail from our grants manager saying that my they and my boss had found some money down the back of the sofa and would extend my contract for 2 months to give me time to await the decision on the proposal from UKRI. What a fucking relief. I'd been speaking with Profs at other Universities who were telling me that far from hiring, many were making redundancies and things were looking bleak.

I just applied for a position in Luxembourg - not perfect but I will snap it up if they offer it. Had far too many rejections recently and like L'Oreal says "I'm worth fucking more than this".

Attila

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Re: Universities
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2020, 10:36:23 AM »
The past few weeks at my university has been a shitshow of lies, obfuscation, panic-mongering, and senior management attempting to run down the clock on anyone attempting to apply for an appeal or concessions for redundancy: one of my colleagues took voluntary redundancy, pressured into it by family and by the nasty tactics of management.

As part of her resignation/application, she noted that she would be withdrawing her REF submissions. My dept, who are sad to see her go under such dire circs, agreed with her. Senior management, however, has thrown a strop, saying it doesn't matter if as of 31 July she no longer works for the university; they're demanding that her stuff still be included in the REF.

It's been fucking magical so far this month; at the moment, I'm recovering from a stress-induced illness brought on by not knowing if my name was going to be drawn out of the redundancy hat (they were actually planning just to randomly choose people if enough people didn't voluntarily resign -- and they've told us even if we get through this round, there will be another in the autumn, and then a third at the end of next academic year).

The DVC has a Twitter account solely to spy on members of staff, apparently.


BlodwynPig

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Re: Universities
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2020, 11:01:46 AM »
Solidarity Attila!

Re: Universities
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2020, 11:15:25 AM »
The government's "restructuring regime" for universities needing emergency financial support also makes for worrying reading:

https://twitter.com/johncmorgan3/status/1283716060336787458

Shoulders?-Stomach!

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Re: Universities
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 11:28:56 AM »
The department my partner works in at University of Leeds is already so understaffed that to sack any of them would be self-defeating and result in many students simply not graduating.

I understand the axe may fall more heavily and widely than that though.

Attila

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Re: Universities
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2020, 01:30:32 PM »
Solidarity Attila!

Cheers :)

The government's "restructuring regime" for universities needing emergency financial support also makes for worrying reading:

https://twitter.com/johncmorgan3/status/1283716060336787458

Yep: the ONLY faculty being hit by redundancies (21.5 FTE at the moment, more to come in the next two rounds) is Humanities and a smidge in the arts (I think the drama/theatre dept). That's 21.5 FTE out of 70 people. We have about 650 lecturers all told -- so if voluntary redundancy were being offered across the entire university for that 21.5, they'd'ev probably've got it quickly.

It's still dragging on for the rest of the humanties programmes in my faculty as the deadline for voluntary redundancy is Monday. As I mentioned in another thread, every person in my dept was tagged as 'vulnerable and up for redundancy review' three weeks ago, coincidentally the first business day after all marks had to be submitted.

The voluntary redundancy payments run through to...October. More cynical colleagues have pointed out that this makes it appear as if the university is using gov't money to pay off those being made redundant, so that the pay outs cost them nothing.

My head of dept, who has been coping with all of this while himself on the redundancy target list, absolutely does not trust them not suddenly to change their minds about us being 'safe' now in this round - he's already said when 1 August comes and goes, and they haven't forced anyone out, then he'll relax a little bit.

Next year is going to be a bit of a drag with the awful 'blended learning' plan the university wants us to do (with, so far, no training and no indication how we're meant to do the close to 8 single-spaced pages worth of teaching goals they expect from us), all research money cut off, no HPLs. Oh, and they've frozen PhD applications now. Plus, absolutely no travel permitted on the university's time or dime -- we're being allowed one virtual conference attendance next year (in normal years, I go to and present papers and work at 3 or 4 conferences). Anything else, we have to pay for and to book annual leave to attend.

They've already simply closed one small programme in my faculty to save on costs.

And of course will be watching us all year to see how we're recruiting for 2021 intake. They've told us flat out that they have zero interest in any post-grad work/students/tuition we get or any grants capture. Suddenly we are a 100% u/g oriented teaching university.

They've recently published their 10 year plan, with lots of lofty ambition and targets, but oddly enough this plan does not mention that laying people off (and closing those posts permanently) was part of the new plan.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Universities
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2020, 01:38:39 PM »
The department my partner works in at University of Leeds is already so understaffed that to sack any of them would be self-defeating and result in many students simply not graduating.

I understand the axe may fall more heavily and widely than that though.

is Leeds facing problems? I thought I was a shoe in to get a chance, but heard ditto from the Prof despite repeated e-mails.

Blue Jam

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Re: Universities
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2020, 01:53:25 PM »
My current postdoc contract at Edinburgh was only meant to be for 18 months but my bosses are very good at finding extra bits of cash for extensions and I've been here nearly three years now. Still, my contract is due to end in December and this time I'm feeling a bit less hopeful about getting another reprieve.

Loads of people here are chasing grant money and have moved into Covid research and I'm not one of them. I'm a dementia researcher and while diseases of ageing are only going to become more of a problem over the next few decades they're just not as sexy a research topic as Covid right now and they're not where funding bodies are throwing their cash.

I haven't been paying much attention to teaching but all our seminars are now online and I know our lab-based PhD students won't be back until late August at least. I think some of the international students will also be studying from their home countries for a good long while.

Along with the Fringe being cancelled this year, lower numbers of students actually attending university in person will be sending landlords into a bit of a panic. I've been seeing a ludicrous number of To Let signs around here as Airbnb landlords realise that the short-term letting game isn't a guaranteed goldmine after all, and with the long let market now flooded that mad scramble for student flats won't be happening this August. Lots of those luxury student accommodation developments will be lying empty too.

I'm really hoping we can by a flat while the market is fucked, but I'll need to keep my job first...

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Universities
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2020, 10:29:53 PM »
The current rumour going round my uni is that we’ll all have to take a 5% pay cut. They do seem to be trying to minimise actual job losses, but we’ll have to see how many actually happen.

Of course, also totally up in the air is how many new students we’ll get in September. If we get way under our new projections we’ll be short of even more money and god knows where we’ll be then.

Zetetic

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Re: Universities
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2020, 11:25:22 PM »
Quote
I'm a dementia researcher and while diseases of ageing are only going to become more of a problem over the next few decades they're just not as sexy a research topic as Covid right now and they're not where funding bodies are throwing their cash.
I don't know - seems that pretty much anything you like can be COVID-19-branded at that the moment if you try hard enough. (The obvious link, I guess, is that something like 80%? of COVID-19 deaths[1] have been amongst people with dementia. I grant I'm not sure how to pivot that into dementia research per se...)

One of our universities has been leveraging the crisis to successfully demand all sorts of person-level health and social data from across the UK.

They don't react well if you ask for accessible explanations of the basis of this and whether people are allowed to opt-out.
 1. This is a back of envelope guess based on dubious data and estimated diagnosis rates.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Universities
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2020, 09:51:32 AM »
Given the supposed impact on the brain meniscus and subsequent mental effects, plus what Set. mentions, I am sure you could look at the long-term impacts of Covid on emergence of dementia? As for dementia deaths - is it a co-morbidity factor?

Re: Universities
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2020, 09:23:21 AM »
More meddling.

According to The Telegraph:

Quote
No 10 is reviewing the "pricing mechanisms" of university courses, in a move that could see reductions in the cost of science and engineering degrees, with higher fees for some arts subjects.

Pay-walled (of course), but here's an image from Twitter:


Blue Jam

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Re: Universities
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2020, 10:42:01 AM »
^^^iirc that was actually a UKIP policy!

Re: Universities
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2020, 11:22:44 AM »
Thanks. It does look a bit like they've been dipping into the UKIP manifesto for policy ideas:



Blue Jam

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Re: Universities
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2020, 12:19:11 PM »
...so basically the arts will be dominated by rich people and the sciences will be dominated by poor people?

No change there then ;)

Re: Universities
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2020, 12:37:05 PM »
*descending slide whistle*

Blue Jam

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Re: Universities
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2020, 08:54:28 PM »
Just been informed that we won't be getting a payrise this year. Oh great.

Re: Universities
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2020, 11:15:51 AM »
We've just had confirmation that, while things will be tight, they will be positively benign compared to what I've seen above.

I am honestly not sure how I'd cope with what some of you have been put through.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: Universities
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2020, 09:04:46 PM »
Just been informed that we won't be getting a payrise this year. Oh great.

I thought that was next year?

Ah wait a minute. The scale is staying the same, but people will increment up it as usual this year, but not next year (which is annoying as that’s when I’m next due an increment). So unless you’re at the top of your scale, you should get a bump (unless I’ve misunderstood).

Looks like there will be some redundancies.

I’ve spent the last week recording and editing some lectures. They’ve come out alright, although I realised too late that I could probably have done with a haircut first. Hoping I managed to edit out all the swearing as well.

I’ve heard a lot of flapping from people in other departments. I’m fortunate in having a head of department whose approach has been to find out how we want to deliver our courses and then coerce the powers that be into making that happen. I think we may even make a decent fist of it, even though we’re still in the dark about how many students there will be and to what extent in person classes will take place. I guess things will start to shake out once the exam results start coming in.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 09:17:45 PM by greencalx »

pancreas

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Re: Universities
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2020, 11:55:07 PM »
Durham not telling anyone on temp contracts if they'll have a job next year until they have the confirmed student numbers. Which is nice. Also going around and badgering crusties to abdicate.

SOAS seems to be in a right mess. 100s of redundancies.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Universities
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2020, 08:59:12 AM »
Durham not telling anyone on temp contracts if they'll have a job next year until they have the confirmed student numbers. Which is nice. Also going around and badgering crusties to abdicate.

SOAS seems to be in a right mess. 100s of redundancies.

Yeh, Wolverhampton just said that they will not be hiring on the job I applied for. THANKFULLY ;) Getting abroad if I can.

Re: Universities
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2020, 09:22:14 AM »
Hopefully get binned so I can do something more impactful like driving a van for Tesco. Not joking.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: Universities
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2020, 09:23:07 AM »
Hopefully get binned so I can do something more impactful like driving a van for Tesco. Not joking.

yep, seems like secondary education has succumbed to neoliberalism like everything else. A sludge pit of paranoia, nastiness and declining standards.

Re: Universities
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2020, 09:33:00 AM »
Promotions announced today! Except that they have all been deferred to next year.

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