Posted by: Clare Solomon | April 28, 2010

Middlesex University Shamefully Cuts Philosophy Department

Thanks to the Third Estate blog for the heads up-right, when does the fightback begin? 10am May 15th ULU campaigns Network training.

BREAKING NEWS – PLEASE REPUBLISH!

Earlier this afternoon all staff in the Arts and Education section of Middlesex University received the following email:

Dear colleagues,

Late on Monday 26 April, the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Ed Esche,
informed staff in Philosophy that the University executive had ‘accepted his
recommendation’ to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and
MPhil/PhD.

Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject in the University. Building on its
grade 5 rating in RAE2001, it was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in
2008, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally
excellent’. It is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the
study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.

The MA programmes in Philosophy at Middlesex have grown in recent years to become
the largest in the UK, with 42 new students admitted in September 2009.

The Dean explained that the decision to terminate recruitment and close the
programmes was ’simply financial’, and based on the fact that the University
believes that it may be able to generate more revenue if it shifts its resources to
other subjects – from ‘Band D’ to ‘Band C’ students.

As you may know, the University currently expects each academic unit to contribute
55% of its gross income to the central administration. As it stands (by the credit
count method of calculation), Philosophy and Religious Studies contributes 53%,
after the deduction of School admin costs. According to the figures for projected
recruitment from admissions (with Philosophy undergraduate applications up 118% for
2010-11), if programmes had remained open, the contribution from Philosophy and
Religious Studies would have risen to 59% (with Philosophy’s contribution,
considered on its own, at 53%).

In a meeting with Philosophy staff, the Dean acknowledged the excellent research
reputation of Philosophy at Middlesex, but said that it made no ‘measurable’
contribution to the University.

Needless to say, we very much regret this decision to terminate Philosophy, and its
likely consequences for the School and our University and for the teaching of our
subject in the UK.

· Professor Peter Hallward, Programme Leader for the MA programmes in
Philosophy,

· Professor Peter Osborne, Director, Centre for Research in Modern European
Philosophy,

· Dr. Stella Sandford, Director of Programmes, Philosophy

As many readers will know, the philosophy department at Middlesex is one of the most important departments working on continental philosophy in the UK. It has, for a long time, been a centre for people working on critical theory, aesthetics, marxism, psycho-analysis, and radical philosophy. To say that such a department made no measurable contribution to the university is an absolute travesty. The figures speak for themselves, but do not show the great contribution that this department has made to academic life both in London and around the country.

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