University Wankings Profile picture
Celebrating higher education's great joys: metrics, rankings, managerialism, social exclusivity, precarity, deteriorating pay and optimised workloads. they/them
Feb 28 34 tweets 9 min read
The strikes are hurting unis, raising solidarity, but the pain is mostly felt by staff/students. Unis lose face (a bit – press coverage sucks), are inconvenienced, but it's abundantly clear *managers don’t care* about HE/HE people.

A 🧵
#UniCivilDisobedience #OneOfUsAllOfUs
1/
Industrial action's impact on unis is watered as limited to specific union members who will/can afford to, ASOS/strike. But unless (and even if) union membership were greater, we’re limited by anti-union legislation and that we care so deeply about our work and students.
2/
Dec 2, 2021 9 tweets 5 min read
Here's our Manifesto to address some of the fundamental problems in UK HE. 🧵

1. PENSIONS
USS gets told in no uncertain terms to sort their shit out, accept a prudent prediction that isn't based on imminent apocalypse, and to pay livable pensions.
1/9
#OneOfUsAllOfUs #UCUstrike 2. GENDER, RACE, AND DISABILITY INEQUALITY

All HEIs to commit to attaining Athena Swan Gold AND the Race Equality Charter as a first step towards deep cultural change. Also to develop and implement an equivalent scheme for disability.
2/9
#OneOfUsAllOfUs #UCUstrike
Apr 1, 2021 17 tweets 9 min read
Your regular reminder:

UK Higher Education IS institutionally racist…

…not least because the UK is institutionally racist, and these issues are highlighted (and magnified) in educational experiences and outcomes.

An evidence-based thread…🧵
1/
Before we get going, there is no profusion or absence of ability/talent or aspiration/ambition in any racial or ethnic group. Assuming the former is true is racist; the latter is used to explain away social inequalities. We do NOT live in a meritocracy.
tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.10…
2/
Sep 27, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
Don't know who need to hear this*, but reducing tuition fees for *mostly* online learning might seem like common sense, but in fact it's not...universities can't reduce fees for a host of reasons.

Bit of a #TuitionFees thread.

*Seems to be a lot of people.

1/
N.B. a): 'Tuition Fee' is a misnomer. It pays for academic time and expertise in teaching, but also cleaning and maintenance, administration, the library, tech, some research, widening participation bursaries, MH and other support. And management and marketing.

#TuitionFees

2/
Sep 25, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
Apologies for the white hot ranty thread, but the Covid situation has highlighted how fundamental the problems are in higher education.

Headline Point: University leaderships really don't care about staff or students. A short thread.

1/
Everyone* knew this was coming. The situation wasn't ever fully under control, the movement of people across the world/country, into close proximity, was high risk. Staff and students would get sick, some would die.

*Except the head of UK's Track and Trace, apparently.

2/
Aug 17, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
A large group of people goes to a restaurant and places their orders. The food comes, and despite protestations that the portions are both miserly and incorrect, the management insists that this is all they’re getting. The people are hungry, so they eat it.
#examshambles
1/
Just as they’re finishing their meals, the management returns and says that they had in fact been given the wrong food. Therefore, to make amends, they would now be given the right food, but this time in supersized portions.
#examshambles
2/
Aug 11, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
Lots of assumptions here, not much evidence.

Citations, rankings, and selective funding - a short thread.

(Although applying the term salami slicing to German HE is mildly amusing.) The Exzellenzinitiative, in part driven by the nonsense of rankings and 'world leadingness', has created hierarchies in a university system which essentially didn't have them. It has allowed some universities to grow and develop at the expense of others.

2/
Jul 7, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Universities should be allowed to fail, they're wasteful - let's make an example of one. This is wrong-headed, for several reasons:

A thread. 1. A university which closes may not have been mismanaged. It's more likely to be newish, undergrad-focused, lower status (not lower quality).

There is bad practice in HE, mistakes are made, but low-ranking universities don't have a monopoly on this. It's possibly the opposite.
Jul 5, 2020 10 tweets 4 min read
We thought we'd do a thread on reasons to dislike Toby Daniel Moorsom Young. All of these are variations on the same theme: that Toby Young is foetid bellend.


#TobyYoungIsAFoetidBellend
1/
He spends much of his time throwing shitbombs at any moves towards equality and inclusion because it highlights and undermines his enormous white, male, middle class privilege.

2/
#TobyYoungIsAFoetidBellend
Jun 30, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
We had the seed of an idea the other day that grew and grew, and highlights the sources of many problems in HE and the UK.

A comparison between the Russel (‘Rustle’) Group and the Tory Party...

Short Thread.

#RussellGroupandToryParty
1/
Both the Rustle Group and the Tory Party firmly believe, based on their durable presence at the ‘apex’ of the university/political landscape (and despite plenty of evidence to the contrary) that they were born to lead.

#RussellGroupandToryParty
2/
Jun 9, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
The Complete University Guide is Disgusting.

As with all rankings, it tells you nothing about genuine quality. What it actually does is champion and reinforce social inequalities.

Universities which trumpet their performance on it demean themselves.

A Thread.
1/5
It CELEBRATES social exclusivity:

Four measures - Entry Standards, Graduate Prospects, Good Honours, Degree Completion - are inversely related to social disadvantage across class, race, disability, and other dimensions.

This is reprehensible.
2/5
Apr 27, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
We ran a National Student Survey Shenanigans Survey Recently (NSSSS), to get a sense of how UK universities approach it. #NSS

93% of respondents said their university harangues their students into completing it.
1/4 Image 65% of respondents said that their university incentivises their students - i.e. something beyond offering respite from the relentless barrage of reminders. #NSS
2/4 Image
Feb 11, 2020 12 tweets 4 min read
A ranking based on government earnings? Further signs that our stupid and immoral government is probably not stupid but is immoral.

This is one of those 'is there a doctor in the house' moments.

A (really, really angry) thread. 😡😤😭🤮🤯

1/12

theguardian.com/education/2020… First and foremost, reducing a degree to the earnings of its graduates is excessively simple, not least because graduates are not only useful to in terms of pay, but also create wider social benefits (known as externalities).

2/12

link.springer.com/article/10.100…
Jan 23, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
Short thread on status, talent and hard work in HE...

High university status is largely attributed to universities which are:
- Research oriented
- Socially exclusive
- Older
- Wealthier
- Western
- Resource dominant/greedy
This is enormously problematic because...
1/ ...they have more research infrastructure and are less pedagogically inclined, often preferring high performing (i.e. affluent) students who need less support. They therefore offer better research conditions, on the back of armies of precarious research (and teaching) staff.
2/