Vote YES to action on Pay – Ballot open now – Vote by May 4

UCUPayCampaignLocal-page-001In response to the employers’ inadequate offer of 1% pay award, UCU are balloting you to seek a mandate for industrial action.  Goldsmiths UCU exec urge you to vote YES to strike action and YES to action short of a strike. You need to vote before May 4th.

Here are reasons you we believe you should vote for industrial action:

The cost of living is rising: 1% does not come near the increase to our cost of living, particularly when you consider housing costs in London.

Our pay is in decline: Changes to THE way you pay National Insurance and ADDITIONAL pension costs will come into effect next month.  This means that on average, our members will each be £70/month worse off. A 1% pay increase will not offset this loss.

Your salary is now worth 14.5% less in real terms than it was in 2009.

HE sector is in surplus: The fact is that we’re not a cash poor sector. Universities had a record surplus last year of £1.8 billion – mostly because of the numbers of students paying the £9000 fees. OK, Goldsmiths isn’t like Oxford (which a surplus of £191 million) or Imperial (with a surplus of £143 million) but we need to stand together with our colleagues across the country to make sure we all get the pay we deserve.

Challenging inequalities and casualisation: And that means challenging existing inequalities – like the outrage of the gender pay gap and the scandal of so many people on fixed- term contracts (and in some universities on zero hours contracts).

We need to send the employers a strong message that we are not prepared to accept the miserly 1% offer nor the continuing inequalities in pay so vote YES to industrial action.

More information https://www.ucu.org.uk/whyshouldivote

Or contact your branch gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk

Note: 

UCUHE/272 informs branches and LA’s of letters received from HEI’s challenging the pay dispute for 2016 – 2017. UCU’s standard response to those institutions forms part of this circular:

http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/pdf/UCUHE272.pdf

http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/rtf/UCUHE272.rtf

 

The Gold Paper

GovernanceAfter a series of discussions and contributions by staff and students to the draft gold paper we are pleased to publish an updated copy of the Gold Paper:

https://goldsmithsucu.org/the-gold-paper/

Thanks to everyone who has given their input so far.

The Gold Paper begins from two ambitions: to restate our purpose and reclaim a vision of the public university that is disappearing from view in the midst of the increasing marketisation of HE, while also offering pragmatic steps towards its achievement beginning with what we do at Goldsmiths.

For this to work it must be a grass roots endeavour involving everyone from porters to professors; it must be a collaborative process.

To contribute your ideas email n.fenton@gold.ac.uk (head the email Gold Paper).

Lobby of College Council: We’ll also be lobbying the College Council on Thursday 14 April with a simple demand that College Council timetable a discussion with staff and students on the GOLD PAPER at the next meeting.

Full details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1737849283127184/ 

Printed copies of the Gold Paper will soon be available. Email gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk if you would like some.

 

THURS 14 APRIL LOBBY GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE COUNCIL Cut the Rent / The Gold Paper

Tribunal Lobby

Thurs 14 April, 3.45pm, Outside PSH 326

Pre-meet 3pm Rm PSH 305 – all welcome

Cut the Rent

The Cut the Rent campaign started by Goldsmiths students has highlighted the unbearable pressures being placed on students who cannot access affordable and decent accommodation at our institution. Their demands: that rent not be above half the maintenance grant and that halls should be safe, secure and liveable – in a manner recommended by the housing Charity SHELTER – is indicative of the increasing barriers facing students trying to pursue studies in the context of the aggressive marketisation of Higher Education.

Against these conditions, we believe that Goldsmiths should be taking a lead in managing rent at an actually affordable level and refusing to allow the “invisible hand of the market” to strangle students’ life-chances.

We call on college council to agree to student demands for a fair rent and safe, secure, liveable accommodation

The Gold Paper

The current housing issue goes to the heart of a wider set of destructive “reforms” being imposed on the sector which threaten to uproot the notion of the public university: transforming the very ethos of learning, research and academic freedom and generating escalating pressures of debt, increased work load and deteriorating conditions on staff and students.

In the wake of the Green Paper which has signaled more of the same, many staff and students believe now is the time to assert a different vision of education and begin to develop an alternative set of principles and practices that can make our college one we are proud of: one which can also pose a powerful alternative at a national level.

Initiatives such as the People’s Tribunal and now the draft GOLD PAPER seek to engage the widest number of staff and students in developing such an alternative.  A draft of the GOLD PAPER can be read here: https://goldsmithsucu.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/the-gold-paper-a-first-draft-and-call-for-participation-and-submissions/

A central issue running through is how we democratise the way decisions are made about the running of our university and the principles that should underpin those decisions.

Our simple demand is that College Council timetable a discussion with staff and students on the GOLD PAPER at the next College Council meeting.

We are appealing to staff and students to join us to lobby college council members on the importance and seriousness of both issues.

There will be a pre-meet 3pm in room PSH 305 

Rent Strike: Goldsmiths UCU supports students campaigning for affordable housing

WatsonCutRentSupport the Rent Strike!

Goldsmiths UCU branch sends greetings to all students now undertaking rent strike in student halls of residence in Goldsmiths and across London.

Why are these rent strikes happening?

– Massive funding cuts to universities mean revenue streams are being sought from parts of the university that should be treated as non-profit.

– UK students have been robbed of what all of their European counterparts get: an education at no cost, with education as a common good. Treating students as consumers rather than learners and researchers creates a perverse incentive for universities.

– The student maintenance grant is tiny and doesn’t match the cost of living let alone paying exorbitant rent. The question of whether to rent strike or not is irrelevant when the rent is too high to be paid. Therefore – Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay!

– Private operators offering higher price, lower quality housing see students as a goldmine. These chipboard slumlords have no place near universities.

Against these conditions, the whole University of London, with Goldsmiths taking a lead, should manage rent at an actually affordable level – not one where the “invisible hand of the market” strangles students’ life-chances.

Goldsmiths UCU fully supports our students in their struggle to make rent reasonable.
As a matter of urgency, all the problems with water systems and with kitchen equipment should be resolved immediately.

Goldsmiths UCU supports our NUS branch when they say:
-Students should have an affordable, good quality standard of living.
-A student’s maintenance loan should cover their cost of living, rent should be no more than half of that loan.

A GOLD PAPER FOR EDUCATION Weds 23 March 12PM RHB 144

GoldPaperMeetingCalling all staff and students at Goldsmiths – join the discussion on a GOLD PAPER for Education 

Weds 23 March 12noon RHB 144

Read a draft of the GOLD PAPER 

“For this to work it must be a grass roots endeavour involving everyone from porters to professors; it must be a collaborative process. It will work through the campus unions and existing governance and organizational structures but not be confined to them. It will acknowledge the current context but refuse to be driven by it. Please join us!”

The 2015 Green Paper on Higher Education left us in no doubt that the government is aggressively pursuing the privatization of higher education. The 2010 Browne Review began the process of turning higher education into a consumer driven activity that students buy in exchange for skills for the job market. The Green Paper finishes this process by effectively removing entirely any reference to higher education in terms of non-economic value.

The Gold Paper seeks to establish that there is an alternative that is both desirable and feasible. It begins with the premise that higher education is a public good that has public benefits and should be supported as a public service; and that Goldsmiths should provide the highest level of education in arts, humanities and social sciences to extend a range of knowledge, understanding and creativity.

In this meeting Natalie Fenton will introduce some of the key ideas contained in the draft paper for discussion.

 

 

 

The Gold Paper – a first draft and call for participation and submissions

GoldsmithsPT
In the wake of the government’s 2015 Green Paper and following on from the People’s Tribunal that was held at Goldsmiths last year (view the video here), it was agreed we should seek to develop an alternative to the Green Paper that embodied values and practices befitting of a public university – a GOLD PAPER for Goldsmiths. A first draft of a Gold Paper has been put together from listening to a range of debates and in response to issues that arose in the People’s Tribunal and at GUCU meetings. The Gold Paper seeks to address how can we can begin to reclaim the principles and reinvent the practices of higher education for Goldsmiths in a way that is both feasible and desirable. This is the first draft of many: a working document which we invite staff and students contribute to through a process of discussion and redrafting in order that we can collectively define the problems and shape the changes we wish to see at Goldsmiths and across the sector. We invite you to:

-attend a discussion meeting on the Gold Paper open to all staff and students on Weds 23 March 12noon, RHB 144

-send your views, including ideas for addttional content or alternative views/areas of disagreement, to n.fenton@gold.ac.uk (please mark subject heading “Gold Paper”)

-organise a department meeting to discuss ideas for the Gold Paper

 

The Gold Paper (First DRAFT of many…)

The 2015 Green Paper on Higher Education left us in no doubt that government is aggressively pursuing the privatization of higher education. The 2010 Browne Review began the process of turning higher education into a consumer driven activity that students buy in exchange for skills for the job market. The Green Paper finishes this process by effectively removing entirely any reference to higher education in terms of non-economic value leading to what Collini (2016) refers to as ‘barren utilitarianism’. This document will not critique all of the issues in this approach as this has been done admirably elsewhere (e.g. Bishop, 2015, 2016; Holmwood, 2015; McGettigan, 2013). Rather, it seeks to establish that there is an alternative that is both desirable and feasible. It begins with the premise that higher education is a public good that has public benefits and should be supported as a public service; and that Goldsmiths should provide the highest level of education in arts, humanities and social sciences to extend a range of knowledge, understanding and creativity.

The Gold Paper seeks to recognize what people working within Goldsmiths think it stands for as a place of learning; to celebrate its creative, critical and radical ambitions; and then to seek ways of ensuring these characteristics are part of the fabric of the institution. It will be visionary and seek to offer a coherent approach that Goldsmiths staff will own and work vigorously to develop and to defend. If this vision is adhered to then the bold premise of the Gold Paper is that staff in Goldsmiths will seek to ensure that as many students as possible can benefit from the education and learning that Goldsmiths has to offer.

The Gold Paper is based on the firm belief that if the College actively represents the things we believe in, then staff across the College will support it fully, innovate for it, create within it, strive tirelessly for its success and enable it to flourish and grow. This will bring more students to Goldsmiths and enable our broader ambitions to be realized. Conversely, if the College does not actively represent the things we believe in then we are far less likely to seek to extend its reach. The Gold Paper begins from two ambitions: to restate our purpose and reclaim a vision of the public university that is disappearing from view in the midst of the increasing marketisation of HE, while also offering pragmatic steps towards its achievement beginning with what we do at Goldsmiths.

For this to work it must be a grass roots endeavour involving everyone from porters to professors; it must be a collaborative process that will include senior management and students; it must be organic and unfinished – a constantly open and iterative process. It will work through the campus unions and existing governance and organizational structures but not be confined to them. It will acknowledge the current context but refuse to be driven by it.

A Gold Approach: Building Blocks and Easels

  • A public university
  • For equality and against inequality
  • For collegiality and collaborative working towards the pursuit of understanding and knowledge
  • Inclusive and diverse
  • Participation of all the HE community in the life of the university
  • Participation of the local community in the life of the university
  • Independent and critical thought
  • Academic freedom and autonomy
  • Evidence based practice

 

Governance

Rationale: All organizations will grow staid and stagnate if they are not refreshed through a constant process of reflexivity. This only works when there is full transparency and accountability and the opportunity for people to actively partake in the governance of the organization. Open and inclusive governance will actively seek to represent diversity in areas such as gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity and disability, and in terms of communities such as staff, students, local, national and international users of HE, business and the professions, and other educational partners. Increased democratic structures will unleash new voices and stimulate creative thinking.

Realisation:

  • Council, Academic Board and all relevant sub-committees should seek to be as representative as possible of the diverse communities that Goldsmiths serve.
  • Academic board should be fully representative of the academic community;
  • Increase democratic governance such that all staff can have an official voice through the creation of a General Assembly to replace the Warden’s Open Meeting;
  • Democratise Council and its sub-committees through the allocation of equal votes to staff and student representatives, community members, and employers’ representatives;
  • No one individual should be able to sit on more than two university committees;
  • Elect chairs of College committees;
  • Elect the Warden;
  • Elect Pro-Wardens;
  • Elect the Chair of Council.

There is a danger of fetishizing democratic forms as solutions in and of themselves. They are not but they are a very important step.

Finance

Rationale: Since the Browne Report on Higher Education that brought in the end of the block teaching grant for arts, humanities and the social sciences and the increase in students fees up to £9,000, the funding premise of universities has altered such that security in continuity of funds feels less stable (even if for the majority of institutions this has not been the experience). The Browne Report changed radically the terms on which universities functioned. It determined that we should no longer think of higher education as the provision of a public good, articulated through educational judgment and largely financed by public funds (supplemented then by a relatively small fee element). Instead, it proposed that we should think of it as a regulated market in which consumer demand is sovereign in determining what is offered by service providers (i.e. universities). The almost complete removal of the annual block grant that government made to universities to underwrite their teaching, brought about a redefinition of higher education and the retreat of the state from financial responsibility for it. Instead universities have become educational superstores attracting customers, selling their wares in a competitive marketplace. The student is now a customer and the consumer is sovereign.

Following the changes to HE, public money is now an increasingly minor proportion of income for English universities. In 2015/16, the teaching grant for the whole sector was just £1.42bn (HEFCE, 2015: 2). Since the sector’s total income in 2013/14 was £29.1bn (UUK 2014: 23), the HEFCE teaching grant comprises under 5% of income. As Jones (2015) points out what little support for HE teaching is still provided now comes mostly through the state backing of the student loans system.

The onus on universities to be responsible for their own income has introduced a constant tyranny of numbers. The focus in Goldsmiths (understandably in many ways) has shifted to concerns of quantity – get the students in. We do not have a diversity of funding streams that other institutions have, particularly those with STEM subjects. In order to attract students we are encouraged to give them what (we think) they want – more vocationalism, new buildings, better facilities. Our financial well-being rests on being able to maintain and grow student numbers.

Goldsmiths needs to be financially well run and to make best use of its resources but it is not, primarily, a business and the education it delivers should not be treated as a commodity. This paper acknowledges fully the financial requirements of the institution and understands that there is no quick fix to the problems. What we wish to do, however, is to shift the emphasis from a purely economistic calculation of value and a wholly individualistic conception of ‘consumer satisfaction’ to one that first and foremost values education. To these ends, we would question the purpose of chasing the small rewards (an increase in fees equivalent to the rate of inflation) that a TEF framework promises.

It is true that in the new funding regime some universities feel better off. Indeed, with the bulk of research funding being attracted to the universities that (are thought to) have the best reputations, the most likely effect of current (and proposed) HE policy is to exacerbate the financial disparity between types of university and, above all, to bring about a much closer correlation between the reputational hierarchy of institutions and the social class of their student body. Increasing fee differentials through TEF will likely replicate and even intensify the existing disparities between institutions. We need to be able to ensure continuity of quality and maintenance of standards in an unpredictable environment.

The Gold Paper is visionary but it is not ‘pie in the sky’ politics. It is premised on the active pledge that if staff work to increase student numbers, Goldsmiths will not only remain firm to the values we hold dear but will seek to implement a series of policies that will actively work towards realizing the visionary policies and practices in this paper.

Realisation:

  • Finance of the institution needs to be brought into the democratic realm such that we can analyse its processes and contribute to its planning;
  • Openness and transparency about where and how decisions are made, where responsibility lies and clarity about how decisions may be questioned and challenged;
  • Commitment to work with PERC to develop an alternative economic model for HE that can be used to lobby government;
  • Make a commitment to ethical investment decisions;
  • Open decision making on how best to approach participation in the TEF.

Teaching

 Rationale: In the TEF, every department would be subject to review on a five-yearly basis by a disciplinary panel comprising educational experts, students and employers. At a huge cost these panels will review metrics (employment/destination; retention/continuation and student satisfaction) and qualitative evidence submitted by institutions. TEF levels will be rewarded to institutions not departments. There will be four TEF levels. Those that achieve the higher TEF levels will be able to raise their maximum fee cap in line with inflation (currently at less than 1%, so £9,000 fees could increase to £9,090). It is expected that student numbers will also rise in these institutions due to ‘reputational gain’. As fees are capped at inflation the best that can be achieved is for income per student to stagnate.

While we object to the TEF on the grounds of increasing marketisation of HE, we also believe that it is deeply flawed in its attempts to measure quality. Even the Green Paper suggests the metrics they propose only offer ‘imperfect proxies’ of teaching quality. Just as it cannot measure teaching quality so it will drive a bureaucratic nightmare similar to the £230m institutions have spent on REF dry runs, paying consultants, modelling outcomes that will massively outweigh any benefits (that in themselves are questionable). A management response to this threatens to take any of the joy out of teaching and replace it with an obsession with delivering the right metrics and resourcing only those areas that can show improvements in metricised scores.

 

It is absolutely right that we are concerned about our ability to teach well but we should recognize that understanding teaching quality is not going to come about from the NSS (that is also extensively ‘gamed’ and poorly designed) and neither is it related to employment or retention (both of which are influenced by the labour market more generally and whole host of socio-economic factors). Limited metrics can be counter-productive in generating routinised and risk-averse forms of teaching deployed purely to tick boxes on poorly conceived forms running counter to the very best of creative teaching Goldsmiths has to offer. We should draw on the expertise of our Education Department to devise meaningful forms of teaching development that are suited to the subjects we offer. We should rely on reason, argument and evidence; critical and creative thinking, rigorous analysis and meaningful implementation. And we should acknowledge that expansion of student numbers on the cheap dilutes the level of attention to individual students that most of us can provide and where we are left, in some instances, with over crowded seminar rooms and poor staff/student ratios – the very worst conditions for improving teaching quality.

The Green Paper claims to be concerned with social mobility that it links (problematically) to access to HE by disadvantaged social groups. The government wants to raise the participation rate of students from disadvantaged backgrounds from 13.6% (2009) to 27.2 % by 2020 and increase the number of BAME young people going to university to 20%. The Green Paper offers no solutions whatsoever for this problem. Although Goldsmiths traditionally has had a quite diverse student body there is anxiety that this is lessening. The latest UCAS figures show that just 16% of applications to creative arts and design courses came from state school students (Arts Emergency, 2015) as arts and humanities subjects look set to increasingly become the preserve of the wealthy (who are not worried about the debt they are left with at the end of their degree). Latest UCAS data for England also shows that although participation is increasing so is the opportunity gap between the haves and the have-nots (i.e. participation is increasing more amongst the advantaged). Of the four subject areas showing a decrease in applications, by far the greatest drop was for combined Science and Arts/Social Science courses. The second biggest drop was for combined Arts subjects.

International recruitment will continue to be a vital funding stream. But this should not be to the detriment of academic standards and should ensure that there is diversity and equality in the student body. Also, increasing student debt will mean more and more students continue to live at home while studying at university. We need to do far more to engage with our local schools in South East London and London more generally and work with them to enable students from diverse backgrounds to realize their potential within a Goldsmiths environment. We should also do more to develop continuing education provision amongst communities we serve.

Realisation:

  • Peer Review of teaching on an ongoing basis;
  • More contact hours and smaller sized teaching groups are the two areas that students would most like to see – this means a reduction in the Student/Staff ratio (average in the sector is 1:19, many areas of Goldsmiths are much higher);
  • Actively seek to minimize casualisation (insecure, casual working conditions are not conducive to better student contact);
  • Retain equal opportunity to do research (in recognition of the link between teaching and research);
  • Teaching excellence should be rewarded via promotional routes;
  • Invest in and grow the integrated degrees;
  • For those who do not have adequate levels of English Language (IELTS 7+), a year-long foundation course could be developed in English language and writing for entry onto BA and MA courses;
  • Open a (G)Old School – a space for learning and production that is open, experimental and collaborative with a commitment to foster cultural, intellectual and social exchanges between artists, academics and the local community. It should host study programmes, reading groups, workshops, offer mentorships and provide an informal environment for sharing knowledge and skills across various communities. Funding can be sought from a variety of philanthropic sources but it could also be collaboratively run on a skills exchange basis. It will be a feeder into a free degree programme within a liberal arts format available part time and on a limited to basis to those in most need and to mature students;
  • Make the Library available to the public.

Research

It is right that teaching is given equal standing to research. But this should not be at the detriment of research. There is an inter-dependency between teaching and research that should be preserved. The logic of the Green Paper is that the better a department scores in REF then the worse they score in NSS. There is no evidence to support this claim. It is only through well-informed and rigorous approaches to our teaching practices that take account of research in the field that we will improve our teaching. It is not through responding to ideologically driven agendas. The TEF will not rebalance teaching and research priorities; rather it will increase pressure on staff time.

British investment in Research and Development used to be one of the highest amongst OECD countries in the 70s. It is now among the lowest (Jones, 2013). Universities are being pressed to fill the gap and are increasingly turning to private beneficiaries. But this comes with a risk of university research being at the behest of short-term commercially driven projects that force a turn away from fundamental/blue skies research or research of a more theoretical/critical bent.

Fetishizing the impact agenda also threatens to drive research to users’ requirements rather than to those areas with little immediate applied purpose but of great intellectual or broad social value. It is not that impact driven research in and of itself is undesirable but it should not be valued more highly than other forms of research.

 

As noted above, the relationship between teaching and research is being dismantled. As Holmwood (2011) notes the TRAC system of accounting made it appear as if teaching was subsidizing research. Now universities are reluctant to argue that a proportion of student income should properly be used to support scholarship.

 

Academic freedom is at the heart of a research-healthy institution. The principle of academic freedom enshrined in the Education Reform Act (1988), is that ‘academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom and put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs.’ This commitment to academic freedom needs to be embedded in all our proposals for new research structures and agendas.

Realisation:

  • Teaching must be always be linked to scholarship/research;
  • Time to do research and/or scholarship needs to be protected and equally available to all academics;
  • All Departments should have a research sabbatical scheme;
  • All academic staff should have access to research funds to facilitate attendance at conferences, etc.;
  • A post-doctoral scheme should be investigated;
  • Increased investment in research infrastructure to better support those applying for and working with external research grants.

Infrastructure and support services

Rationale: All of our teaching and research relies upon the staff in central services and the infrastructure they are part of. These are often the people who know most about how the College operates yet are frequently excluded from decision-making bodies. Similarly, if these are people employed on outsourced employment contracts they are likely to be less well paid and suffer worse employment conditions. Too often there is an ‘us and them’ split between academic and support staff that is replicated in our structures.

Support services for students in key areas such as mental health, childcare provision etc. should always receive equal prominence/access for staff.

Realisation:

  • An end wherever possible to the outsourcing of university services including catering, cleaning, international student recruitment, and sickness absence reporting; where outsourcing does take place, a commitment only to consider companies who recognise trade unions and who pay a Living Wage;
  • Representation of support staff on college committees, factored into workloads and with an equal voice;
  • Just as Goldsmiths graduates are given a reduction in fees for continuing on a Masters Programme at Goldsmiths, so the children of all Goldsmiths staff should also receive a reduction in fees (and be encouraged to apply).

Building a consortium for change

Goldsmiths should be at the forefront of a movement for change in HE policy and be striving to build a strategic political alliance across the sector. It is vital that Goldsmiths represents the views of its staff to Government and to lobby Parliament for change. In the last Coalition government, eight Conservative MPs voted against the reforms to HE largely as a result of lobbying carried out by the vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield. Recent reports note that 13 universities have been scathing in their criticisms of the Green Paper along with 9 learned societies and 31 sector bodies. There is an alliance to be built and Goldsmiths should be driving it.

The UCL provost has already said that UCL would be unlikely to submit to the TEF ‘for purely financial reasons’ (Arthur, 2015). The vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield has stated that ’I do not believe, however, that the great successes of British higher education have been produced, or will be sustained, by further marketisation of the kind the green paper envisages.’ He goes on to say that ‘The change in relationship from a student member of a university to a customer is profound, and one which we have actively resisted in Sheffield’ (Burnett, 2015).

 

Realisation:

  • Countering the direction of travel for HE policy requires consistent research – create a Research Fellowship post for the Public Benefit of Higher Education (as they have at Sheffield University) feeding directly into SMT;
  • Create an alliance of like-minded vice-chancellors and pool resources to develop alternative evidence-based policy and provide a crucial lobbying voice in the sector;
  • Work closely with the NUS;
  • Develop a campaign strategy with a parliamentary and public focus using current students, alumni and community partners.

 

Next Steps

 

The ideas and approach in this paper need to be discussed at as many levels with as many people as possible within both service and academic departments, with staff and students, on College Committees, within School meetings, on SMT and at Council. There should be a series of General Assembly meetings to discuss key aspects of the Gold Paper and agree ways forward. The document should be revised and redrafted until it reaches a point where it can be owned by the community of Goldsmiths and has an implementation plan.

References

Arthur, M (2015) ‘Provosts Long View’ https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/1115/19112015-provosts-view-government-green-paper

Collini, S. (2016) ‘Who are the Spongers Now? London Review of Books vol38(2):33-37

Bishop, D. (2015) ‘The Shaky Foundations of the TEF: neither logically nor practicallu defensible.’ 7 Dec. Available at: http://cdbu.org.uk/shaky-foundations-of-the-tef/

Bishop, D. (2016) ‘NSS and Teaching Excellence: the wrong measure, wrongly analysed’ THES, Jan 4, 2016. Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/nss-and-teaching-excellence-wrong-measure-wrongly-analysed

Burnett, K. (2015) ‘Higher education green paper: are we all consumers now?’ Available at : http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/higher-education-green-paper-consumers-now-keith-burnett-comment-1.524320

 

Dorling, D. (2016) ‘Danny Dorling on University Admissions and Inequality.’ THES 4 Feb. Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/danny-dorling-on-university-admissions-and-inequality

Holmwood, J. (2011) TRACked and FECked: How audits undermine the arts, humanities and social sciences. Available at: http://exquisitelife.researchresearch.com/exquisite_life/2011/03/tracked-and-fecked-how-audiys-undermine-the-arts-humanities-and-social-sciences.html

Holmwood, J. (2015) Social Science Inc. Available at: https://www.openDemocracy.net/ourkingdom/john-holmwood/social-science-inc

Jones, R. (2013) The UK’s Innovation deficit and How to Fix it. Available at: http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/10/30/speri-paper-no-6-the-uks-innovation-deficit-repair-it/

Jones, L. (2015) ‘The HE Green Paper: (Don’t) Read it and Weep’ available at: http://thedisorderofthings.com/2015/12/11/the-he-green-paper-dont-read-it-and-weep-part-1-the-tef/

McGettigan, A. (2013) The Great University Gamble:Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education. London: Pluto.

 

GUCU Branch Meeting – A GOLD PAPER for education with Natalie Fenton, Weds 1-2pm, RHB 142

GUCU gold paper march 2016-page-001GUCU branch meeting, Weds 2nd March 1pm-2pm, RHB RM 142

Natalie Fenton introduces a GOLD PAPER for education

The recent Higher Education Green Paper runs contrary to what many of us think Universities should be. This meeting will discuss what a GOLD PAPER could look like. How can we begin to reclaim the principles and reinvent the practices of higher education for Goldsmiths in a way that is both feasible and desirable?

This follows on from “Goldsmiths A People’s Tribunal”, held on the fifth anniversary of the vote to triple fees, which bought staff and students together to discuss and propose remedies to the drastic changes happening in our University.

There will also be a Q and A with Ian Pleace Director of Finance on the College finances

Open to all GUCU members  If you are not already a member – Join us!

https://join.ucu.org.uk If there are issues you would like to see discussed or taken up by the branch or you are interested in getting more involved email us gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk

SUBMISSION FROM GOLDSMITHS UCU TO THE BIS GREEN PAPER

The balance between teaching and research in the government’s proposals for a Teaching Excellence Framework

What is the problem to which TEF, and the government’s proposed reforms more generally, are the solution?

Falling levels of student satisfaction? UUK figures show that students appear to be increasingly ‘satisfied’ with their university experience. Satisfaction levels of around 80% in 2005 have steadily increased to 84% in 2012, 85% in 2013 and 86% in the most recent figures for 2014.[1] Is it about a decline in research quality or impact? Again, UUK point out that while the UK has just over 4% of the world’s researchers, it has 11.6% of citations and is the leading country for field-weighted citation impact.[2] Is it about falling participation rates? We have seen a 26.5% increase in the numbers of full-time first degree students and a 41.1% increase in postgraduate research students in the last ten years. The total number of students studying at HE institutions has grown by 2.8%, to some 2.3 million people, in the ten years up to 2014.[3] Is it the result of falling rates of graduate employment? Hardly given that graduate employment of 87% is the healthiest it has been since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008 with the highest annual median salaries on record.[4] Perhaps it is because universities are bastions of inefficiency except that UUK estimates that British universities delivered £2.38 billion of efficiency savings between 2005-6 and 2013-14.[5] (UUK 2015: 39). So even using the government’s own preferred criteria of reliable metrics and ‘hard’ data, it is not clear what the central problem is with higher education in the UK.
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STUDENTS NOT SUSPECTS – what is Prevent and how can we oppose it?

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Counter Terrorism legislation introduced earlier this year includes a new prevent duty which requires Higher Education staff (and other public sector workers) to monitor students who are suspected of engaging in ‘active opposition to fundamental British values’ and to police ‘extremist’ speakers and students on campus. Continue reading

Goldsmiths A People’s Tribunal: What has happened to our university?

PeoplesTribunalWhatsHappened?December 9th, 2015 is the 5th anniversary of the vote in the House of Commons on the tripling of University tuition. In the past 5 years both expected and unexpected transformations have occurred in our universities. Debt and marketisation have reached deep not only into how the university is run, but also into our mental health, our relationships with each other, and our ability to work toward another future.

A Tribunal is not a trial. It is a court of the people set up to address injustices that are not recognised by the law. A People’s Tribunal sets out to define what justice is, through gathering testimony and evidence and identifying causes and remedies. Through this process we come to a deeper collective understanding of the drastic changes that have occurred and build our capacity to bring about change.

The Tribunal will hear 5 provocations to begin our cases:
1. Criminalisation: how have protest & students’ bodies become criminalized? Continue reading