Lecturers at Liverpool Hope University are denouncing a new school policy that would require them to spend the full 35 hours of their working week on campus, unless they get permission to work somewhere else.
The policy makes it clear that working from home should be an “exception to the norm and can be authorised only by a dean.” It also says that, if permission is granted, that staff must keep “a careful note of activity” while they are off-campus.
The school says it is “unashamed” about the new rule, adding that it wants to be a real university community, not a virtual one, and that the policy is aimed at providing proper support for students.
However, according to the Times Higher Education, some professors say the policy questions both their professionalism and their academic integrity. The Liverpool Hope branch of the University and College Union has declared it will not recognize the new rule.
“I am totally shocked by this micromanagement… We are adults, we are capable of managing our time and responsibilities,” said one professor.
“This is managerialism gone mad — private industry rejected this nonsense years ago,” said another.
More specifically, the university says that flexibility is a necessary component of academia, and that the 35 hours don’t need to be from 9 to 5 each day. The rule was also recently changed to clarify that staff members with “recongised reseacher” status would be treated more leniently.