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Liverpool Hope profs told to work on campus

University says it wants to provide a real learning community, not a virtual one


 

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.


 

Liverpool Hope profs told to work on campus

  1. Annoying – yes. Possibly such a departure from the accepted norm that it may be impossible to enforce – also true. Outrageous – not at all. Academic culture has evolved such that full-time lecturers (those who only teach) expect they should be able to come and go as they please so long as their classes occur on schedule. That’s a heck of a job perk, considering that a full-time teaching schedule might be at most 12 hours per week. It isn’t many people who are only on the clock 12 hours, as a full-time job, and can perform the rest of their duties as they feel like.

    Now, I’m not saying it’s an unreasonable job perk either. It comes in balance with many factors, including pay, other duties, job security, status, etc. It’s a very aggressive move to step into any such job environment and say “we’re going to take away this huge perk and give you nothing in return.” Current strike in Toronto anyone? Yeah, touchy subject, but I’m just saying workers tend to react badly when any employer tries that.

    All the same, I don’t take it as a given that it’s unreasonable to expect a full-time employee to actually be on campus 35 hours each week. It might even represent a superior model, as claimed.

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