Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, writing in his blog has said ‘‘Mickey Mouse’ degree courses should be swept away, and priorities in university education and research should reflect the challenges facing the country over the forthcoming decades’.
My objections to this line of argument are twofold:
(i) It’s against the principle of academic collegiality. Universities, such as mine, are founded on the basis of mutual respect, with equal value given to all subjects. We can’t continue as we are if some subjects are considered to be ‘superior’ to others, and therefore get more funding.
(ii) In this time of pending cuts in funding, we must all stand together, and argue the case for universities as a whole. The line being proposed amounts to ‘divide and conquer’, turning subjects and departments against each other. We will be far stronger if we face this together.
Incdentally, I am a Chemistry lecturer, and care about my subject, but not at the expense of academic collegiality, and good relations between departments and colleagues.