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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The misinformation spread by management

We're hearing that Psych students emailing the Dean are getting a standard response that propagates misinformation. Let's deal with this here (for info, words in ' ' are summary statements of content - not direct quotes - see the comment dated 22 February 2014 04:39 at the bottom for actual quotes):

Lie N.1: 'UCLAN has no influence on national pay negotiations and is an innocent bystander in the national pay dispute' 
Reality: UCLAN is part of UCEA and their representatives negotiate pay on JNCHES.

Lie N.2: 'Workforce planning in Psychology is about reprofiling staff due to under recruitment.'
Reality: Psychology made student recruitment targets last year and received a financial bonus for doing so.

Lie N.3: 'Psychology needs to bolster Neuroscience to respond to increased recruitment.'
Reality: The Neuroscience degree increased nos on previous years, but it still has only 28 students (in comparison to around 280 on Psychology). Why would you need to lose 5 of the most experienced Psych staff to teach a Neuroscience course with a total of 28 students? The Dean plans is to recruit only 2 Neuroscience lecturers. Why do 5 Senior Lecturers have to leave for this? The School made 140k profit last year.

Lie N.4: 'A key factor in the workforce planning is student experience.'
Reality: The proposal is to make redundant 5 Senior Lecturers and appoint 6 Associate Lecturers. Associate Lecturers are on a sub-lecturer grade, inexperienced staff who cannot teach Year 3 or Postgrads. Is this enhancing the student experience?

Lie N.5: 'All critical activities will continue.'
Reality: 3 fewer staff at Year 3 & Postgraduate level to supervise projects. Some topic areas will be lost. FACT

Lie N.6: 'Students will continue to have access to staffing expertise, from world-leading researchers, inspirational teachers...'
Reality: the Dean is about to make redundant research active staff and award winning/inspirational teachers and replace them with 6 Associate Lecturers and 2 Lecturers (lowest end of the lecturer pay scale).

If you are a student and have been fobbed off with these responses, please point out the above facts.


  1. As someone who was a full-time member of the Psychology lecturing staff for over 30 years (1973- 2005), I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent dispute. Seemingly, the Department is to be 'rebalanced' by making compulsorily redundant around five staff whose primary responsibilities have been teaching and administration and replacing them with teaching assistants on lower salaries and degraded contracts. As I understand it, the purpose is not to address any financial difficulty but to release extra funds to support research.

    In being prepared to visit extremely serious life traumas on five of its employees, management has presumably convinced itself that such measures were necessary to advance the interests of the university in some important way. However, the risk of serious collateral damage may well have been underestimated.

    All other things being equal, an organisation that is believed to have a cavalier attitude to its own staff's well-being will find it more difficult to recruit staff. Collegiality, after all, is something that is normally highly valued.

    Similarly, all other things being equal, a university that is believed to short-change its students (by replacing experienced lecturers/administrators with poorly paid novices) will find it more difficult to recruit students and more difficult to retain those it does recruit.

    And what are the likely effects on the remainder of the Psychology staff? Normally that would be a rhetorical question. But I wonder. Maybe management should be asked to outline these effects - and if they cannot, perhaps somebody should spell them out for them.

    Maurice McCullough

  2. Yes, it is all very counterproductive and wrong-headed. The motivations behind it are the worst kind. These pogroms will spread like wildfire through our education system as it is turned into a vehicle for rampant profiteering by careerist sociopaths with no emotion, compassion, or, alas, even intelligence.

  3. Just in case anyone tries to accuse us at PsychProtest of misrepresenting management, here are the actual quotes from the Dean of Psychology to students in emails:

    Actual quotes from the Dean of Psychology:
    "Staff pay at universities is agreed at a national level and UCLan has no part in negotiating pay levels, and so cannot resolve pay disputes. "

    "...the strike action is distinct from the workforce planning activity that has been on-going within Schools - including Psychology - and is related to a review of our course portfolio. Like all universities, UCLan regularly reviews its course portfolio in line with student and employer demand, and we are looking to develop areas of growth and make cost reductions in areas of under-recruitment."

    "Within Psychology, for example, we have seen an increased demand for our BSc Neuroscience programme, which is something that we need to respond to in terms of our staffing expertise so that we can continue to deliver world-class teaching in this and our many other areas of strength at undergraduate and postgraduate level."

    "Please rest assured that one of the key considerations of the current workforce planning programme is the maintenance and enhancement of the student experience at UCLan. As part of the current review we are also proposing to create a significant number of new academic posts in areas of new or high demand, including new Lecturing posts in Psychology. As with any situation where a member of staff leaves or is absent from the University, the University will ensure that all critical activities continue and that there is no detrimental effect on our students."

    "I draw your attention to the University’s commitment to ensure that students have access to an appropriate range of staffing expertise, from world-leading researchers, inspirational teachers, experts from industry through to those who bring new and fresh insights. "