Even without an official 'catalyst', things precipitate other things. They react together in an intellectual chemistry which unites all the different areas of life which most interest me.
When I retired, I never planned to have a clear before/after moment. Professionally, binaries of this kind have no appeal - I wrote a whole book about one such alleged moment - and when it comes to life transitions, why is one supposed to feel any different just because of a birthday, for example? In… Continue reading It’s ‘retiring’, not ‘retired’
It's déjà vu all over again... I had a bad case of déjà vu this week, as the universities of Manchester, Aberystwyth and Sunderland announced job cuts. I went through this at Reading in 2010 and it was why I left to take up a position at the Open University. More on that in a moment.… Continue reading Redundancy in universities
Issues of power and consent in higher education: as harassment advisor and from the other side
It's that season, yet again. For UK academics, term has ended, and coursework marking has begun. Soon to come: marking dissertations, followed by marking exams. I gave up marking when I moved to The Open University in 2011, as there it's done by the associate lecturers (aka 'tutors'), so all that was left for me… Continue reading The agony of marking
So, subconscious mind, get used to it: I'm still an academic, but I'm not going back to the Day Job, ever!
It's an odd process, this retiring business. Last week, I filled in the form stating how I want the percentage allocation of the lump sum and the pension to be managed, and posted it: that felt like a very serious step. But there are all sorts of other, tiny, steps happening and it seemed like… Continue reading Stages of withdrawal
After I handed in my notice, I could have let things wind down gradually. The Open University requires a long notice period, six months, but unlike brick universities it doesn't have just a couple of days in each year on which you are allowed to go, so I could pick my time. However, I delayed this… Continue reading Traitor to the cause? Why I wrote a MOOC
I'm republishing here something I originally wrote for my department's newsletter, in 2015. It's about another side of being an academic: the travelling. I'm at the career stage at which I'm lucky enough to be invited to give lectures - public ones - in interesting places. But I want to preface my travel account… Continue reading The travelling academic (1)
Some students love the way you teach: others don't. That's just a fact, and if you're going to survive the end-of-module evaluations, you'd better accept it. I've been thinking again about teaching after an exchange with one of our MA students last week. He was mildly concerned that he wasn't taking many notes from the… Continue reading The times I taught well