SBCS: Madness of Metrics

David Bignell, emeritus professor of zoology at QM, has a compelling op-ed piece in this week’s Times Higher. An excerpt:

Will restructuring work? Everybody except modern managers knows a good department is not about metrics but about spirit. Do you want to come in each day or are you scared of your dean? Is your inspiration your own passion or the bidding of your performance manager? These managers worry me. Too many are modest achievers, retired from their own studies, intoxicated with jargon, delusional about corporate status and forever banging the metrics gong. Crucially, they don’t lead by example.

We have all stick and the wrong carrot. What’s really needed is a bit more space and time, some more resources, a free hand, a modicum of encouragement and no interference. What you get are endless targets, no space in your life to think and constant assessments. Academic life will always be a struggle with something and if you’re not struggling, you’re not a real academic. This is how the best research is born. But now your struggle is with your manager. That’s not aspirational, that’s plain stupid and it could be ruinous.

Read the full piece here.



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