In Seren’s full breakdown of proposed cuts which could be carried out later this month, we noted that Professorial staff will among those being made redundant.
At the time of the article, we defined a Professor as: ‘Scholars with doctorate degrees (typically Ph.D. degrees) or equivalent qualifications.’
Whilst, simply speaking, this isn’t false. It’s crucial that we accurately communicate the gravity and academic prominence which Professors hold within our institution.
As well as doctorate degrees (which usually take 4-6 years), Professors will have also built a portfolio of other academic work over several decades.
Individually, Professors are leading experts in their fields, writing a large number of internationally influential academic works – e.g. research monographs and academic journal articles.
These take many years to research and write, and earn the university research income via the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
These Professors will also consistently win research grants from external funders, to conduct research projects which have a wider influence on society.
In my school alone, Creative Studies & Media, Professors have created world-leading social impact. From talks at the British Academy on Fake News, Parliament appearances about internet standards and privacy, to the discovery of an unpublished screenplay by Stanley Kubrick.
On top of this, Professors regularly appear in the national press, maintaining the profile of the University.
However, vitally, academic excellence and valuableness of Professorial expertise extends further into your student experience.
Often, Professors are at the forefront of maintaining a high standard of teaching at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Furthermore, the specialized research that Professors perform feeds directly into degree programmes in the form of unique module choices.
In addition, Professorial staff will supervise PhD research students – who will potentially form the next generation of Professors.
To become a Professor, an academic has to demonstrate how they have achieved all the above. This goes to external referees (other Professors at other universities) and an internal board at Bangor University, who decides if the academic deserves the title.
It’s apparent. Professors are valued by students and esteemed by academic peers. Why does our institution not grant them the same reverence?
Given the funding, teaching and recognition that Professors can offer to the university over long periods of time. Surely, Professorial staff redundancies would only deliver a short-term benefit.
The financial challenges which face the higher education sector are evident. And, whilst regrettable, I acknowledge that our university is tasked with difficult decisions vis-à-vis redundancies.
Nonetheless, if Bangor University is to retain its reputation for research excellence. Unquestionably, it is our versatile, leading expert Professors who must be among those protected.