Middlesex Philosophy Closure
My letter of protest in regard to the recently announced closure of the Middlesex University Dept. of Philosophy, with full details of the situation at Middlesex, and how you can write/get involved as well, posted below:
To Dean Esche, Vice-Chancellor Driscoll, and Deputy Vice-Chancellors Ahmad and House-
I’m a writing to protest the announced closure of the Philosophy Department at Middlesex University. Middlesex is a leader in Modern European Philosophy, and I use many of the works of your scholars, particularly that of Professor Hallward, in my own work. I may be across the ocean, but I am appalled that any University would cancel their entire philosophy department. But that a University would close one so distinguished, full of students, producing PhD’s of very high calibre, well, it is just unreasonable. That the Dean stated that the philosophy department made ‘no measurable contribution to the University’ is simply scandalous. A Shakespeare scholar, such as Mr. Esche, should certainly know better, as the humanities have always been threatened by quantifying language of this sort, including English departments .
Word of this action is spreading like wildfire through the community of scholars in the United States – let us hope that Middlesex does not soon become known more for its shortsightedness and philistinism than its scholarship. A simple reversal of policy would make sure that is not the case.
– Christopher Vitale, Ph.D.
Christopher Vitale, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Media Studies
200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11205
BREAKING NEWS – PLEASE REPUBLISH!
Earlier this afternoon all staff in the Arts and Education section of Middlesex University received the following email:
Late on Monday 26 April, the Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, Ed Esche,
informed staff in Philosophy that the University executive had ‘accepted his
recommendation’ to close all Philosophy programmes: undergraduate, postgraduate and
Philosophy is the highest research-rated subject in the University. Building on its
grade 5 rating in RAE2001, it was awarded a score of 2.8 on the new RAE scale in
2008, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally
excellent’. It is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the
study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world.
The MA programmes in Philosophy at Middlesex have grown in recent years to become
the largest in the UK, with 42 new students admitted in September 2009.
The Dean explained that the decision to terminate recruitment and close the
programmes was ’simply financial’, and based on the fact that the University
believes that it may be able to generate more revenue if it shifts its resources to
other subjects – from ‘Band D’ to ‘Band C’ students.
As you may know, the University currently expects each academic unit to contribute
55% of its gross income to the central administration. As it stands (by the credit
count method of calculation), Philosophy and Religious Studies contributes 53%,
after the deduction of School admin costs. According to the figures for projected
recruitment from admissions (with Philosophy undergraduate applications up 118% for
2010-11), if programmes had remained open, the contribution from Philosophy and
Religious Studies would have risen to 59% (with Philosophy’s contribution,
considered on its own, at 53%).
In a meeting with Philosophy staff, the Dean acknowledged the excellent research
reputation of Philosophy at Middlesex, but said that it made no ‘measurable’
contribution to the University.
Needless to say, we very much regret this decision to terminate Philosophy, and its
likely consequences for the School and our University and for the teaching of our
subject in the UK.
· Professor Peter Hallward, Programme Leader for the MA programmes in
· Professor Peter Osborne, Director, Centre for Research in Modern European
· Dr. Stella Sandford, Director of Programmes, Philosophy
As many readers will know, the philosophy department at Middlesex is one of the most important departments working on continental philosophy in the UK. It has, for a long time, been a centre for people working on critical theory, aesthetics, marxism, psycho-analysis, and radical philosophy. To say that such a department made no measurable contribution to the university is an absolute travesty. The figures speak for themselves, but do not show the great contribution that this department has made to academic life both in London and around the country.
WHO TO WRITE:
They are asking people to write to the university to express their disapproval:
The four people to write to are as follows:
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Michael Driscoll, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Waqar Ahmad, email@example.com;
Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Margaret House, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dean of the School of Arts & Education, Ed Esche, email@example.com.
If you are able to send such an email, it would be helpful if you blind copied (BCC) it to our campaign email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you do write, bear in mind that the best campaign letters are polite, short, and unique.