1. Exquisite Tweets from @cadebellaigue

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    I am really very cross with Andrew Adonis. In 80s Oxford, most humanities teaching was done within single colleges by tutors who only taught

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    a fairly narrow range of unchanging courses, teaching was arranged between colleagues over lunch, and once you had worked up a paper (which

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    would likely already have been devised by someone else), you could give tutorials in it for many years in the same way. Most colleges had

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    secretaries who would do any photocopying or typing tutors needed. Tutors mostly saw students singly and rarely marked essays; instead

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    they gave verbal feedback having spent 20 minutes of the tutorial listening to the student read out their essay. They did not necessarily

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    provide reading lists, and were very unlikely to provide course outlines or other study aids. Examiners were not expected to provide legible

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    feedback commenting clearly on specific assessment criteria, nor were they expected to clearly articulate those criteria in the first place.

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    In 1988, there were 9,516 applications for undergraduate study, compared to 18,377 in 2015 (so that’s 8,861 fewer applications to consider).

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    Access and outreach events were rare and did not involve developing mini-curricula for potential students. In 1991 there were 4,045 graduate

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    students, and barely any masters’ students expecting classes or seminars, in 2014 there were 10,173. In 2015-16 there were 24,645

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    applications for graduate study and each application required a full written report. Graduate funding was allocated centrally rather than

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    competed for internally. There was probably no IT committee, no Equality Committee, no Welfare committee, probably no Library &

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    Special Collections Committee, no Admissions & Access committee, no Development Committee in either the College or the Faculty.

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    There might have been a wine committee, garden committee. The RAE was already in place, but research activity was not yet subject to

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    constant monitoring of academics by academics, there were no impact case-studies, no tracking of grant applications and awards

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    no pressure to develop partnerships with other organisations for knowledge-exchange, no need to maintain an online presence.

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    There were fewer post-docs and research assistants to support and manage. There were fewer journals to edit or write reviews for, and

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    I happen to think that we are much the better for many of the changes referred to. But life is very different to what it was for a

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    Junior Research Fellow in an Oxford Graduate College in the 1980s, and this is in an institution which is enormously well-resourced and

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    where academics are comparatively insulated from the pressure to publish, the demand to meet particular research and teaching targets,

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue

    and the insecurity that characterises life for those in many other institutions.
    Et y'en a marre.

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    cadebellaigue

    ChristinadeBellaigue