Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
Last week, I attended a day conference run by the Higher Education Academy.
The day involved a trip to Nottingham, where I used to live – but don’t ever remember seeing in the sunshine, a night in a hotel with a ‘continental breakfast’ that included cornflakes and a bridge over a moat around the conference centre which was largely redundant, so packed was the moat with seasonally late frogspawn.
It also involved a number of sessions in which famous academics threw handbags at each other, and some networking over some very good food which left the Bristol posse wondering why we don’t boast that level of catering?
Anyway… the focus of the day was largely the way that league tables etc. are forcing HEIs into an unholy relationship with surveys like the NSS to guarantee their future recruitment of students.
It looks like league-table based surveying is a fait accompli… although it shouldn’t be… and was mulling that after a tutorial with one of the students that I taught DEAF history in the autumn term – who was asking about whether she could do a historically-based dissertation.
Yes… I said, and went through how we could work together to open up and explore information that’s never been brought to light… analyse it, and then work together to write a paper which she could then publish – new knowledge, informing the field.
Then we talked about the exams that she’s facing in less than a months time… 2 hours, to spew out everything that she can remember about DEAF history…
And it made me think that really, the tension between proper academic work, and the measures of success that we use makes the whole modern university system rather a farce.