The summer before embarking on my PhD study, I read Francesca Coin’s research note ‘On quitting’ (2017) with morbid fascination. Work and activism meant that I was aware of some of the issues academics faced before I returned to formal study. I knew that staff had struck that year over changes to their pension scheme, a dispute unofficially fuelled by:
The purpose of the contemporary university is being radically transformed by the encroachment of corporate imperatives into higher education. This has inevitable consequences for managerial interventions, funding structures, and teaching and research audits. It also impacts on the working conditions of academic staff in university institutions in terms of teaching, research, administration and public engagement.
This issue is a call to discussion regarding the modern university, and what we seek to achieve with it is to highlight the discussions already taking place within the university, and to spurn on some new ones. Yet, as the entrance to today's Humboldt University tells us, such interpretation is not enough. What counts is change. Such change cannot, we believe, be achieved solely by the university itself.