The marketisation of Higher Education has radically undermined the idea of the university as a public institution – gearing institutional priorities towards what is financially profitable rather than socially and culturally worthwhile.
In this context of intense competition between universities for students and research funding, there has been a dramatic growth of capital projects, advertising budgets and Vice Chancellors pay. Meanwhile students face a huge debt burden, and staff, a working environment characterised by unmanageably high workloads, stress, inequality and insecurity.
Goldsmiths is no exception
In a recent survey of GUCU members 71% of respondents said workload was an issue, 50% low pay, 41% insecurity and 29% stress and bullying. Now the College has embarked on the project “Sustaining Goldsmiths” – designed to produce efficiency savings and surpluses they say are necessary to survive in the educational marketplace.
We want to protect and develop Goldsmiths as a place that delivers innovative and radical teaching, that supports independent and critical research, treats all its staff and students with respect and is committed to social justice.
After the election
The re-election of the Tories responsible for tripling fees and the acceleration of neoliberal attacks in the sector adds urgency to this challenge.
This conference is an opportunity to collectively discuss the challenges confronting the sector and how we can address these effectively at Goldsmiths, Queen Mary and beyond.
2-2.40pm Opening Plenary : Setting the Context: The neoliberal transformation of Higher Education RHB Cinema
Tom Docherty Warwick University, author of Universities at War
2.45- 3.55pm “Sustaining Goldsmiths” challenging the deficit narrative – building alternatives RHB Cinema
Johnna Montgomerie Political Economy Research Centre
Jamie Green columnist The Leopard
Sukhdev Johal Queen Mary University
4pm -5.10pm Workshops:
1. Tackling workload RHB Cinema
Maggie Pitfield GUCU and Educational Studies. Facilitated by Marian Carty Educational Studies
2. Challenging bullying RHB 137
Mojisola Adebayo Theatre and Performance. Facilitated by Mary Claire Halvorson GUCU Learning Rep
3. Organising against casualisation RHB 150
Closing plenary: 5.15-6pm Reclaiming our University RHB Cinema
Tom Henri GUCU Exec and Bahar Mustafa Welfare & Diversity Officer GSU
Plus report backs from workshops