Another reason to complain about the University of Melbourne

An honorary staff member from anthropology at the University of Melbourne has been told he has to go if he doesn’t have a self-authored published article in a suitable journal each year. This is a person who does publish, but all his work is co-authored with somebody else from the University of Melbourne. This is being done to a person who puts in a lot of hours helping the department to remain a less toxic place through getting the newsletter out, being part of an audience for seminars and confirmations, remembering and caring about students.


While I am glad I am not sitting in that department, I am not singling it out necessarily. Universities seem to be a bit of a recipe for a bad place to work. Much of the work is unpaid and difficult to put in a position description, so there are not many ways to ensure that people take on an equitable share of the work load. The year has clusters of deadlines, but people also have their own individual deadlines on top of this so there is plenty of stress but not always a sense of shared stress. People are forced to deal with each other but the work that attracts prestige is usually expected to be a solo effort, so how do you foster a sense of collaboration?


I am sad and angry to see the mutterings about who will be pushed out next turning into reality. Sad because I know how important it is for the sort of care for people and passion for knowledge that these people have to be in the university for students. Angry because it does not seem right.


These are not, nor ever will be, my decisions to make and this are issues which I see from quite a distance, so sorry for commenting and I better get back to work.


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