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Birmingham Uni Archaeology - Thrown in the Trowel

Since the Times Higher Education ran a story on the 13th September 2012 highlighting the bullying tactics against academic staff employed by the University of Birmingham, the situation in the college of Arts and Law has worsened ? considerably. Following a supposed consultation, the College have now presented the final results of the 2012 Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA) review; this would appear to be the first of a new wave of reviews held across the University. The review has displayed an unprecedented level of bias, unfairness and aggression throughout its implementation and from the outset the University has sought to justify large scale redundancies:
  • Over 15 proposed redundancies were announced today ? 11 from Archaeology; this, following 7 years of mismanagement in the IAA by senior managers.
  • All members of staff on research contracts in Archaeology (responsible for several high impact, media friendly research projects internationally, including the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, North Sea Palaeolandscapes Project, and Shakespeare Project among others) are targeted. Requests from the University and College Union (UCU) for an Equality and Impact Assessment regarding age and gender have been completely ignored.
  • Senior managers have been rewarded for failures which led to the proposed closure of the department of Archaeology and the cutting of the undergraduate degree programme for Single Honours Archaeology.
  • The University of Birmingham has refused to properly investigate a collective Grievance lodged by research staff against the Senior Management of the IAA.
  • What impact will such massive cuts have on the University, on its students, on the research culture and on the whole student ?experience? ? especially as a spate of such reviews is sweeping across the University?
The shockwaves are being felt throughout the University as a whole. There is an atmosphere of genuine fear amongst the staff as the University?s already heavy-handed management style turns vicious in its desperate attempt to rid itself of those it perceives as expendable

Read on and other posts here>>
As predicted ..................
Oh how true...


The Review itself was instigated on the confidential recommendation of the Head of the IAA, Professor Ken Dowden, to the Head of College, Professor Michael Whitby. That recommendation whitewashed seven years of mismanagement by recommending the dissolution of the IAA with severe cuts to the staff. These recommendations were confidentially supported by two other senior members of IAA management, including the Head of Archaeology, Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary. All three of whom sat on the subsequent Review Panel. Concerns raised at the time with the College about their inappropriate inclusion were wholly ignored. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Review Panel took only a month to come to the same conclusion that the IAA must be dissolved, the Archaeology department be closed and redundancies should ensue. To add insult to injury, the Head of the IAA, Professor Dowden and the Head of Archaeology, Professor Esmonde Cleary, have since both been rewarded; Professor Dowden was made Head of Theology, Philosophy and Religion (presumably the next target for a review), and the Professor Esmonde Cleary was promoted to acting Head of the IAA.

Remember these names!

Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary

Professor Ken Dowden

Professor Michael Whitby

What department next??

What excuses this time?

What reorganisation now?


It looks really dodgy to me, especially with the job position movements etc. Can only hope this does not set a precedent with other unis, and one day the university reverses this baffling decision. Looks very unlikely however.

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