Hello. I am thinking of going to the University of Liverpool for philosophy, 2009 entry. I was aware of its low RAE ranking but I recently found out that in spring there have been attempts to actually close the department because of this. Fortunately the threat of closure has been lifted with the proviso of reaching specific targets in their research in the future. I am troubled by all this because I don’t know what situation I will encounter there if I attend the course. Would it be a bad idea? Are academics going to start searching for other positions thereby affecting the quality of teaching? Are there going to be future threats to the department if research is not improved? Or am I simply worrying too much and taking the whole issue too seriously? If anyone has any answers/opinions on this matter I would be very interested in reading them.
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Liverpool Philosophy watch
- Thread Starter
- 18-07-2009 19:48
- 18-07-2009 20:01
the university commisionned a report given the recent economic climate, looking into ways it could save money, one of the worst case senario ideas put forward in this report was that they close some of the departments, namely philosophy and politics. These were just suggestions though and there has been a very angry backlash within the university and within Liverpool as a city strongly opposing the suggested closure. At present it doesn't seem as though they will be closing any departments and they are advertising places for 2010 entry. If the threat of closure became more apparent then yes, it is possible that tutors would being leaving and any funding you did get would be minimal which would impact upon your degree, but that's a risk at any university surely, that one day they decide to close the department and it could happen while you're there, but as far as I know there are no serious plans to close the departments
- 19-07-2009 19:46
I personally wouldn't want to go to a department that was in that much trouble.
- 20-07-2009 22:23
I studied Philosophy at Liverpool (BA, graduated 2009) and was very involved in the protests against the closures (which were very hastily retracted).
The department did indeed receive RAE scores which aren't very appropriate for a Russell Group University i.e. it had no research rated 'world leading'. However, it did exhibit research of 'national importance' and it's teaching (full marks in the last review) was never suspect.
The proposed closures were badly thought out and were enacted by the new Vice Chancellor (Howard Newby) in a desperate attempt to make his mark and boost the University’s research ranking from the bottom half of the Russell group to the top half.
The closures are not going ahead, partly due to the fact that every single head of department in every philosophy department in the UK signed a petition against it but mainly because the department had an external review which highlighted ‘world leading potential’ in proposed research.
To counter the threat the department has set up three research clusters (Analytical philosophy, Aesthetics, Indian philosophy). I must stress that the closures were not due to money problems (the department actually generates more money than it costs to operate) and most certainly not due to poor teaching or inadequate provision.
I now study Philosophy at Leeds University (second biggest after Oxford) and the fact that I studied at Liverpool in no way affected my career prospects.