11 Star or Out? — OUT!
3.5 or Out? — OUT!
Following last year’s successful BUCU campaign to eradicate the 11-star-or-out policy from the University of Birmingham, BUCU have again successfully opposed another disastrous University policy that was all too close to leading to UoB staff being unreasonably sacked.
3.5 or you’re out?
During the summer of 2011, the College of Social Sciences Board circulated to staff a document titled, College of Social Sciences: NSS Action Plan 2011-12, which established ‘newminimum standards’, including the goal of “Minimum module questionnaire performance (with the cessation of contracts of PTVL’s and performance management of permanent staff with scores below 3.5 out of 5 unless there are clear extenuating circumstances”. The threat was extraordinarily clear – staff must achieve an MEQ score of 3.5, or otherwise be either sacked (if they were casualised staff) or put on disciplinary performance management schemes.
BUCU vigorously opposed this policy, claiming it might well result in unfair dismissals. BUCU took the campaign to national UCU Congress – with the Times Higher reporting, “Steve Issitt, UCU branch president at the University of Birmingham, told the conference on 8 June that some academics at his institution had been told that their contracts would not be renewed unless they received scores of at least 3.5 out of 5 in the survey”. This prompted the University to immediately, and somewhat embarrassingly for the College of Social Sciences Board, renounce its own policy and abandon any attempts to issue a ‘3.5-or-you’re out’ diktat.
Good campaigning BUCU!