Thursday, October 15, 2009

more on the Bibs department at Sheffield

Alison Bygrave (the insider voice from the department) has posted the following update regarding the Biblical Studies department at The University of Sheffield[.]:
The University of Sheffield has today confirmed its position with regard to the future of the Department of Biblical Studies. In the light of concerns regarding inadequate consultation, as well as feedback from staff and students, the Department of Biblical Studies is no longer under review and a proposal that it should be reconfigured as a Postgraduate Centre has been withdrawn.

Instead the University has asked the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to consider, as a matter of urgency, a short, medium and longer term plan for the Department. With regard to the undergraduate intake for 2010, the University can confirm that it will recruit students for this year onto single and dual honours degrees in Biblical Studies. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities are working with colleagues to ensure that these students are appropriately supported, including through the recruitment of additional staff.

Looking to the future, the University recognises the outstanding reputation of the Department of Biblical Studies in Sheffield for scholarship and a superb student experience, and has confidence that all concerned will work together to enhance this for future students.

Professor Mike Braddick
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

This is obviously good news. For all of you in any way responsible for making decisions at an institutional level, let this be a lesson to you that consulting people involved in a decision is always a wise thing to do before making that decision. I'm no organizational psychologist, but this seems to be one of the most frequently overlooked principles of, well, common decency.

HT: Bryan Lee


Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Clueless is an excellent description of UK universities in handling their div schools or the unique case of Sheffield's bibs department. Back in the Thatcher years, Aberdeen's div school went through a weird, through-the-looking-glass-style review with biologists making suggestions about how to reorganize.

Suffice it to say that after student demonstrations ("save" again being used ironically) and closer analysis of the div school's productivity, the changes were slight. The div school endured and thrived.

What it didn't endure, though, was the later loss of key faculty and less than successful moves to fill vacancies. Now I wouldn't send an enemy to Aberdeen div school, let alone a friend.

Same goes for Sheffield for the future. Personnel is everything in education. Gotta get 'em and keep 'em.

Rafael said...

Thanks, Jon. You're right that faculty acquisitions hold the key to the future of this (and any) department.

Thanks, too, for the CT article. I didn't appreciate the not-too-subtly hidden polemical tenor of the piece. Maybe I'll comment on that later.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Rafael. Pleased to find your blog and reputation in biblical studies. I am considering to study in Sheffield, doing research on historical Jesus subject. I know you did it with Loveday Alexander. What do you think about James Crossley? Thank you very much before.

Rafael said...

I appreciate James very much; I tutored for one of his classes when he first came to Sheffield, and he was my internal examiner. He's wrong about quite a few things, and he knows I know it. But he's a great colleague and a very respectable NT scholar. (Please don't tell him I paid him a compliment!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your info. So, he's okay even if, supposed, I am a bit conservative. I know he's a bit 'naughty'.

Rafael said...

James will certainly push your buttons, and he'll challenge your thinking. But I enjoyed working for/with him. And I wish you the best of luck!

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