Letter to the Committee Secretary from
Members of HUDG (History at the Universities Defence Group) (HE
We write as members of HUDG, History at the
Universities Defence Group, a professional association representing
those teaching the subject across the whole spectrum of higher
education. A small delegation met Mr Gordon Marsden MP for a working
lunch on 11 December 2000, and during a very useful exchange of
views, were encouraged by him to put our views to you. Through
our regular surveys of departments and through the wide-ranging
membership of our Steering Committee we are able to gather views
and information about the pressing concerns of history departments
and would like to offer comments on a series of issues.
Our particular concern is the decline of full
time mature students which we relate to increased fees and maintenance
costs. This is creating some cold spots in recruiting terms across
Members of HUDG share a number of misgivings
concerning the principles and impact of the Research Assessment
Exercise, while acknowledging in our particular case the RAE panel
has tried to operate the system as sensitively as possible over
3. STAFF MORALE
HUDG is constantly made aware of the accumulative
impact of the decline in the unit of resource and the escalating
range of demands in teaching, research and administration faced
by its members. This produces a continual problem of staff morale.
It is clear to us that those teaching the subject in Further Education
Colleges find themselves in an almost impossible situation.
Whilst recognising the need for accountability
HUDG remains concerned about the increasing bureaucratic burdens
of quality assurance. This places further pressure on already
limited resources and contributes to the decline in staff morale.
HUDG members find it hard to accept that the suggested "lightness
of touch" will be a reality.
We are increasingly aware of the divergence
between academic history and the increasing public interest in
the subject. Our members recognise our commitment to the wider
community but are constrained by the demands of quality assurance
and the RAE in a climate of increasing financial pressures.
Dr George Bernard (University
Professor Eric Evans (University of Lancaster)
Professor Anthony Fletcher (University of Historical Research,
Dr Jane Longmore (University of Greenwich)