I read with interest the letter in subtext 190 from ‘Name Supplied’ on the vexed issue of Vacancy Management. I heartily endorse all their sentiments relating to the way that Vacancy Management works in practice, and the lamentable way that the concept of ‘career development’ for Professional Services staff has been sidelined in the wake of the PS Review – even though it recommended the opposite and the Athena SWAN process specifically asks institutions what they are doing to enhance the career development prospects of their PS staff. LU’s long-term failure to grasp the nettle on this issue may not be unconnected to the all-too predictable failure of the institution’s submission for a Silver Athena SWAN award in November 2018 – luckily (!) the Bronze institutional award which we are about to apply for conveniently fails to include PS staff in its purview. This situation does not bode well for the meaningful improvement of Gender Equality in this institution, something that is badly needed as our woeful Gender Pay Gap attests.
However, the specific point I wanted to address was Name Supplied’s comment on the belated claim that of course Vacancy Management would be affecting academics too, and that this would be handled in the departments rather than centrally. What does this mean in practice? In my experience it means that when a much-valued academic colleague takes early retirement on medical grounds, their role is left unfilled for virtually two years. Their work is picked up by a variety of colleagues, several of whom are not on academic contracts. From my own perspective, I am about to cover for this colleague’s absence for the second year in succession on a distance-learning course… and here I am on a PS contract. Presumably if I was to go off on sick leave at the crucial moment my role would not be backfilled, leaving the students without a tutor… or perhaps another academic colleague would be leant on to pick up the slack. Either way it is a most regrettable situation whereby the standards that our students are led to expect can only be delivered thanks to the goodwill of colleagues… over a matter of weeks, months and even years.
Keep up the good work, one and all.
I’m one of the continuing members who has just lost their email account. The day after it finished I checked it and was greeted by this message:
You have repeatedly attempted to log in with a username or password that is invalid. Your account is currently locked out and cannot be used.
The ‘repeatedly’, apart from being nonsense, makes what is already a charmless message sound positively threatening. I wasn’t expecting thanks for all the years of hard work, but did this have to be so harsh and unpleasant?