Academics do politics differently

I used to be actively involved in my trade union, the Association of University Teachers (AUT), now merged with its traditional rival, NATFHE, to form University and College Union, (UCU).  For various reasons – most pressing a lack of time – I’m no longer very active, but I do keep up with what’s going on.

I received an email from a colleague urging me to vote a particular way in a particular upcoming election.  (In a doomed attempt to keep this blog focused, I won’t go in to the details – but happy to discuss them, in brief or at length, with anyone who wants to know.)  I laughed out loud when I read this bit at the end:

Whatever you do please read the election material and the statements issued by both candidates..When you have done so I hope you will come to the same conclusion as me and vote for [my preference]

Fantastic campaigning there – real “rectify the anomaly” stuff.  (For those who don’t know, “Rectify the anomaly” was an infamous slogan of the AUT’s from a 1970s campaign for better pay.)  Polite, reasonable but leaves you clear enough what they’re trying to tell you.

It is actually pretty smart campaigning – academics and related staff generally don’t take kindly being told what to think in the way of traditional politics.  Which is part of the challenge of working effectively in higher education.


Author: dougclow

Academic in the Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University, UK. Interested in technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics.