Please take a moment to read this petition to save Middlesex’s philosophy department. You can sign it online at the GoPetition site.
The abrupt closure of the Philosophy programmes at Middlesex University is a matter of national and indeed international concern. Not only does it flatly contradict the stated commitment of Middlesex University to promote ‘research excellence’, it represents a startling stage in the ongoing impoverishment of Philosophy provision in the UK.
The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex makes a significant and distinctive contribution to the teaching of philosophy in the UK. Its set of MA programmes is currently the largest in the UK, and Philosophy is the most prestigious and highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University.
The CRMEP is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world. Building on its grade of 5 in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, in the 2008 RAE Middlesex was rated first in philosophy among post-1992 universities, with 65% of its research activity judged “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”.
More importantly, work carried out at the CRMEP is characterised by a unique emphasis on broad cultural, artistic and intellectual contexts, and a marked sense of social and political engagement.
Middlesex Philosophy is one of only a handful of programmes left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist. It also happens to generate a substantial amount of revenue for the University, currently contributing close to half of its total income to the University’s central administration.
Middlesex University has decided to close its CRMEP in the complete absence of any persuasive academic or economic rationale. We call on Middlesex University to reverse this damaging and ill-judged decision to close its Philosophy programmes, and to renew its commitment to widening participation in education and to excellence in research.
The editorial team at parallax are shocked and saddened by the short-sighted and unjustifiable decision by the management of Middlesex University to close the internationally respected philosophy department.
parallax is proud to include in its editorial advisory team members of Middlesex’s philosophy department, and the journal has published the work of numerous graduates from the dept. Given the contribution the school has made to academic debate around the world, and the regard in which the philosophy department is held (with the most recent RAE rating as evidence of this), the university’s management really must reconsider this shameful and embarrassing decision.
The editorial team
University of Leeds
Centre for Cultural Studies
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
Old Mining Building
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 5277
Fax: +44 (0) 113 343 7226
I should like to add my name to question the decision to close the Philosophy Department at Middlesex University.
At a time when it is important for more people to be armed with increasing knowledge to help orientate in a seemingly rudderless world this cut-back proposal is a destruction of esential intellectual seed corn. I am completing my MA in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent (mature student, part time) and have found that my chosen discipline would be meaninglless without the study of philosophy. Coming alongside a general slide in education into the provision of less intellectual depth alongside the provision of craft-like trades under the guise of further education a halt must be called to this vandalism. I hope you will follow the examples of other colleges that have re-thought the institution of such denial of knowledge.
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Philosophy is the queen of sciences, and underpins, in important ways, all others. To ignore this in favour of market economics would be short-sighted, destructive and a travesty of a high order aim of university education.
This is stunning news. I am an assistant professor at an American public university that has seen tremendous cutbacks. We’ve taken long-term paycuts (disguised as “furloughs”), but this seems to set a new low in the struggle against ignorance about the absolute value of the liberal arts. It is all the more distressing when that ignorance comes from within the university itself.