29 April 2010
I believe your decision to close the Department of Philosophy at your University to be amongst the most ill-conceived gestures to have been undertaken by an institute of higher education in the UK since the straitened times of the 1980s.
I have collaborated in the past with friends and colleagues in Philosophy at Middlesex. I speak therefore as someone with both an insider’s knowledge of the Department, and as a respected member of the academic community.
Philosophy at Middlesex is a beacon of achievement, a remarkable testament to what can be achieved through the commitment of staff and management. It punches way above its weight in the international discipline of philosophy. It has a justly famous reputation both for the quality of its research and for its teaching. In REF terms, it has both quality of output, and significant impact, far beyond the reach of most philosophy departments in the UK.
More than this, however, for many people, Philosophy is the face of Middlesex University, the first, and best, thing that academics think about, when they think about Middlesex.
The damage you will do to the reputation and standing of your institution will be both severe, and possibly irreparable, if you choose to go through with this evidently poorly thought through action.
I trust that you will take the opportunity of the significant opposition to this move being expressed throughout the academic establishment, and well beyond that establishment as well, to reconsider this proposal.
Dr Robin Durie
Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Exeter
Senior Research Fellow, Peninsula Medical School