3 May 2010
Dear Michael Driscoll
I write to urge you to reconsider the recent decision to close all philosophy programmes at Middlesex. I have served your university as an external adviser for its Philosophy MA degrees and for a professorial appointment. I also serve as a reader and reviewer for AHRC, Leverhulme, the Newton Fund and many international research councils.
My close experience of the department is not only of uniformly high academic standards, but also very strong success in achieving grants and external support (for instance from AHRC and through the excellent RAE result). I can say with confidence that the potential for further external research funding and attraction of fee paying students is even greater than in the past, given the outstanding quality of staff research and academic programmes.
It is therefore a mistake to cut your flagship academic programme on academic grounds. But it is also a mistake in terms of future sources of funding and in terms of the wider social role of your university. I will be writing to my MP, Alistair Darling, and to Sir Alan Langlands at HEFCE to highlight the failure of your university to fulfill its wider mission as funded by government in relation to excellent research and its dissemination.
Professor James Williams
Department of Philosophy
University of Dundee