Axing Successful Programs: The Case of Middlesex

Across the world there are administrators making piss poor decisions in response to budget crises. Add another one to the list.

Via Infinite Thought:

University News – Philosophy at Middlesex

Wednesday 28 April


Late on Monday 26 April 2010, the Dean of the School of Arts and Education at Middlesex University, announced the closure of all its Philosophy programmes, including the largest MA programme in Philosophy in the UK. Philosophy is the highest research-ranked subject in the University, and Middlesex is the highest rated of all the post-92 institutions in the subject.

Restriction of student opportunities and choice

Philosophy at Middlesex is one of only a handful of programmes left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching and supervision aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist. It is the main centre in the UK for the study of European or ‘continental’ philosophy.


The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy is the main centre for ‘continental’ philosophy in the UK, with an established international reputation, frequent visiting speakers from abroad and increasing numbers of postgraduate students. There are currently 63 postgraduate students in the Centre: 48 MA students and 15 PhD students. 5 PhDs were awarded in 2009. These are remarkable numbers, especially for a small group of six staff.

The Middlesex Philosophy submission to RAE2001 was graded 5, and the 2008 submission was awarded a GPA of 2.80, ranking it joint 13th out of 41 institutions entered in Philosophy – above both its main competitors, Warwick and Sussex. It has hosted 2 Leverhulme Fellowships in the last 6 years, and recently completed a £245,000 AHRC-funded research project, ‘Concept and Form: The Cahiers pour l’analyse and Contemporary French Thought’ (which included production of a major web research resource). It recently submitted an application for a 2-year AHRC Project Grant on Transdisciplinarity, and held an international event on Transdisciplinarity in French Thought at the French Institute).

Email the Dean and tell him how disgusted you are:


8 thoughts on “Axing Successful Programs: The Case of Middlesex

      • One of the weirdest things about reading Faye’s book on Heidegger is that he was the guy who introduced this kind of administrative structure to German universities, under the aegis of the “Fuhrerprinciple” for education.

        Prior to that, administrators were hired and fired by the faculty senate. Heidegger changed the policy so that they were appointed by the state and so that they had vastly more power vis a vis their colleagues.

        Faye rightly presents Heidegger as morally and epistemically disgusting in this and other regards. But he never notes that the system Heidegger helped put in is exactly the administrative system of most American and British universities.

        One of the really repulsive things about what’s happening in Britain is that the mediocrities in charge are the apotheosis of Labor’s fetishization of the kind of experts-without-expertize “management myth” that has taken over capitalist societies and is ultimately just a power grab by a certain kind of apparatchik. It just takes resources and power away from anyone who actually knows what they are talking about (it doesn’t quite work in the real world, which is why there are still more liberal arts major CEOs of companies than business major CEOS, and vastly more natural science and engineering major CEOs). But similar dynamics are at work in American higher education.

  1. CCCS at Birmingham was also closed in 2002 despite being world renowned centre for cultural studies and top in “money-making”. The motives for what is happening at Middlesex, as at CCCS and elsewhere, is ideological and political, not financial. Universities are to be sites for training now, not critical thought. A prediction: any “hotbeds” of critical or even radical thought, any sites from which the current dominant ideology and culture can be criticsed, and any sites in which alternative futures can be imagined within the university which have persisted, will be weeded out one by one.

  2. Today’s last prime-ministerial debate – someone should get this story to LibDems – could be a nice way of criticizing the “old way” (I doubt Toris will be better than Labour in terms of these managerial mediocrities ruling the day).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s