Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coming up for air

Phew. The examining is nearly over. We all take this bit of the job very seriously, of course, even though the marking can be grim.  Probably not as grim as taking the exams, but grim nonetheless.  There are some nice moments too and some very impressive performances, but we get everything done in an intense and short period of time - so as to leave the summer for research - so everything else gets dropped while the scripts get marked.  I shall console myself with a list of things I will do once we have seen the students off the premises.
  • I will watch lots and lots of the World Cup.  Even Serbia v. Ghana. 
  • I'm off to a conference in July in Hungary.  I've never been there before and it looks like it will be good.  Have to finish the paper first.
  • I will be able to get back to some thoughts stirring on some bits of Plato's Protagoras and Laws and trying to finish something on NE 10.4.
  • I want to read the new David Mitchell book properly.  I've started but haven't had the energy to dive in fully.
If I wanted, I could get very worried about the likelihood that Higher Education funding might be cut significantly and be partially replaced by higher tuition fees.  (You can read Willetts' speech given earlier today here.  He seems mostly to be interested in getting various places to do teaching for students then to be examined by external universities.  People will worry about an explicit and institutionalised  (return to a) two-tier tertiary sector, I reckon.)  I haven't got my head around precisely which bit of the oncoming storm is the most awful because I don't really want to think about it at all.  But it's coming alright.  What's worse is the likely dearth of jobs in the next few years so people, excellent people, finishing PhDs and trying to start a career, are going to find it even harder than ever.
Still, cheer up.  It's 'Universities week' next week.  (No, I didn't know either.)  There's a cheery website about it here

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