Sunday, January 22, 2012


At the beginning of term, there are all sorts of annoying things to do.  In Cambridge, often we have to do similar things twice because each thing has to be done for the Faculty and also for the College.  So the beginning of term is also a time when you begin to get grumpy with each other because if you look across at the person down the table from you at lunch, it often seems as if they are doing less than you.  Grrr.  Add in the fact that some colleagues have acquired the talent for playing off the college against the university and vice versa ('Dear college person, I'm sorry I cannot do the small job you've asked me to do because of me heavy commitments to research projects in the Faculty/Departmnent.  See you for dinner on Wednesday, love,...'; 'Dear Faculty person, I'm sorry I cannot do this small thing in the Faculty because I have lots of things to do in college at the moment.  blah blah blah'.) and things can get very annoying.

But I think I have discovered the problem.  It's wikipedia.  The relevant bit of the page reads as follows:

Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin

  • At Cambridge, teaching officers (lecturers, readers, and professors) are entitled to a college fellowship. For lecturers and readers, the process is competitive – generally the most able academics get fellowships at the richest and most prestigious colleges[citation needed]. Professors are allocated to colleges by a centralised process to ensure fairness. These fellows may or may not provide small-group teaching to undergraduates in the college, for which they would be paid by the hour. College fellows at Cambridge (except for research fellows) have no duties as such and are not paid. They will typically have a salaried post either with their college or the university.
'Citation needed' indeed.  Hear that, fellows of poorer colleges?  It's because you lost.  But the bit the bothers me is the '...have no duties as such...'  Nonsense.  But worse: dangerous nonsense.  People might believe it.  Worse: some Fellows might believe it.

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