News story here. This was alluded to in earlier items, and in the comments on earlier threads, but it deserves special notice, since it means the KCL bloodbath may be far from over. Administrators who think that "Digital and Visual Cultures" are academic growth areas are going to decide whether every scholar in the humanities is worthy of his or her role--including, I take it, faculty who have devoted careers to KCL. Will KCL go the way of the "Trade School at Sussex" (formerly known as a "University"), and decide that no more early modern history is needed? Will internationally distinguished scholars like Mary Margaret McCabe and David Papineau really have to apply for their own jobs? (KCL Philosophy is a remarkably consistent unit in terms of strength, so it is an insult that any member of staff should have to re-apply for his or her job. Indeed, we can go much further: it is an insult and an outrage that any professional hired with an expectation of permanent employment absent gross dereliction of duties should have to re-apply for his or her job.)
Besides the ugliness and cruelty of this whole business, it is clear the KCL administrators didn't consult any economists, for they might have learned that this whole maneuver will end up costing KCL much more money over the longterm. Here's why: if academics are not going to receive compensation in the form of job security, they are going to have receive it in the form of money. This effect won't be immediate, and, of course, KCL can dodge the consequence altogether if it decides that it doesn't want to compete at all in the major academic disciplines, or it decides it doesn't care who it appoints. But if KCL imagines it can remain part of the Russell Group, and get RAE results more to its liking, then it will have to appoint serious academics, and no serious academic will go near King's without either guarantees of job security (which won't be credible after this fiasco) or much higher compensation.
So the KCL cost-cutting strategy will actually have a predictable effect: either it will result in KCL dropping off the map of serious research institutions in the Western world or it will require KCL to pay much higher salaries than it pays currently in order to retain reputable staff.
Perhaps someone can explain this to someone with decision-making authority at this clearly dysfunctional institution.
And will this insanely destructive behavior spread to other schools in the U.K.?