Wednesday, September 23, 2009

REF and Classics

HEFCE has just published a consultation document on the new REF (son-of-RAE). You can find it here; comments from HEIs must be in by 16 December. Most important for my interests is that the general aim to trim the number of assessment panels has led to the proposal to merge Classics and Ancient History into 'History, Classics and Archaeology'. The consultation document, p. 47, highlights this proposal:
d. History, Classics and Archaeology – we regard Classics and Archaeology as too small in terms of volume to merit discrete UOAs within the new structure. However, although they would appear to be reasonably cognate with History, this grouping might risk becoming too diverse. Alternative options include separating this into two units (History; and Archaeology and Classics) or combining Classics and/or Archaeology with other UOAs.

Hmmm. Well, I can't easily think of any other UOA ('Unit of assessment') Classics might fit into. But History? And is Classics etc. too small? The same document shows (p.49) that 415 FTEs ('Full-time equivalents') were submitted in Classics, Ancient History, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies in the 2008 RAE while still proposing a UOA for the REF, 'Area Studies' (inc. e.g. Middle Eastern and African Studies, Asian Studies) with a total of only 571 FTEs based on the 2008 numbers. In lots of ways, Classics is as much an 'Area Study' as it is a historical discipline. But I see the problem: a case might well be made for including what I do in the Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies UOA. On the other hand, I think this is a proposal we would do well to avoid.

1 comment:

Peter Smith said...

Thanks for the pointer to the document. Ye gods. I'm glad I'm not going to have to live with this! For a mini-rant, see http://bit.ly/1FfTNP