Reporter 411, 1 December 1997


Career competition

Paul Bollom
School of Psychology

With regard to Stephen Clark’s comments (Reporter 410) about the course that has been offered to research staff by the SDDU it seems that he has missed the point, although SDDU also seems to have done the same.

Training in CV writing and job application, a substantial part of the SDDU course, is a valuable skill for people who are de facto searching for a new post every couple of years. Indeed the SDDU went further than that in providing opportunities for analysing personal skills in relation to posts outside the contract research environment.

As a first course aimed at researchers it was a safe target. Indeed the formidable competition for some research posts has already engendered this group with at least adequate skills in this area. This is an understandable approach however since the individual specialisms and scattered, often isolated, distribution of this group means that they are as a whole silent on their needs.

As financial stability and location were common ground between most of the researchers attending it is to be remembered that researchers may often be applying for posts within the existing organisation. It makes sense that they are best trained in applying for those posts so that Leeds is able to retain those which perform well. The (sad) truth is there is no long-term career in university research at the moment, only short ones with competition in between. Transport Studies’ enlightened view of active promotion of careers of researchers within the context of the research teams they operate may explain the surprise in Mr Clark’s letter.

The training day identified other concerns to researchers such as transfer to academic positions and self-development of research bids. It seems that far from just being the donkeys of academic research there is instead a desire to generate and express ideas as well as follow them. Investing in researchers using existing and new courses will produce a more empowered research group able to fund generate and contribute over extended periods to Leeds. This must be the next aim for the University and the SDDU.

Carry your card

Avrila Davidson
The Language Centre

The University has set up a system of ID cards for staff members. Unfortunately not many members of staff actually wear them. I always wear my card whilst at work as a matter of principle and have actually found it to be very useful. This was proved to maximum effect last Saturday when I collected my keys, which I had left in my office, from Security. I merely showed my ID card and the keys were produced. Although I am known in the Security Office, without my card it might not have been that easy.

I certainly like the new style Reporter and consider reading it to be a beneficial part of University life.

Take note

Mr Michael Passey
Retired lecturer

Vicky Statler’s plea to members of the University to quote their address in full may fall on deaf ears. Most human beings ignore pleas for co-operation. A more effective method for reducing the numbers of incompletely addressed incoming letters would be to print the names of departments in the top right hand corner of the University notepaper above the words ‘University of Leeds’. This layout used to be standard on the black and white notepaper which was in use until ten years ago.

Dear anon – Thank you for the letter. We can only publish it if a name is supplied, which can be withheld if necessary – Editor

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