He really doesn’t like the QAA

Entertaining Guardian interview with Thomas Docherty

It includes some quotations from his forthcoming book which offer a choice perspective on the QAA:

Is the Quality Assurance Agency (a) a safeguard designed to maintain and improve academic standards or (b) the “worst thing to happen to higher education in recent times – and perhaps ever”?

Docherty is not afraid of courting controversy. “The QAA, for those of us who have suffered under its tawdry posturing, is a cancer that gnaws at the core of knowledge, value and freedom in education; its carcinogenic growth is now perhaps the greatest pervasive danger to the function of a university as a surviving institution,” he writes. “It has presided over the valorisation and celebration of mediocrity, paradoxically at the very moment when it is allegedly assuring the public of the quality of education and universities …”

Looking forward to reading more. The book is:

The English Question: Or Academic Freedoms

The synopsis on Amazon:

To be or not to be free, that is the question, the English question, the question of what is academic English at the beginning of the 21st century. So argues Thomas Docherty in this new and important new study, a study that begins with the claim that the fundamental idea governing the institution of the University is a will to freedom. Tracing a history of the modern European University from Vico onwards and including Hume, Rousseau, Schiller, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Newman, Alain, Benda and Jaspers, the author argues the academy’s will to freedom is grounded in study of the ‘eloquence’ that has shaped literate and humane values. He goes on to explore the current condition of English as a literary discipline, arguing that literary studies is (or should be) a search for the unknown; and that in only that search can the academy establish the real meaning – or meanings – of social, political and ethical freedom.

So it really does go much further than just a critique of the QAA.

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