I arranged my office furniture so colleagues could not stop to talk | Jonathan Wolff

Once academic work was collaborative and enjoyable now for many its a series of lonely billable hours Folkore has it that the reason why the academic year is punctuated with a long summer break is to allow students to return home to help with the harvest. I suppose there must be a few students who still do this, but, frankly, it would seem to be something of a minority pursuit. These days the main purpose of the break is to allow universities to maximise their commercial revenue through summer rentals, and to provide purveyors of stationery a second annual opportunity to market their wares, and especially new diaries. Those academic year diaries have missed a trick, though, by not having …

Excellence is overrated. Lets embrace being good enough instead | Andr Spicer

Schools, bodies, workplaces, relationships this quest to be outstanding can be damaging, says academic Andr Spicer We live in a society obsessed with being exceptional. Whether it is as workers, parents, students, lovers or cooks, we are expected to be outstanding. We must strive to be the best employee, craft an outstanding body, have an amazing relationship, all while being exceptionally happy. Even the most ordinary institutions also are expected to be nothing less than excellent. Companies want to be world class, schools have become academies of excellence, and humble local GP surgeries strive to be outstanding. Being good enough is seen as simply not good enough. Our quest to be excellent has many positive consequences, but it also can …