Speakers from several East Midlands universities will discuss the claim that ‘Groupthink’ is rife in universities at our second Battle of Ideas Satelleite event. Speakers include Dr Vanessa Pupavac (Nottingham); Dr Glynne Williams (Leicester); Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler (Derby) Dr Nikos Sotirakopoulos (Loughborough) and others academics from East Midlands universities. Come along and share your thoughts but places are strictly limited – so book early!
“A recent report by the Adam Smith Institute claims that a ‘groupthink’ mentality is rife within academia. According to the report, 75 per cent of British academics are left-liberals.
There are concerns that excessive ideological homogeneity creates the risk of bias in scholarship, with certain research areas deemed politically unpalatable and consequently ignored or even demonised. Studies from the US reveal that conservative academics are discriminated against in grant reviews and in hiring decisions, and more than 80 per cent of conservative academics feel there is a hostile climate towards their beliefs at work. In many disciplines, certain approaches are informally excluded when it comes to the appointment of staff. For example, anyone committed to knowledge-based education would stand little chance of getting a job in a university teacher-education department. Is this ‘groupthink’ or is it a reasoned rejection of out-dated approaches and the promotion of new and better ones?
Critics suggest the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) force universities to conform to government demands in terms of seeking ‘impact’ for their research in society and in the classroom. Does this institutional framework reinforce groupthink, or does it ensure academic work is grounded in something objective and meets society’s needs rather than indulging academic whims? Some see accusations of groupthink as little more than the unjustified complaints of old-fashioned, conservative academics who feel squeezed out from modern HE. But is there a real danger that academic homogeneity is leading to a decline in critical thinking and transforming universities into closed-minded echo chambers?”
Date, Time and Venue: 7 PM on Thursday 9 November 2017 in the Brunswick Inn, Derby
Tickets £5/£3 (unwaged) on Eventbrite
- Groupthink in Academia: Majoritarian Departmental Politics and the Professional Pyramid, Daniel B. Klein And Charlotta Stern, The Independent Review, Spring 2009 Issue
- The Rise of the New Groupthink, Susan Cain, New York Times, 13 January 2012
- Is Groupthink Ruining Peer Review?, Mishaga Jewski, Peer Review Watch, 20 February 2014
- Political groupthink is bad for our universities, John Kay, Financial Times, 2 February 2016
- The BBC needs to be rescued from its own groupthink, Rod Liddle, The Spectator, 14 May 2016
- Jeremy Corbyn and the Rise of Groupthink, John Springford, Huffington Post, 25 September 2016
- Lackademia: Why Do Academics Lean Left?, Ben Southwood and Noah Carl, Adam Smith Institute, 2 March 2017
- Eight in ten British university lecturers are ‘Left-wing’, survey finds, Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, 2 March 2017
- Why Universities Really Should Be Dominated By Left-Wingers, Tom Whyman, VICE, 3 March 2017
- Why British academics are guilty of groupthink, Paul Taylor, The Conversation, 8 March 2017
- Yes, academics tend to be left wing – but let’s not exaggerate it, Gavin Bailey & Chris O’Leary, The Conversation, 30 March 2017