Saturday 11 September 2021

On Feeling Like Ronaldo


Ancient allegations that for selfish reasons I move between jobs too often have recently resurfaced. This blog is designed to put the record straight.

I left my first permanent job at the University of Reading (1990-1995) after being turned down for promotion. I gather I was a victim of a pre-existing feud between two senior males, my Head of Department and a Professor of English who claimed that I was incapable of an international reputation. I would still be there if I had been promoted.

I left my permanent job at Oxford in 2001 because I could not get the Classics Faculty (then Lit. Hum.) to understand that with two children under two I could not sustain the workload they proposed for me, especially since I had just got in for them a huge research grant  that urgently needed administering. Changes in legislation subsequently would have made my life as new working mother at Oxford possible, since my own college, Somerville, was fantastically supportive. I would still be at Oxford if the current maternity rights legislation had been passed, or if the Faculty could have evinced any sympathy whatsoever during the first two years of our children’s lives.

I left the job I absolutely loved at Durham in 2006 because sadly the university did not match the substantial pay rise and wonderful interdepartmental contract, centered on research and with complete exemption from administration, I competed for and won at Royal Holloway University of London. As breadwinner and full-time working parent this was inviting.

I left Royal Holloway University of London in 2012 because the new Principal had tried to shut the Classics Department and I was exhausted after a long (and successful) campaign to stop him. I did not find the macho new management 'culture' congenial. I don’t think it was too fond of me either. I sensed my future there was in jeopardy, otherwise I would still be at RHUL.

On December 31st 2021 I am leaving King’s College London, at which until less than a year ago I absolutely loved working, to return to my favourite ever job (Durham). The writer Colin Teevan once flatteringly said I was the Thierry Henry of Classics because I 'gunned it into goal from the Left'. But now I feel like (a far less talented) Ronaldo.

Ronaldo returns to his northern English spiritual home

I am extremely excited about my homecoming story and will soon have more to say about why Arts and Humanities at this northern university is so outstanding.

Thierry Henry 'guns it into goal from the Left'.

1 comment:

  1. so excited to be studying at Durham -- hope I'll enjoy learning as much as you enjoy teaching there