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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Q-Step and quantitative methods

Oxford has been named as one of the new Q-step Centres funded by the Nuffield foundation, ESRC and HEFCE that are to create a step change (upwards)  in quantitative skill levels amongst UK social science undergraduates. The lead department here will be the Department of Politics and International Relations, but one of the posts that will  be created from the funding will actually be in the Department of Sociology. It's a little disappointing that in the  information released about the  successful bidders there is no indication of the Department of Sociology's involvement in the Oxford bid. It shouldn't really matter, but in this era of loud self trumpet blowing, what's in the document tends to count as the reality, rather than what actually exists on the ground.

A footnote: One curiosity of many of the successful bids is how many feature MSc courses as part of their programme of innovation. The whole initiative was rather clearly promoted in terms of the enhancement of  the undergraduate curriculum. Examining the original documentation there were some weasel words about masters level provision that didn't entirely rule out funding for progression of a 3+1 sort, but this was clearly not meant to be a major feature of the initiative. Is this an early sign of mission creep?

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