Steve Keen’s an excitable chap and not averse to a bit of a public stoush. Late last year while management was reading the last rites to the Bachelor of Economics, Dr Doom, as he’s known to the media, told his students that none of them would fail his unit.  His rationale was that the university had decided to close the degree down while not announcing completion arrangements for ‘continuing’ students.

This announcement could easily have been quietly corrected, had UWS management adopted a softly, softly approach. Instead they decided to make an example of the university’s best-known academic, the man who predicted the Global Financial Crisis, who recently briefed members of US Congress on the fiscal cliff and is a regular on Australian and international news and current affairs television.  In a lather of righteous indignation they declared that UWS takes soft marking very seriously and charged Keen with serious misconduct, reporting him to the tertiary standards authority and to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (no less)! Keen, who had offered to take a voluntary redundancy, has responded with an action in Fair Work Australia.

Of course the whole thing has blown out in the media, feature on the back page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald and in this report in yesterday’s Telegraph:

So, while Keen’s actions were probably a bit silly and ill advised, is UWS management really in a position to pontificate sanctimoniously on soft marking? Are they confident that students are always rigorously assessed or does the need to please the customers sometimes work against this? Are we completely confident that our graduates are worthy of the letters after their names?

Any thoughts? Watch this space.