The Facts

Dr Alison Duncan Kerr

Current contract situation

  • Employed at the University of St Andrews since 1 September 2016, and continuously employed since 1 September 2017.
  • In 2018, secured a 3-year Research Fellowship in order to establish the St Andrews Institute of Gender Studies (StAIGS) and launch the new Gender Studies MLitt.
  • The tuition fees from the MLitt’s first cohort alone is larger than the sum of the salary for the entire 3-years of her Research Fellowship. Next year the cohort is expected to double.
  • Current contract ends on 31 June 2021—the university has informed Dr Kerr that they “do not intend to transfer [her] to a standard contract” and are proposing redundancy.
  • This is in spite of the fact that University policy states that ‘the fixed-term employee should…have an expectation that after 3 years’ service, they will normally be provided with confirmation that their post is to be made standard unless clear objective justification applies.’ (Policy on the use of fixed term and standard contracts)

Dr Kerr’s contribution to St Andrews

St Andrews Institute for Gender Studies (StAIGS)
  • Established StAIGS in 2018 with a 10-year plan of activities.
  • StAIGS is currently the largest interdisciplinary research institute at the University with more than 130 academics and more than 50 graduate students from 19 different Schools.
  • In the last three years, organised (or assisted with) more than 20 talks, 8 workshops or roundtables, as well as monthly reading group sessions, an external speaker series, and a film series.
  • Established links with the gender studies programmes at Aberdeen, Glasgow, Stirling, and Strathclyde, with a view to establishing a Scottish Gender Studies Network.
  • Responsible for all administration of the Institute – budgeting, planning and organising events, publicity, impact, and public engagement etc.
  • This year launched the very successful Gender Studies MLitt, with the first cohort double the anticipated enrolment despite the pandemic.
  • Even though contract has no teaching duties, designed, developed, and planned the entire MLitt curriculum; teaches and coordinates the required modules for the MLitt programme and is responsible for all the marking, assessments, and advising.
  • Started developing a PhD programme and an undergraduate certificate in gender studies.
  • StAIGS has been frequently praised by Principal’s Office for its interdisciplinarity and contributions to University strategy, especially regarding gender equality.
School and Department Work
  • Introduced new honours modules on gender and on the philosophy of love and sex. Both modules had strong evaluations and very high enrolment.
  • Currently supervises 3 PhD students (expected completion dates 2022, 2023, 2024).
  • Regularly supervises and marks MLitt and honours dissertations.
  • Sub-honours advisor for 4 years.
  • Member of the Athena Swan team that successfully obtained a Bronze award.
  • Serves on the board of editors for the Philosophy Department’s journal, The Philosophical Quarterly.
  • Faculty advisor for MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) — the local undergraduate chapter of a global movement to improve diversity and equality within philosophy.
  • Much of this work is above her current grade, and beyond the remit of her contract. In many cases, she is the only non-permanent staff member performing these roles.
  • Contributed to this REF round for the Philosophy Department, and has many outputs to contribute to the next round.
Since 2019, has:
  • 5 papers published
  • 2 invited chapters in separate books forthcoming
  • 1 paper currently given a revise & resubmit status
  • 1 book manuscript under review
  • 5 papers under review at various peer-edited journals
  • Multiple other solo authored papers in preparation
  • Multiple other joint papers in preparation with 3 separate co-authors
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