Mr. Shimshon Shoshani, deputy chair
The Council for Higher Education
At Issue: the recommendation of the sub committee for quality assurance regarding the department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University.
The purpose of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) is to serve as a barrier between the government and the higher education institutions, and to safeguard the research and teaching quality in Israel through – amongst other means – international assessment committees. Having read the recommendations of the sub committee for quality assurance dated 4/9/2012 concerning the department of politics and government at Ben Gurion University, we concluded that the recommendations constitute a serious deviation from the purpose of the CHE.
The practical implication of this recommendation is the closing down of the department next year, which is an unprecedented action. Moreover, it ignores the process of change that was initiated in the department as a result of the international assessment committee’s report, and constitutes an attempt to impose the position of the sub-committee unilaterally on an academic department in a university. This recommendation was masqueraded as the encouragement of “methodological pluralism” and worse still, is based on groundless approaches to the question of what constitutes “scientific approaches” within political science.
The executive board of the Israeli political science association views the partisan intervention of the sub committee with grave concern, and considers it a serious blow to the academic freedom of political science departments. We call upon the council not to adopt this recommendation, but rather to approve the changes called upon by the international committee, and implemented by the department and the university.
We believe that issues concerning the content of the discipline need to be discussed by political scientists, and the superficial approach represented in the recommendations of the sub committee should be rejected.
The executive board, the Israeli Political Science Association