University Puts Nobel Prize Winner on Performance Improvement Plan, Threatens Him with Termination

Alexander Clearwater, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Stultus University, based in Hemel Hempstead, England, is reported to have been placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP) by the Dean of Economics.

Professor Clearwater holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Cambridge University and has taught Economic Sciences at Stultus University since he joined as a Lecturer in 2006. He was appointed Chair in Behavioral Economics in 2016.

Professor Clearwater is best known for his research on bounded rationality, particularly in relation to individual health decision-making. He recently won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics for his book, The Health of Nations: A new paradigm, widely considered to be the most ground-breaking study in economic sciences since Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

Clearwater’s book reportedly took seven years to research and write. During this timeframe, he secured no research grants and published no peer reviewed publications.

“Frankly, I was shocked,” explained Professor Clearwater. “After I got back from Sweden where I collected my Nobel Prize, I was called into a meeting with the Dean. The Human Resources Business Partner was there, too. They told me that my research track record over the last seven years was not commensurate with the expectations of a Full Professor and said that I was to be placed immediately on a performance improvement plan.”

Professor Dunhallow, Dean of the School of Economics at Stultus, defended the decision. “Look, we define research productivity in relation to the criteria set out in the UK government’s Research Excellence Framework. From this point of view, Professor Clearwater has been an abject failure. Most of the early career researchers in his department have made much more impressive research contributions than he has over the last several years. I couldn’t give him a “meets expectations” at his end-of-year review with a clear conscience.”

“Granted,” continued Professor Dunhallow, “he did win that Nobel Prize this year, but that makes no difference one way or another for the School’s REF submission.”

The terms of the performance improvement plan are confidential, but an exclusive leak of the document reveals that Professor Clearwater has been given three years to secure 100,000GBP in grant money and two “A” rated publications.

If he fails to achieve these either of these KPIs, Professor Clearwater has been told that his employment will be terminated on the basis of “capability.”

In addition to being place on a performance improvement plan, Professor Clearwater has also been told he is being moved into a shared office.

Professor Andrew R. Timming

This article is published under a Creative Commons 4.0 License.

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3 thoughts on “University Puts Nobel Prize Winner on Performance Improvement Plan, Threatens Him with Termination

  1. Extremely disappointing and worrisome!

    Evidently, the Noble Prize is less important than 2 A-rated publications and research grants for many universities out there. Academia globally is rapidly cruising towards the Ugly Business Models in which profits and KPIs are prioritized over everything else. It is nothing less than a disaster when universities want nothing but funds through professors. Shame!


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