Admin 'elementals' are a distinct breed 1

April 1, 2010

Your editorial was right to emphasise the huge amount of support that academics receive from departmental and university administrative teams ("Accidental, but also elemental", 25 March). All British academics benefit from the talents of professionals in registry, student support, course administration, information systems and timetabling.

However, I would like to make a distinction between these professionals and the growing cadre of administrators dedicated to auditing scholars' working practices and "outcomes", plus those managing whatever is deemed to be finance and "corporate affairs".

It is not always legislation that has led to growth in these "services": it is also the result of academics' misguided complicity with the audit process, as they strive to win the slender prizes offered for success.

As universities prepare for their next (r)evolution, we should recognise this economic drain and refocus our resources on the key purposes of teaching and research.

Liz Morrish, Nottingham Trent University.

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