Don't lose your head

September 14, 2007

As a recently appointed head of department, I found the story reporting that heads are taking on the role to get more time for their research rather disturbing ("Headed for frustration", August 31).

How could anyone think they would get more time for research by taking a headship? Whatever happened to the idea that the role of a manager is to promote scholarship for all in a department? It would be a sad day indeed if collegiality has become a forgotten concept.

Those suited to managing research teams may not be best suited to managing departments. Sub-disciplines compete for limited time and resources, and heads already focused in one area may favour their own research. Perhaps the practice of recruiting research leaders to headships needs to be re-examined?

Andrew Tuson
Head of the department of computing
City University London

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