Fear of failure? (2 of 2)

February 16, 2012

Your report "Scotland's university chiefs cool on governance review" is as disappointing as it is incomplete. It is, however, surprising - in the light of the furore over executive pay and bonuses - that some principals are so openly rejecting the notion of establishing transparent and fair pay frameworks for senior management, particularly given that this is the way the rest of their colleagues are remunerated.

It is disappointing that your report focuses on the objections of the minority rather than noting the considerable consensus achieved by the Scottish Higher Education Governance Review panel, which had representation from each of the key university stakeholders: principals, staff trade unions, students, chairs of courts and rectors.

The University and College Union has warmly welcomed the von Prondzynski report as going some way towards addressing the "democratic deficit" created by the emergence of managerial systems that see the principal act like a CEO rather than a scholarly colleague.

The report recommends protecting academic freedom and institutional autonomy, the appointment of two nominees of both students and staff unions to institution governing bodies and committees, greater transparency in appointments and remuneration of senior management, as well as establishing an evidence base on higher education in Scotland to inform further reform.

The Scottish education secretary set up the review in response to a number of instances in Scottish universities that questioned the effectiveness of institutional governance. The UCU is calling for the full implementation of the recommendations, which will go some way towards strengthening and revitalising governance in our universities in Scotland.

Sally Hunt, General secretary, University and College Union

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