Gradgrind College? 3

April 26, 2002

The briefest of examinations of the THES archive indicates that Middlesex University has suffered management failure for some years.

Reports of a significant funding deficit and the prospect of up to 200 more redundancies suggest that, contrary to past public assertions by the university's management, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the secretary of state for education, these matters have not been corrected.

The university's strategy for dealing with its crisis is to treat staff, along with electricity and paper, as a variable rather than a fixed cost and the first to be reduced. There is an alternative, one that is adopted at times of corporate failure in the business world: the entire senior management could be replaced and Hefce could help staff rebuild their institution.

Of course, the governance lacuna that exists in universities means that no one has the leverage to make this happen.

Rebecca Boden
Professor of accounting
University of the West of England

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