Letter: Who's in charge around here? 3

November 16, 2001

So universities should be run by "shared governance". The trouble is we have a generation of governors and managers who think they run universities but do not, and academics who think they do not run universities but do. We must reset the balance in favour of the academics, particularly in non-chartered universities that do not recognise the concept of "membership" of an academic community.

Some years ago, I suggested replacing bicameral government with a unicameral governing body made up of ex-officio and elected members of the university, with a minority of non-university employees acting as lay advisers. Lay advisers would not participate in academic decision-making. They would offer wisdom and experience from the outside world, perform the essential function of internal audit, provide independent avenues for redress of grievances and act as a backstop for complaints.

Many universities have benefited from the participation of lay people; only where it has been allowed to dominate or has been ignored have things gone seriously wrong.

Dennis Farrington
Dunblane, Perthshire

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