Steven Schwartz's article on outdated university governance illustrates knee-jerk managerialist thinking. Management models imported wholesale from business are ill-adapted to a university context, where conditions of service and career incentives are distinctive. He ignores the need to build a broad consensus and confidence among the collective of academic staff on whom the university's performance depends.
University College London had a long and successful tradition of elected executive deans until a decade ago, when their key executive functions were transferred upwards. This proved so ineffective that the decision has just been taken to return to a system of executive deans.
Crucially, however, they will not be elected, thus destroying the legitimacy on which their relations with academic staff depend.
Department of anthropology
University College London