Laurie Taylor

November 9, 2001

" Academics should be brought back to the heart of university management because executive rule is failing " - THES report on speech by Michael Shattock to Universities UK Conference

Another coffee, old chap?

That's very decent of you, but I'm a little pushed for time.

Late for a lecture?

No, I'm off to the administration block.

The administration block?

That large building with the high walls at the far end of the campus where the vice-chancellor and the management teams are located.

Oh yes, I've glimpsed it from the bus. What on earth are you going over there for? I thought it was out of bounds.

It's a bit of a mystery really. But apparently there's a top-level meeting there today to decide whether or not the philosophy department should be axed because of the exigencies of market forces and they've decided to ask a couple of academics over to join the discussion.

Join the discussion? How d'you mean?

I think we're going to be asked to give our views on the proposal.

But that's management's job. That's what they've been specially trained for. That's why the vice-chancellor is now our chief executive. That's why they're all paid so much. You're not seriously telling me that head-in-the-clouds academics know anything about the realities of management?

I suppose not. But, someone was telling me that there was once a time, years and years ago, when academics actually used to sit on committees in the admin block and make decisions about how the university should be run.

So where were all the managers?

Apparently, they didn't have any.

Now I know you're kidding.

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