Novel entitlements

March 24, 2016

I can sympathise with David Wilson and his anger with “manager-professors” (“Ersatz professors should be booed off the stage”, Opinion, 17 March).

My concerns were epitomised in one university where I worked – my first as a professor. The governing body, driven by whom or what I do not know, bypassed the professorial promotions committee and gave all members of the senior management team professorial titles. The newly designated then decided that they had to give inaugural lectures, which they did: on resource allocation in higher education, on strategic management in higher education and so on. Since I headed a research and development unit on higher education management, I could have done with them on my staff.

They believed, honourably, that professors should have a record of publications (although usually that comes first). So they wrote up their lectures. They did not submit them to refereed journals; instead, the university launched a new journal, where the manager-professors featured in the first issue. No second issue ever appeared, as far as I am aware.

Ian McNay
Professor emeritus, higher education and management
University of Greenwich


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