Deans lose posts in Birmingham City reshuffle

February 14, 2008

A change of academic leadership has been instigated at Birmingham City University.

The institution is reorganising from seven to six academic faculties, but only two of the original seven faculty deans have been given top jobs in the new academic divisions.

The university's corporate plan confirms that increasing student numbers is a key objective, and that this will require more overlap between disciplines, with greater expectations of deans.

The new model consists of the Business School; the Institute of Art and Design: a faculty of health; an education, law and social sciences faculty; one for performance, arts and media; and another for technology and innovation.

Deans of the current seven faculties were invited to apply for the six new posts of "executive dean". But only two, Roger Woods (education) and Ian Blair (health) were appointed. The four remaining posts will be advertised externally.

John Rouse, dean of law and humanities, has confirmed that he will retire. Upkar Pardesi, dean of the Business School, will become "corporate social responsibility director".

The university declined to discuss the future of the other three deans - Mick Durman, George Ciard, who was principal of the university's conservatoire, and Barry Henly. But in a memo to staff, David Tidmarsh, the vice-chancellor, said they would "be involved in further consultation around suitable alternative posts" and stressed that preserving employment was "the underlying principle".

A member of academic staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said that some believed the restructuring was "depressingly pointless" and had damaged morale.

"The lack of trust between the executive and staff of the university, who are expected to deliver impossible student number targets against a falling demographic and to instantly develop new income-generation schemes, is deeply unhelpful," he said.

A spokeswoman said: "The university has a new name, new vision and new outlook. We're confident that the changes will have long-term benefits for staff, students, our neighbours and the organisations that will eventually employ our graduates. It's a very exciting time."

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