In the news: Michael Shattock

November 2, 2001

Academics must have greater say in the running of universities and colleges, according to Michael Shattock's damning verdict on university governance. It states that there is no evidence that corporate-style executive rule has improved the sector's performance, and it calls for a more inclusive management style.

Professor Shattock has a record of innovative management. As registrar of Warwick University, where he worked for 30 years, he presided over its development into one of Britain's most successful universities. Since admitting its first students in 1965, the university has grown to become one of the most entrepreneurial in the land.

Professor Shattock was renowned for combining his studies of management with his administrative role. This combination was reflected in the structure of the university's own management teams, which featured academics and administrators.

However, that combination is under threat in many institutions, according to Professor Shattock. He said: "As institutions get larger, and information technology solutions are embedded, professional careers become more specialised, professionals communicate with each other less and academics moving into management increasingly lack not only understanding of management skills, but also of the underlying strategic thrusts of academic disciplines outside their own area.

"Academic support staff are becoming more isolated from central policy-making just as their skills and know-how are in greater demand."

Professor Shattock's concern at the lack of good management in British universities led the Institute of Education, University of London, where he is a visiting professor, to launch a masters programme in higher education management.

His skills have been held in high regard for some time. In 1987 he was on the team established by the University Grants Committee that effectively closed the bankrupt University College Cardiff; in 1994 he chaired a public inquiry into the affairs of Derby College that led to the dismissal of the governing body; in 1996 he prepared a plan for the governance and management of the European University Institute in Florence.

He has also been an adviser to the parliamentary select committee on education.

Opinion, page 12

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