Merger heads may face tests

December 11, 2008

Senior administrators at Goldsmiths, University of London, are set to undergo psychometric testing as part of the process to select the heads of three newly merged departments.

Registrar Hugh Jones announced plans to merge five administrative and support offices into three new departments in October.

Goldsmiths' branches of the University and College Union (UCU) and support staff union, Unison, are resisting the restructuring, and the UCU has also questioned the use of this type of test.

Psychometric testing seeks to establish applicants' personalities, and can be used to check for initiative, team-working and social skills and to predict how they might behave in various scenarios.

In a response to the college's proposals, the UCU asked: "What is the justification (for psychometric tests) and do you expect such testing to become part of all selection processes in the future?"

Mr Jones said: "Psychometric testing is one of a number of methods which we expect to use in the recruitment process for the heads of the new departments. Such tests have been used before at Goldsmiths (for instance in the recent recruitment to posts in HR)."

Under the restructure, the student recruitment, international office and widening participation sections of the registry will combine with the communications section to form a new department of marketing and communications.

The admissions, enrolment and examination sections of the registry are to form a new student office, while a third department will be responsible for planning and governance.

The college says the changes are necessary to improve student satisfaction and to provide a "stronger marketing focus".

But the UCU argues that widening-participation staff should not be separated from those working in admissions.

Mr Jones said no final decision had been taken and that final proposals would be considered in the new year, following a consultation.

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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