So long and thanks for all the restructuring

The head of the London College of Communication has resigned after several days of negotiations with senior managers over her future.

March 7, 2012

Sandra Kemp was last week removed from full duties at the college, which is part of the University of the Arts London, leading to speculation that she was about to leave her post.

Yesterday evening, Nigel Carrington, rector of the university, sent an email to all staff saying that Professor Kemp had resigned. He says she had informed him that “sustained media coverage of events at London College of Communication has threatened to make her leadership…untenable”.

The news comes just two weeks after Times Higher Education reported that Professor Kemp had sought advice from publicist Max Clifford after being criticised last November in a resignation letter by the LCC’s departing head of communications, Gillian Radcliffe.

In November, Ms Radcliffe wrote that attempts had been made to “marginalise” her and that Professor Kemp had subjected her to “irrational criticism”.

The college leader, who has also been criticised for her handling of course closures, presided over a string of departures by senior academics after becoming head in 2008, according to the University and College Union.

The UCU, GMB and Unison unions all called on Professor Kemp to resign in January after it was announced that 16 courses would be cut at the LCC.

In July 2011, an inquiry by the Quality Assurance Agency into restructuring at the college found that standards had been so badly affected by course closures that some students’ marks were raised to compensate.

The process was “not fit for purpose” and the restructure had had a “detrimental impact” on students as a result, the QAA concluded.

However, Mr Carrington writes that after three years as head of the college, Professor Kemp had “successfully completed” the first stage of the institution’s restructuring.

“Professor Kemp initiated and led the restructuring of the academic, technical and administrative operations of the College, balanced its budgets, and in 2011 achieved a significant increase in the College’s [National Student Survey] scores. We wish her well for the future,” the email says.

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