Managing Universities: Dodging the Dead Cat

By | 11th September 2017

Universities, as organizations, need both academics and administrators. However, there has been a failure to achieve the necessary institutional and cultural adjustments to modern conditions…The most important income flows for UK universities are teaching, research and consulting, generated by the academics. Everything else is an overhead. Academics are like the partners in a professional firm. They are the rainmakers, whose efforts pay everyone else’s salary.  Having said this, it is clear that many academics prefer not to think of themselves in that way: from the margins of the UK academy, I am increasingly struck by the sense of entitlement among my former colleagues, the belief that the world owes them a living. At the same time, I am also struck by the lack of acknowledgement among administrators and managers that their own jobs and careers are underpinned by the efforts of the academics on the front line… While this is predominantly about the rainmakers ensuring that their money is being spent wisely, it is also an educational opportunity, for the academic community to understand the necessity for professional support and the value that it adds, whether in terms of efficiency, reputation management or regulatory compliance.

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