Tag Archives: Deans


The Dean of the Faculty of Science & Technology (FST), Peter Atkinson, is ‘to act as interim Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine for a period of up to one year … (to) support the University while it seeks a replacement Dean of FHM’. While such community spirit is to be applauded, a number of questions spring to mind. On the most basic level, subtext has not heard yet how the microbiologists and clinicians of FHM feel about their new computational geographer overlord. According to a recent message from the VC posted on the staff intranet, none of the candidates had the ‘right balance across the wide range of experience and attributes’. What is going on that we can’t attract decent bio-medics? Don’t they know that we are the ‘Times and Sunday Times University of the Year’?

Have YOU got any ideas as to who could head the faculty? We aren’t being facetious – the University welcomes ‘suggestions as to people we should be talking to (sic) in looking for the substantive replacement for Neil.’

More fundamentally, assuming that this is not the start of a Stakhanovite movement amongst middle management types, will the denizens of FST now flounder, bereft of 50% of the guiding wisdom that they previously enjoyed as their Dean turns his attention elsewhere? Or will it turn out that the faculty can run itself happily without the attention of a full time strategic thinker and visionary? Is it even possible that if the time spent in such charades as Dean’s group Departmental visits is squeezed more actual work may get done? Only time will tell how sorely 50% of a Dean will be missed.


What is happening to our senior leadership? The last issue of LUText advertised for a new Dean of FHM, meaning that the incumbent is stepping down after less than four years in the post, not least in the midst of the development of the Health Innovation Campus, the biggest expansion of health and medicine since the formation of the Faculty.

The current Dean of FASS has been seconded to a leadership role at UA92, and now subtext hears that another Faculty Dean may be off to pastures new after less than three years in post. Maybe the leadership training the University has invested in lately will allow some of these posts to be filled by internal appointments. After all, it is a tad embarrassing that our big shot star prize external appointments aren’t sticking around nearly long enough to make an ‘impact’.


subtext has heard rumours suggesting that another highly senior member of the University is soon to leave. We are certain to produce a professional obituary if the rumour is confirmed to be true. Since we can’t confirm anything for now, let’s just say that having left their mark on campus, things are looking upp for this person.


Within a matter of weeks, HR has lost both of its Assistant Directors. Just in time, oddly, for a major restructure of HR which has seen the consolidation of those posts into a single Deputy Directorship of HR. Last month, Assistant Director (Operations) Sonya Clarkson left to head up a HR department at a different university. A few weeks later, Assistant Director (Strategy) Tracy Walters also left.

The advertisement for the new post of Deputy Director of Human Resources referred to Sonya Clarkson’s departure – ‘As a result of the successful promotion of the current Assistant Director of Human Resources (Operations) to a Human Resources Director role within the higher education sector, the vacancy of Deputy Director of Human Resources has emerged.’

Hang on a minute. The language in the advertisement implies that the post is a slight repackaging of the Assistant Directorship – why else would it be suggested that the departing Assistant Director would have walked into the new role if she had decided to stick around? HR appears to be implying something less than complimentary about its other Assistant Director of HR, Tracy Walters, who is not mentioned at all in the ad. Readers may wonder whether Ms. Walters was offered a lesser role within the new structure, but declined, opting instead to move on from Lancaster entirely.


With leadership such a hot topic in the context of UA92, one wonders about the progress of the new line management structure for academics, based on ‘group leads’ (sic) acting as line managers for members of their research groups. This policy was spearheaded in FST and, regardless of questions about the wisdom of a one-size-fits-all plan for organising research groupings as diverse as Particle Physics and Social Processes (Psychology), it involved an exciting series of away days, networking masterclasses and the like, with external tutors leading the expected range of fatuous activities. So popular were the word showers, etc. with the ‘leads’ themselves that the Dean of FST was forced to insist, in a terse mass email, that they made every effort to attend the ‘Leadership Development Program’. This was backed up with a not-so-subtle attempt to intimidate by insisting that apologies (including reasons for non-attendance) be directed to him in person.