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.