The decline of a College

Managing a team of Process Improvement Project Managers, the Head of Process Improvement will champion a change in behavior and culture at QMUL, placing process improvement and the value for money agenda at the heart of professional services both centrally and in academic schools.”

I wrote in August 2012 of the danger that at Queen Mary “future generations will learn by example that those who disrespect academic integrity are rewarded with university title and published fanfare in the academic press.” The restruction of our School had started with the sole declared goal to be ranked highly (position 5 was stated initially, to be dropped later for the aspiration of position 10) in the Government’s assessment. More than half of the academics in the School were dismissed or resigned and an equal or greater number were recruited in a very short period (an exchange of roughly 40 academics in approximately two years the headcount growing from 65 to 92). The College celebrated a placement of the School in position 23 in a state of denial I called Pythonesque Success.

There are many changes at Queen Mary. Inevitably, one of them relates to the use of new vocabulary to describe the growing infestation with managers who strangle collegiality and academic life. As an example I copy below a current advert for a position posted in the Times Higher Education pages, from where the opening quote was taken.

******** ADVERTISMENT BY Queen Mary University of London *******

Head of Process Improvement

The Head of Process Improvement will lead on the value for money strategy for Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), and design, lead and implement a programme of process review, benchmarking and audit activity across the university.

Managing a team of Process Improvement Project Managers, the Head of Process Improvement will champion a change in behavior and culture at QMUL, placing process improvement and the value for money agenda at the heart of professional services both centrally and in academic schools.
Based at Mile End campus, the postholder will be required to carry out duties at other QMUL sites as necessary.

The post is full time and permanent. Starting salary will be in the range £52,303 – £58,461 per annum (Grade 7) inclusive of London Allowance. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, defined benefit pension scheme and an interest-free season ticket loan.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK in accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Where required this may include entry clearance or continued leave to remain under the Points Based Immigration Scheme.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Emm Johnstone at  or on 020 7882 5891.

Further details and an application form can be found at

The closing date for applications is 21st January 2016 and interviews will be held on 5th February 2016.

Valuing Diversity & Committed to Equality

******** END OF ADVERTISMENT *************

Is the decline of a College depicted in the description of the positions it advertises?

10 thoughts on “The decline of a College

  1. A good reading regarding the “value for money” jargon. Is this advert a reaction to the Green paper? Recommended by David Bignell who was directed to the article by Queen Mary UCU. Thanks.

    Of course, in itself, ‘value for money’ is an empty notion: it says nothing about what you should get or how much you should pay for it. It is empty too because no one, presumably, is in favour of not getting value for money. Nonetheless, the phrase occurs four times in the one-page foreword to the new Green Paper written by Jo Johnson,the minister for universities and science…

    Who are the spongers now? | Stefan Collini

    Music to my ears: “the idea that the university is a partly protected space in which the search for deeper and wider understanding takes precedence over all more immediate goals; the belief that, in addition to preparing the young for future employment, the aim of developing analytical and creative human capacities is a worthwhile social purpose; the conviction that the existence of centres of disinterested inquiry and the transmission of a cultural and intellectual inheritance are self-evident public goods; and so on.

  2. Please send this to the Chronicle of Higher Education, and perhaps to the Journal of Irreproducable Results. And to the BBC World Service And to Radio 5 Live

  3. Meanwhile, in the restructured School of Biological and Chemical Sciences:

    “This is just to remind you all of the meeting next week about the national student survey. I expect everyone teaching at Mile End to attend this meeting unless there is an overwhelming reason not to do so. There appear to be a frankly amazing number of people who are giving research talks next Wednesday. Most academics have only two professional activities – research and teaching, they are both important and teaching is what pays our wages. SBCS has a real problem with the perception of the student experience that we provide, we all need to engage to resolve this and next Wednesday’s meeting is the start of us trying to do that.”

    Reminder: An open letter to Professor Simon Gaskell, Principal of Queen Mary, University of London

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