SMT open staff meetings

Many who attend these meetings must surely have been overcome by their futility. One reason for holding them, we have been told, is to deal with poor staff engagement, code for a demoralised and unhappy workforce. The latest, run by lugubrious Dave Mack and moon-faced McQuillan, was an exercise in management chatter, a fall of decaying autumn leaves to make listeners despair of spring over coming. It’s enough to make one feel that Kingston University is as blighted as the land in CS Lewis’s novel.

Needless to say there was nothing to give hope to the “disengaged staff.” The only mention was in relation to faculties, who are supposed to sort all that out (McQuillan hopes). Wake up SMT: the problem is of your making.

There was plenty about reorganisation and TOMs (“target operating models” for those who speak normally). Extant PLs were given more to depress them in the implied criticism of their original promotions — through an “administrative route.” Dave “Dirty” appears to have forgotten his own promotion route. Seems that course directorships are now classed as administrative not academic.

But credit where it’s due. Sharing admin load more fairly is a good thing. Too many dodgy “researchers” at Kingston have got away with dumping on their colleagues in the past. Also a good thing may be the promised increase in admin staff. Trouble is these look to be managers (5 research managers to interfere with people’s work); we know how useless they usually turn out. It’s the office admin and IT staff who need boosting. We’ve too many managers already.

McQuillan wants more REFers, more income, more students. We’re back to staff (lack of) engagement. So things will continue as before and staff cannot expect any improvement. Meanwhile the management carry on wading through their own stodge, making such useful decisions on how large a school should be (academic review). Perhaps they will also figure out the ideal length for a piece of string.

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