All right, we know, but it is a legitimate question as Steven Spier and David Mackintosh are busy portraying the SMT in a new caring light.
It’s been a busy year for cleaning out the SMT after the resignation/sacking of the Big Rat, Weinberg, last year. First there was the bumbling Eales-Reynolds, presumably carrying the can for the rubbish NSS scores. More recently Martin McQuillan, fiddler of expenses and arch bully, finally got the push, a step long recommended by this blog (see numerous past posts). Crooked McQuillan got away with money dodges for some years; his financial carryons were bad enough but the hounding of admin staff marked him down as a deeply nasty character. Mike Sutcliffe, unimpressive Dean of SEC, has left on medical grounds and is unlikely to return.
So quite a clear out, and it appears not the last of it. But does this mean the SMT is nicer? Well, the bastard quotient has certainly gone down somewhat, and adaptable Dave Mack is trying to be nice. But hang on a minute. Following the redundancies in Politics, there are more due over in SEC, and being rushed through, this blog hears. The unresolved situation with Grade 10s remains. Some are leaving but what about the rest? Ductile Dave, who supported the whole unpleasant business, is quiet on that.
Perhaps the question is not whether the SMT is truly in “we really do value our staff” mode (excluding forthcoming redundancies), but whether its constituents have suddenly discovered how to be senior managers. Kingston is sliding downhill, student applicants are dropping — we all know that. The SMT will and does blame government policy and changing demographics. These certainly have had an impact. But what is the real job of senior management, apart from the obvious of supporting and motivating the staff? Theirs is also a strategic one. Their experience and expertise should allow them to foresee where external factors are taking the University and adapt in time. Instead it had various delusions about turning Kingston in something different, and deliberately shrinking us when pressures were squeezing us anyhow. The SMT has done no more than react to events and bully and sack the staff. It is still reacting and still sacking.
If the SMT appears nicer it is mainly illusion. Its competence is still in question, along with that of the Governors, ultimately responsible for who manages Kingston. With only two academic board members, we cannot hope for much from these collectors of sinecures and lines on their CVs.