Is the SMT getting nicer?

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.

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10 Responses to Is the SMT getting nicer?

  1. Pingback: Simon Morgan Wortham and a Corrupt Tale of Two Cities (with apologies to Charles Dickens) – Kingston University Scandal

  2. Pingback: Martin McQuillan’s embezzlement ...

  3. A Sarina says:

    If someone wants to discuss the SMT situation further I would like to do it via email any information (even from anonymous sources is welcome):

  4. Peter Peregrine says:

    The last bastion of professional competence has fallen.
    Our School Chief Operations Officer has been restructured out of the University, along with the Operations Officers in the other Faculties. The Chief Operations Officer in Business left last year, it is rumoured because he could not longer tolerate the mad Dean who had destroyed the School of Law, plunged the Business School into deficit by not revitalising the MBA, and wanted to move into a penthouse suite with his PA.
    Our School Operations Officer did a decent and professional job in difficult circumstances. I expect the other Operations Officers did the same. I expect that is why the Senior Mismanagement Team, the mad Deans, and the clueless corporate services directors could not tolerate them any longer.

  5. Muck Raker says:

    McQuillan chaired the fringe meeting on Higher Education reform at CPC17 in Manchester on Monday, 2 Oct, in the Stanley Livingstone Suite at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, Manchester. All very grand. Other people on the panel included his creepy pal Mark Leach, director and founder of WonkHE (who also is giving McQueezy work to help tide him over), a UCU rep and NUS’s Shakira Martin. Bet UCU and NUS had little idea just what a fraudulent little character they were dealing with as he chaired. McQueezy McQuillan proudly tweeted about it on his twitter feed on 2nd Oct, and retweeted Mark Leach’s tweet on it on the same day. According to one of the journos at the Conference, McQuillan did plenty of networking in the bars at CPC17, promoting WonkHE to Tory delegates and anybody else who was at a loose end or happened to get trapped by him. By the way, if you go to McQueezy’s page on the WonkHE site, there’s 37 articles listed there, and that does not include all his other pieces for other newspapers and blog sites. No wonder he never did any real work at KU.

  6. Muck Raker says:

    McQuillan and Morgan Wortham were so close because Morgan Wortham helped McQuillan with accommodation while he commuted from the Manchester area (despite promising to fully relocate down here when he was made Dean). They were both English Lit, and made sure many of their FASS staff appointments were from English Lit. When the Scottish fraudster was made pro-vice Chancellor for ‘Research and Innovation’ (although god only knows why), he ensured his best mate became Dean in his place. There was no consultation with FASS staff, no open competition, and how the personnel dept allowed this sorry state of affairs to occur is anyone’s guess (surely illegal under employment law?). It smacked of a North Korean-style dynastic handover rather than a modern Uni. Despite the cover-up over McQuillan’s alleged fraudulent financial activities, the apparent signing of ‘non-disclosure’ agreements, and the Uni’s woeful failure to make it a police matter, more and more people are beginning to grasp what a scandal this truly is. But the Uni remains deathly silent on the matter. Meanwhile, McQuillan is desperately trying to reinvent himself as a self-described ‘literary theorist and cultural critic’ (no kidding – see the Guardian of 3rd Oct). He is also involved with WonkHE (the Higher Education think-tank, which claims to provide ‘Policy and Markets intelligence’ for Unis and education specialists, and wants to engage with Old Etonian Ministers like Jo Johnson and his like). McQueezy is big pals with WonkHE’s director, and WonkHE describe McQueezy as former ‘Vice-Chancellor’, not just a pro-Vice, to make him sound grander than he really was. WonkHE set up a fringe meeting at the recent Conservative Party Conference 2017, discussing HE reform, and – no surprises here – McQueezy chaired the panel. What the Uni should have done in the wake of the McQuillan scandal is have a complete clear-out of all the mini-me managers he appointed, including Morgan Wortham. Instead, laughingly, Morgan Wortham has now become chief ‘cuts man’ of Plan 2020, picking off anybody who he and McQuillan disliked, including Politics and Economics staff. Other Faculties take note.

    • Jack Dawson says:

      Thank you, Muck Raker; this is all very interesting. Do you have a link for McQuillan’s panel at the Conservative Party Conference ?

    • Melissa Moody says:

      Hello Muck,
      Would you be willing to chat to me more about this, I’m investigating.

  7. Big Mac is – as was once said – a bastard, but not a s**t. He has to have something about him, to stay alive in the oxygen-free, nonsensophere up there.

    It’s OK bitching all the time but give one guy a chance. Oh, the VC, too. Yes, him, too. Give him a chance, even though he talks exactly like Julius. Give him a chance, too!

  8. Jack Dawson says:

    Unfortunately McQuillan’s departure makes no difference in FASS, which is still being run by his right-hand man and handpicked successor, Simon Morgan Wortham. The two are so close that they are practically the same person. When he became Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research, McQuillan simply installed his mate Morgan Wortham as Dean of FASS without any sort of competition for the post between different candidates. It was sheer nepotism.

    When McQuillan played his cynical rankings game of refusing to enter departments for the last REF that hadn’t scored highly enough in the mock exercise, he left it to slimy, insincere Morgan Wortham to present the policy to the outraged FASS staff and pretend to listen to their concerns before telling them to fuck off. Generally, McQuillan couldn’t be arsed to meet with his staff if he could at all help it, and was rarely in London anyway.

    It is extremely difficult to believe that Morgan Wortham was not aware of his mate’s embezzlement shenanigans, yet instead of getting rid of him along with McQuillan, the university is only increasing his responsibilities. I guess some SMTs never learn.

    McQuillan and Morgan Wortham have wreaked havoc in FASS. As a result of their mismanagement, Politics fell to the very bottom of the Guardian league table last year. The policy of forcing older staff into early retirement and not replacing them took its toll, but this didn’t stop management pretending the atrocious Staff Student Ratio reported by the Guardian was the result of a calculation error. The recent redundancies have only made this problem worse. The History Department was not allowed to recruit undergraduates this year or replace departing staff, suggesting it may be for the axe – though it boggles the mind that any university with pretenses of seriousness would actually not want to have a history department. In Economics, FASS has overfulfilled its Five Year Plan2020 purge target and driven out more experienced staff than they needed to get rid of; having spent a wodge of money on Voluntary Early Pension packages they may end up having to recruit again. KU’s celebrity Economics professor Steve Keen has announced publicly he’s retiring because the university has become an ‘aimless, money-grubbing exploiter of students’.

    McQuillan was just the symptom of a wider malaise. If the university had actually listened to its staff, everyone would have told them from the start that he was going to be a disaster. But if you measure a good manager by how much they are loathed by their staff – which Kingston’s SMT does – then you are inevitably going to have a management made up of types like McQuillan and Morgan Wortham. And the scary thing is that, for all their targets, bullying and management-speak, these people have no idea what they are doing.

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