All is not going to (strategic) plan

‘Our success is dependent on our dedication and commitment to our priorities and our enthusiasm in delivery for our students’. There has been a ‘rapid transformation’ of our academic and financial performance to date, which ‘paves our way to being an all-round better University’.

Where did this come from? The local speak-your-weight machine at Waterloo Station? Afraid not. This is another pearl of, er, wisdom from the latest news release issued by our Gold Commander, AKA the KU’s VC Steven Spier. He was writing on KU’s latest Strategic Plan and ‘ambitious vision’ for the next three years.

Leaving aside how many hours it must have taken to write such nonsense (the VC has lots of help with his drafts), this was a very rare sign of life from our very part-time leader, who prefers to leave much of the day-to-day donkey work to loyal bagmen such as Dave ‘The Knife’ Mackintosh, who has looked increasing tired and stressed as the weeks tick by (he has to act, after all, as a ‘human shield’ for his Commander in meetings). There was also a delightful short video of our dynamic VC for staff to watch, placed on the KU website. ‘Mr. Bland’ (as his own admin staff refer to him) much prefers, you see, to film glossy little screen appearances from the comfort of his office. It also avoids the inconvenience of having to respond to awkward questions from staff, on such trifling matters as Covid-19, health and safety, online delivery, face-to-face teaching, and so on (‘Dave can handle this’).

To find out more about the VC’s big shiny new Strategic Plan, staff were invited to attend a ‘briefing session’, of which five were on offer, each on different aspects, presented by various members of the Senior Management Team, with two of them being jointly presented by the VC himself. Whoa-ho! However, all is not going to plan. Suddenly, these sessions were withdrawn (‘postponed’, according to the site). What has been going on?

One interesting bit of info passed to Dissenter by a sympathetic source ‘on high’ claims that there has been a last-minute dispute about who was going to present certain sessions. It involves our old mate Simon ‘Moron’ Wortham, the promiscuous Prof of ‘Sleeping Studies’ who has managed to toady his way back into the VC’s favour, after being involved in an embarrassing sex scandal. Apparently four of the staff briefings were going to be jointly-presented by Worthless, and two of them were going to involve him presenting alongside the VC. Another two were to have Wortham co-presenting with two female SMT Profs.

The word is that one of the female Profs, in light of Moron’s ‘reputation’, has expressed major reservations about the planned sessions. It seems there is still a great deal of bitterness and genuine discomfort on the part of some senior SMT members about working with Worthless, made worse by him complaining about being forced to share a PA with another SMT member (a safety measure put in place by the VC, given Moron’s past behaviour). Our source now believes the VC has also got cold feet over appearing alongside the promiscuous Prof. It’s all become a mess. It will be interesting to see when the presentations do happen, but don’t expect any major details on KU’s Strategy. This is Kingston, after all, where the bland prefer bluster and baloney.

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