We should be worried about the competence of those running our universities, says Gus John, who identifies three reasons why bullying goes unchecked in academia.
The results of the Guardian higher education network’s survey on bullying in higher education should give the entire sector cause to worry about the competence and style of leaders and managers in the sector.
As someone who has examined the equality policies and action plans of every institution in the UK in the last 12 years, I identify three key problems:
1) University leaders put money ahead of learning
Vice-chancellors, provosts and principals are running institutions that see themselves more and more as corporations or conglomerates. They are not understanding that financial management and brand leadership should not displace the fact that universities are first and foremost learning communities – and that the principal function of education is to humanise society.
Management competence must be measured as much as anything else by senior managers’ capacity to demonstrate a knowledge of employment law and acceptable practice, and its convergence with equality and human rights legislation. They need to know how they would ensure that it forms the foundation on which they set about building and sustaining a culture of equity. Read the rest of this entry →