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Dean's sudden departure takes staff by surprise

The dean of education at Scotland's largest teacher-training institution has left her post in a move described by some staff as "a bolt from the blue".

Jill Bourne, who had led Strathclyde University's education faculty for two years, is understood to have attended the routine Monday morning meeting for senior staff this week, announced that she was demitting office and left the building immediately afterwards.

One senior member of staff said the faculty had been going through a period of considerable angst in the lead-up to its merger with law, arts and social sciences to form a new faculty of humanities and social sciences. Some staff have expressed concern about the Jordanhill-based faculty losing its identity, and there has been disappointment that education was not to be given its own building under the merger.

An email to staff by the university's principal, Jim McDonald, said Professor Bourne had decided to leave the university next July under the early retirementvoluntary severance scheme currently on offer.

"Given that this decision means that Jill does not have a long-term role in the university, Jill feels it would be inappropriate for her to continue to lead the faculty as it makes key future decisions in the run- up to the merger.

"Accordingly, Jill has decided that, with effect from today, she wishes to stand down from the post of dean in order to facilitate the full engagement of the faculty leadership team in the merger process."

Professor Bourne would focus on research until her retirement in July next year, he added.

Brian Green, vice-dean (academic), is to become acting dean in the interim. It is anticipated that the dean of the new, merged faculty will be an external appointment.

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