McGettrick's 'slap in the face'

20th October 2000 at 01:00
THE discontent that has dogged the education faculty of Glasgow University since it evolved from the merger with the Roman Catholic St Andrew's College has again surfaced in the overwhelming rejection by staff of a report charting the way ahead.

The no vote by 61 lecturers out of 71 at a faculty meeting is seen by some as a slap in the face for Bart McGettrick, dean of the faculty and former principal of St Andrew's, and Maria Slowey, the vice-dean. They say that the report by Rick Trainor, former vice-principal, ignored issues of mismanagement, including any reference to the resignation late last year of four heads of department.

Professor McGettrick rejects that interpretation. He says that the Trainor report was "largely strategic", analysing how the merged faculty had "become part of the landscape" and how it should continue to develop. Critics on the other hand had concentrated on operational problems with registering students and supporting them.

He says there was no expression of a lack of confidence in himself or Professor Slowey, but added: "Some people in the faculty feel thee is a lack of cohesion largely created by distance." The St Andrew's campus, where most of the faculty is based, is five miles from the heart of the university.

Professor McGettrick said that the review and the staff comments on it had raised matters which were now being tackled. The faculty management group will be reporting back next month.

The Trainor report was drawn up with input from assessors in other universities. Pamela Munn, professor of curriculum studies at Moray House Institute, which recently merged with Edinburgh University, said that she had offered suggestions. "As was to be expected, Rick Trainor accepted some bits of advice and not others."

Eric Wilkinson, who headed Glasgow's department of education before the St Andrew's merger, said the vote by his colleagues "showed concern about the well-being of the faculty and how we should pull together a creative leadership with a vision for the future".

Professor McGettrick's term as dean ends next July. A committee is being set up to identify his successor, and the two will work in tandem after Christmas.

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