Universities are “well-managed” shock

Remarkable speech at THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011

The THELMAs ceremony, on 16 June, was remarkable for a number of reasons. Not least the fact that Julian Clary was hosting. But perhaps the most surprising thing was the speech by David Willetts. First, it lasted barely a minute: realising that he was all that lay between the audience and their dinner he kept it extremely brief. Secondly, and even more significantly, he praised universities. He described us in glowing terms. He said we were well-managed. And well led. And that everyone working in universities was doing really rather well and that we were all highly valued.

I must admit to being rather gobsmacked by this. Whilst some might take issue with a possible mismatch between these words and some of the government’s other deeds, to me he sounded sincere. Given that the traditional mantra from Whitehall has been that universities are poorly managed and badly organised this was extremely refreshing.

Thank you Minister.

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