Managing Successful Universities

Managing Successful Universities

Managing Successful Universities

Managing Successful Universities


"This book seeks to define good management in a university context and how it can contribute to university success. It draws on the literature of management in the private sector as well as from higher education, and from the experience of the author. Managing Successful Universities demonstrates how successful universities utilise the market to reinforce academic excellence."


Successful universities are successful primarily because of their teaching and research, not because of their management, but good management can over time provide the conditions in which teaching and research can flourish, just as, more usually, poor management can undermine teaching and research and precipitate institutional decline. We do not give as much consideration as we should to what makes a successful university especially bearing in mind that the chief beneficiaries of such success are its students. Good teaching, good research, good academic support services, good study conditions and a well managed academic and social environment all contribute to good learning experiences and to effective education. Such benefits are long lasting and inspire affection and loyalty from students towards the institution that provides them.

Higher education would be much improved if we could have a broader definition of what constitutes a successful university but we lack the differentiation of functions that we see in some countries, most notably the US where the college, usually a liberal arts college, can offer a superb teaching environment without the additional burden of seeking, institutionally, to major in research. By comparison, the new teaching universities proposed by the White Paper, The Future of Higher Education (DEFS 2003) represent an impoverished vision of what a high quality ‘teaching only’ institution might be.

The White Paper Higher Education: A New Framework (DES 1991) represented a belief that market forces, operating off a ‘level playing field’ of funding policies, would offer universities equal opportunities to compete if an appropriate financial climate could be established. The 1990s showed that this approach ignored the provision of historic resources in terms of staff, buildings, location and actual financial endowment, and that these advantages in a more market orientated environment have served rather to accentuate the qualitative differences between institutions.

The 2003 White Paper recognizes this failure and offers a cautious vision for some new differentiation and a welcome attempt to reward good teaching financially, as distinct from financing teaching formulaicly on the basis of . . .

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