On the second day of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas, my VC sent to me, two new DVCs, and restructure of the university

“Hey, young-un.”

Ajay grimaced behind his monitor, then looked up. “You must mean me, Martin.”

Martin frowned at him. “There’s nobody else in the room, is there?”

Ajay sighed almost inaudibly. His passive-aggressive approach to getting Martin to stop calling him ‘young-un’ definitely wasn’t working.

“Anyway, never mind about that. ” Martin appeared to forget about this exchange as quickly as it had begun. “Have you heard the latest?”

Ajay was sure that it didn’t matter whether he had heard it or not. “I don’t think so.”

“Apparently one Deputy Vice-Chancellor isn’t enough any more. There’s so much work, we need to have two.”

Ajay didn’t have the slightest idea what the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor did, so didn’t feel able to comment on this news. “Oh.”

“Yes, apparently, although it’s just a rumour, you mustn’t tell anyone else, I heard it from my contact in HR and they’re sworn to secrecy.”

“Mmm. OK.” Ajay didn’t know anyone who would be interested.

“So the rumour is, one of the Deputies will be for research, all the research institutes. The other will be for the teaching hubs. I reckon they’re working up to splitting the whole operation.”

Ajay considered this.

“Um, Martin.”

Martin was already reaching for the phone. Probably to spread the confidential news a bit further. “Yeah?”

“How can that be financially viable?”

“What, having a new DVC? There’s always money for their inflated salaries, young-un. And they don’t have to share offices like we do, either. Always money for their big swanky offices.”

Ajay had no idea. He’d never been up to the Executive floor. “No, not that, I meant splitting the university up. 95% of our income is from teaching activities.  Either only 5% of the staff are going into the institutes, or teaching income is going to subsidise them.”

Martin looked blankly at him. He was an economist. He’d never looked at the University’s financial statements properly. Ajay had been a practising accountant before returning to Burston Central. He waved the hand which was holding the phone receiver vaguely in the air. “Ach, I don’t know, they can always find a way to milk the hard-workers to their own ends.”

Uninterested in Ajay’s proposition, he tapped at the phone keypad.

Ajay tried to untangle Martin’s mixed metaphor. He sighed, audibly this time. Martin’s gossip didn’t make any sense. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t true. His sources were often pretty close to the corridors of power, even if there was sometimes a slightly skewed spin placed on the final information.

It did give him an idea, though. He still hadn’t fixed on the final topic for his PhD. To be honest, the announcement about the University restructure had made him wonder if there was any point in starting it. It didn’t look as though there would be any opportunities for young staff recruited from the professions on temporary contracts to progress much in the new set-up. If you had to be REFfable to join an institute and escape teaching, then how could you get to that point, if people working in the teaching hubs were only focused on teaching? And anyway, he liked teaching. He didn’t want to escape it. He just wanted to be able to get into something in a bit more depth. And his Head of Department had said he’d need to get a PhD, even in the teaching hub, because the professional body which accredited the School of Business required it. Could there be any mileage in a PhD on the relationship, or lack of it, between university finances and university policy? He started making notes.



10 thoughts on “On the second day of Christmas

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