I started this blog to provoke thought and debate about academic leadership and management. I think that the research and teaching university is a wonderful idea that needs really good management if it is to live up to its potential for research, for education or as a place to work. I want to benefit both academic managers and the academics they manage by developing and promoting an understanding of what good academic management consists of and of the benefits it brings both for individuals and for institutions.
At the time I myself became a manager, I had limited experience of positive managerial role models and indeed I had been on the receiving end of many examples of how not to manage. I know that low expectations and negative experiences are still widespread both among managers and among the managed. Academics typically avoid management roles for as long as they possibly can. Many of those that dutifully assume management roles are uncertain about how to manage academic staff in a way that does less harm than good. Most respond to this uncertainty with extreme caution and do far too little, in the hope of minimising damage. Others try to do far too much.
I have been very fortunate in my management roles, partly because I have had excellent training and exceptional support from professional colleagues. In general, I find management immensely rewarding. This makes me want to promote a positive view of academic management.
Since I started the blog I have given up my university job and started a training consultancy Parker Derrington Ltd. I am now pursuing my interest in management directly by coaching academic leaders and advising on strategy. Naturally I want to continue blogging about management but, as I am no longer an academic, the name Russell Dean has lost its meaning so I have started a new blog.