UCU committee members running for Senate
Six members of your UCU committee have been nominated, and are listed here below with their supporting statements
Nigel Bubb (Leeds Dental Institute) – I have worked at the University since the mid nineties. The University is about to face grave threats from without, it is important that internally the University deals with these in a measured, democratic way. I serve on University of Leeds UCU committee; as such I have been shocked at the management’s disregard to due process and meaningful consultation with regard to FBS. I stand against the erosion of collegiality and democracy that is currently pervading. This has led me to seek involvement in central running of the University
Lai Fong Chiu (Institute of Health Sciences) – I have been a member of the University’s academic staff since 2001 and a member of the committee of the Leeds University and COllege Union since 2007. Since 2003, as a result of reorganizational turbulence, I have first-hand experience of restructuring and its impacts on my personal and academic life. I understand that there will be many difficult issues facing us in the current Economies Exercise and that this will have serious implications for students, staff, and for the overall shape of the University sector. Members of Senate will need to work hard to meet these challenges and to ensure that decisions made are open and fair.
If elected as a member of the Senate, I will act as an unbiased conduit of information between the governing council and staff. I will work to promote equality, diversity and democratic governance through open communication and dialogue. I believe the knowledge and experience I have gained through my work on the UCU committee make me an ideal candidate to represent the needs of staff and students. I would consider it a privilege to serve on Senate, and look forward to working closely with all of you.
Danielle Lamb (School of Humanities) – As an officer of Leeds UCU I have been involved in the consultation meetings about the restructuring of the Faculty of Biological Sciences. I have been horrified by the way that the restructuring there has been carried out; the lack of meaningful consultation with members of staff in FBS, the lack of transparency with which decisions have been made, the lack of respect shown towards all members of the academic team, and the disregard shown for any sense of collegiality or academic freedom. I believe that the Senate has a vital role to play in reversing the damage that has been done in that faculty, and to the academic reputation of our university. In order to thrive, the University of Leeds must be a real community, governed by consensus, agreement, and respect for staff, students and the systems of governance in place. The restructuring of FBS demonstrates that something has gone very wrong with the way this institution is governed, and I believe I have a contribution to make to improving our community. I take pride in having been at the university, first as a student and then a member of staff, for nearly 13 years, and I would welcome the opportunity to play a role in maintaining this institution as a place of study and work to be proud of.
Christine Pickering (Leeds Dental Institute) – With a background in governance both in the education an voluntary sectors, I can bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to Senate. In order to make informed and appropriate decisions Senate needs to be furnished with accurate and transparent information, and have the confidence to scratch below the surface and ask those penetrating questions. Drilling down to the critical detail and interrogating the differing options in order to reach pragmatic and practical solutions are skills I can bring to Senate.
Working half time for UCU and half time for Dentistry means I am well placed to understand the issues which concern staff, and the work-place stressors which can inhibit excellent performance. The aspiration for an excellent student experience must start with staff who have confidence to deliver to the best of their ability in a supportive and positive environment. Senate can set the tone by making decisions which fully recognise the contributions made by staff who are, indeed, our greatest asset.
Mark Tayor-Batty (School of English) – As an officer of Leeds UCU, I have been involved in consultation, JCUU and informal meetings with University management since September 2007. My chief concerns as UCU officer have been the mismatch between University commitments to staff through strategy, policy and procedure and the implementation of these things. In recent months I have been concerned to see the governance of our University carried out in ever more flexible manners, to the point of seemingly conflicting with statutory obligations. I was upset to see the announcement of an ‘economies exercise’ before Senate had been informed or before any discussion in Senate had been possible. Against a backdrop of commitments to transparency and consultation, I have witnessed first-hand instances of non-transparent decisions made and non-consultative processes affecting large numbers of staff. My concern at the creeping measures against democratic participation and the compromising of principles of academic freedom has led me to seek to participate more fully at the heart of the academic community. I want a university that is governed by consensus, agreement, and respect for staff, students and the systems of governance in place. Recent events strongly indicate that ours is no longer such a university.
Jeremy Toner (Institute for Transport Studies) – I have served as an elected member of Senate for 14 years. I am currently DLT in Transport Studies and Treasurer of the local association of the University and College Union (having previously served as president).
Elected member must represent the views of ordinary academic and academic-related staff to audiences which may otherwise not hear us. The role of Senate in scrutinising proposals and keeping the executive accountable is ever more important: only elected members can do that properly.
In particular: we must bring an academic perspective to Senate’s deliberations to counterbalance what sometimes appears as a narrow finance-driven agenda; we must strive for greater transparency in the appointment of office-holders in the University and ensure that those appointed are called to answer for their actions in appropriate democratic fora; and we must be vigilant in preventing the bureaucracy associated with aspects of our work getting in the way of our real jobs by arguing for light touch at all times.
I cannot promise a collegiate democratic institution with no money worries. I can promise to keep staff interests and well-being at the heart of every debate and to speak up for the hard-working members of our University