Saturday, November 03, 2007

Leeds Met in the News - Bullying

Just the evening when I returned from my travel to Krems and watched the 10pm BBC news, there was a report about Leeds Met in the local news "Look North": it mentioned that the teachers and college union UCU had complaints about bullying at our university. Apparently this story had already gone around for quite a while, as other sources showed. But I personally had not been aware of this.

In fact, since I had been at Leeds Met, I never had been subject to any bullying. On the contrary, I had a very warm reception, and the attitude towards and around me had been always very positive. And of course I myself have never contributed to any bullying culture. But there had been these changes at Leeds Met in the past few years, the redundancies, which for some members of staff were quite hard felt. Leeds Met has quite an ambitious vision, as stated in its vision statement and corporate plan. And the academic environment in general is under pressure: sinking student numbers, more new universities, and different expectations by students change the way in which academic goals can be pursuit. Not only at Leeds Met, but also at many other universities throughout the UK.

What I personal felt: the change of my job from being in a corporate environment in the US to the academic job at Leeds Met did not feel as a rapid change. In fact, it was a very smooth transition for me, as I found the same mechanisms of personnel procedures (performance review) and corporate image. Maybe this is a problem for many traditional academic members of staff, who feel that this transition into a more US-style corporate environment is against what they would like to see. But it is inevitable that the universities need to change, to cope with those challenges in the future.

So I can say with a good conscience: I have only positive experiences at Leeds Met, and I will try to contribute further to a positive environment at our university.

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