Tuesday, 11 January 2011

You take the high road....

A relaxed John at the helm...*
A flurry of emails and a phone call from a former colleague singing "Happy Birthday to you..." announced the departure. Yes, on a rather sombre January note, this writer has today learned that "Captain of Enterprise"* Head of School (HoS) Professor John Wilson is leaving the University of Salford for pastures anew... Scotland.

Staff are pleased

From the emails, it would appear that many staff within the Salford Business School are said to be pleased about his new post in Scotland. Moreover, it is clear that whoever steps into his shoes will have stepped into a big job. It is widely known that football loving, Preston North End supporting Professor Wilson, in his role of Head of Salford Business School, has sought to forge stronger links with China and has been there at least once.(1)

The visionary Professor Wilson has also been at the forefront of using the word 'niches' in an article (see below). He is also happy to exploit them:

"He has a firm vision of where he wants the school to go. "I think there are certain niche areas we should look at developing," he said. "We have some niche areas of international excellence, including information systems and management, statistics and operational research, gambling studies, marketing and accounting. "But I am looking to step up our expertise with some new areas, such as entrepreneurship, public management and leadership. "There are over 100 business schools in the UK, and we have to differentiate ourselves. I think we can exploit niches..."(2)

This historical and therefore different John Wilson
liked to blow his own trumpet
Hasn't he done a really good job

Vice Chancellor Martin Hall thinks he's done a good job and left the Business School with a reputation:

“This is an excellent promotion for John and I am very pleased for him and wish him every success in his new role. Thanks must go to him for his leadership of the Salford Business School and the energy he has shown in building the School’s reputation. In particular, John led the School in its successful bid to gain the prestigious Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation in September 2009. This marked Salford as an esteemed institution at which to study an MBA.”(3)

Professor Wilson who himself is good on TV, is also on record as being a true admirer of people like the business chap and BBC celebrity Alan Sugar who regularly fires people whilst pointing his finger: "I truly admire people like Alan Sugar..."(4) Yet unlike God** who liked to keep the seventh day free for rest and going to church, it's widely known that Professor Wilson preferred to keep the fifth day free - possibly a Friday although the exact name of the day has not been confirmed -  for research: "...I try to keep the fifth day free, mainly so that I can devote time to research..."(5) Professor Wilson has also pursued a policy of promoting "International collaboration" and is again on record as seeing  it as important for opening up "the school's profile" as well as "various opportunities for staff  and student exchanges".(6)  All interesting stuff.

The gathering clouds

More recently, a few clouds have gathered on the horizon about six miles yonder from the Maxwell Building. These clouds have assumed the shape of the TCM Group Report, which has tested Professor Wilson's natural popularity. This report, instigated at the behest of current Vice Chancellor Martin Hall in 2010, was conducted in response to anger among staff within the SBS into what were at the time recent appointments. According to Professor Hall, the TCM Report flagged up a few minor issues regarding appointments that needed a little tweaking (see previous posting). To date, the TCM Group Report has not been distributed in its entirety to staff in SBS or the wider University and the Executive Summary of this report remains a "read-only" document.

In Court

This Report became the focus of added attention during a recent court hearing on the 21st December concerning libel proceedings instigated in the High Court by the UoS against this author. During proceedings, the representative acting on behalf of this writer made clear to the Court that according to the TCM Executive Summary, Professor Wilson and certain Heads of Directorate in the Business School had been responsible for the lowering of "academic qualifications" for the recruitment to specific positions within the Business School, which was not made widely known to staff. The question was asked in the court as to "how could those close to John Wilson and Reg Lord know to apply for posts?"(7) 

What a tosser!
In reference to the appointments process raised on a ratcatchers blog, Dr Graves in his statement to the Court made the claim that "The University has clear guidelines for the recruitment of staff and evidence can be provided to demonstrate that these guidelines were adhered to in both instances."(8) The representative of this writer asked "why would Adrian Graves and Ian Austin say it (the appointments process in SBS) is all above board" (given the findings of the TCM Report), and if this is the case "why does not Ian Austin or Adrian Graves supply the TCM Report?" Two interesting questions that may be answered by Dr Graves at some stage during any future libel proceedings. However, let's not open ourselves to accusations of churlism and spoil the good news.

It is clear to very many person that the University of Salford's loss is going to be Scotland's gain. I'm sure Professor Wilson's colleagues in the Salford Business School will be having a whip round and raising a not inconsiderable sum for his leaving present. If anyone would like to share their ideas on what sort of present he might be given, please feel free to email this writer at garypaulduke@gmail.com

In closing...

Oh, and as this writer was summarily dismissed for bullying and harassing Professor Wilson and a student/part-time member of staff from the Business School through the authorship of the satirical Vice Consul's Newsletters in August 2009, would the good professor before he leaves, be good enough to back-date an official complaint of bullying and harassment for the purposes of conforming to the University's Code of Conduct on Bullying and Harassment? According to the Code, the accused is after all, allowed to see a copy of the complaint.

If he could also supply a belated witness statement to the same effect and post it via a temporal shift or a convenient space-time dedicated wormhole dated sometime before the 4th August 2009 to Watkinson of HR, that would be great!

*According to the Manchester Evening News sourced at http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/236016_captain_of_enterprise
** Genesis II, sourced at http://esv.scripturetext.com/genesis/2.htm
(1) K Freddy, Manchester Evening News, February 13th 2007 sourced at http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/236016_captain_of_enterprise
(2) K Freddy again, M.E.N. February 13th 2007,  http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/236016_captain_of_enterprise
(3) Professor Martin Hall sourced at http://staff.salford.ac.uk/news/details/2072
(4) K Freddy, M.E.N. February 13th 2007, http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/business/s/236016_captain_of_enterprise
(5) Professor John Wilson: head of the Salford Business School: Professor John Wilson, the new head of the Salford Business School, recounts a typical day, April 2007, Copyright Fenman Limited 2007, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6778/is_2007_April/ai_n28425084/
(6) Professor John Wilson: head of the Salford Business School: Professor John Wilson, the new head of the Salford Business School, recounts a typical day, April 2007, Copyright Fenman Limited 2007, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6778/is_2007_April/ai_n28425084/
(7) From notes taken during the court hearing 21st December 2010, Manchester District Registry, before Judge Smith and therefore public domain.
(8) Witness statement provided by Dr Graves and read to the court by Judge Smith 21 December 2010 (public domain)
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