Julius Weinberg resigns as KU vice-chancellor, after difference of opinion with governors

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Julius Weinberg stepped down as Kingston University (KU) vice-chancellor yesterday, admitting there were “differing” views on the future of the university between him and the board of governors.
Weinberg – who announced his decision on the first day of teaching of the academic year – told staff that he will be resigning from his position after almost six years, due to different opinions regarding the strategic approach to addressing some of the challenges the institution faces.
“It has become evident to me that the board of governors and I hold differing views,” he wrote in an email to staff members.
“The time has come for me to step down from my post to pursue new challenges.”
He added that it was not a decision he had reached lightly, but insisted he had always held the view that a period of six or seven years was a suitable length of tenure as vice-chancellor (VC).
The resignation comes after several years of major change at KU instigated by the VC, including going from eight to four modules a year and a reorganised IT system.
An interim acting vice-chancellor is expected to be named by early next week. The appointment is expected to come from inside the university, with names rumoured to be in the frame including deputy vice-chancellors Martin McQuillan, David Mackintosh and Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds.
Then a search for a permanent vice-chancellor will begin, with a replacement expected to be in place by September 2017.
Professor Weinberg said: “I am heartened by the significant progress we have already made and have every confidence that the university will build upon the considerable change that has taken place.”
Professor Weinberg said he would retain close affiliations with the university, taking on the role of president until he formally leaves in December 2017.
As vice-chancellor he earned more than £197,000 a year after receiving a 3.7% pay rise in 2012/13, according to an article published by the University and College Union in 2014. It is unclear whether he will retain that salary while he works as president.
The move comes after a disappointing set of results in the latest league tables. In the National Student Survey, the overall student satisfaction at Kingston dropped from 125th rank to 145th.
Kingston also dropped to 122nd in the Sunday Times Good University Guide University league table 2017, which was published on Sunday.
Weinberg qualified as a medic from the University of Oxford and, before working at Kingston University, was vice-chancellor at City University London.
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  1. 1
    Dr Howard Fredrics

    Prof Weinberg deserves some measure of kudos for his efforts to raise the qualification requirements of the entry pool and to shrink the intake numbers in order to enable such improvements in the entry pool. It is much better to have fewer, more well-prepared students, than to waste valuable resources on students who cannot or do not wish to benefit from higher education. Student satisfaction does not translate into quality of education, but merely corresponds to student satisfaction. Only a professional review of actual learning opportunities, along with graduate outcomes, can determine such a rating of educational quality. Surveys can provide valuable input, but should not be used externally.

    Prof Weinberg, however does not appear to have made significant changes in the way the University treats staff, both present and former, as evidenced by his failure to negotiate the closure of my website in exchange for concrete commitments by the University to address systemic bullying, and as evidenced by the way it mismanages prospective staff hiring.

    I don’t know whether or not the parting of ways between Prof Weinberg and the Board of Governors indicates a return to even worse times and policies promulgated by Prof Scott, or if it means they are moving beyond Prof Weinberg’s approach to an even better approach to management. Time will surely tell.

  2. 2
    Anastasia Edwards

    There were some things that Professor Weinberg stood for that members of staff agreed with, and appreciate his efforts and contributions. It would seem however that some also felt that his ‘top down’ model of authority exceeded its natural expectations in ways which meant he didn’t connect as well with the institution’s lecturing staff, who are a vital pillar within the university, in a way that he could’ve. There is a debate between Julius and the Board concerning the strategy in which to follow, in order to develop the institution, which the community of the university, staff and students alike, should not only be aware of, but have the opportunity to contribute to exactly that debate.

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