The Vice Chancellors’ Annual Quiz 2016

They are the captains of our ‘industry’, and often pilloried for being overpaid, detached, authoritarian, rent-seeking and reluctant to take a stand in defence of universities in a time of crisis. Some of these views have even been reflected in my own postings on this blog. However, in the season of goodwill, I hope a more nuanced picture of the nation’s vice chancellors will emerge from the answers to these questions.  We see VCs’ altruistic (or publicity-seeking) side in charitable stunts. There is the ability to negotiate and reconsider in the face of opposition to a policy. It is clear that not all of them come from a privileged background. One consistently offers staunch defence of academic freedom, and among them, they embrace a variety of views on models of university leadership, the TEF and Brexit.

Answers in the comments section please. The last 5 are old news. Results will be posted after the New Year. Anyone getting all 25 correct will receive a signed copy of my co-authored book on managerial discourse (forthcoming 2018 !!).

Which vice-chancellor, principal or provost (and one ex):

  1.  Raised the bar for academic staff….and then lowered it again?
  2. Rejected government calls for universities to sponsor schools, saying it would be ‘a distraction from our core mission’?
  3. Told a meeting of ECRs “we have no security to offer you. It is so easy for us to replace you”?
  4. Criticised university leaders for being too wedded to outdated notions of the heroic in leadership and acting like Zeus not Athena?
  5. Caused controversy by saying “society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian”.
  6. Added £2 worth of biscuits to a £20,000 expenses bill?
  7. Lost a no-confidence vote by staff after unpopular cost-cutting measures.
  8. Was knighted in 2016?
  9. Did the mannequin challenge at the graduation ceremony?
  10. Said “great teaching is not inconsistent with academic freedom, it depends on it”?
  11. Has been appointed Chair of the TEF?
  12. Said the TEF is ‘a further safeguard for students, one that has now been largely accepted by the sector’?
  13. Does the open day talk for the mathematics course at their university?
  14. Said Brexit is “the catalyst we all need”?
  15. Was the most recent VC to appear on Desert Island Discs?
  16. Is the UK’s longest-serving VC?
  17. Heads the league table for spending on air fares among VCs in Wales?
  18. Born in Germany, moved to Ireland, back to Germany, back to Ireland, to England, back to Ireland and now in Scotland. Best known for his report on governance in Scottish HE.
  19. Is the most highly ranked VC on the Wonkhe HE Power List 2016
  20. Said, “Professors are really like small business owners”?
  21. Dressed up as Bonnie Tyler for a charity fund raiser?
  22. Used to be a van driver and once crowd surfed among his students?
  23. Was once housed in a homeless hostel?
  24. Spent £95,000 on a set of ceremonial chairs?
  25. The answer is Professor Sir Steve Smith, University of Exeter. Suggested questions in comments please.

6 thoughts on “The Vice Chancellors’ Annual Quiz 2016”

  1. Without using google:
    1: Newcastle
    3: UCL
    5: Queens
    6: Bath (hurrah, we’re in a national table)
    7: OU
    18: von Prondzynski
    24: Plymouth?


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