Along with the rest of us, vice chancellors and senior managers have had a wretched year in UK HE. They have found themselves in a cleft stick of managing biosecurity, market share, student expectations, Office for Students hostility and uncertain finances. What better way to celebrate their contribution to the HE landscape than a Christmas quiz. In the midst of the pandemic, Santa has been circling those covid-secure campuses looking for VCs, both naughty and nice. So here is a treat for all VC fanciers in the form of a review of the year’s senior management headlines.
But first a primer…. (4 points)
1. Who is the current chair of Universities UK?
2. The director of Universities Scotland shares his name with an actor who played another legendary educator. Name him.
3. Which University’s chancellor and vice chancellor both served as MPs and held high office in parliament and government, respectively?
4. Who is the UK’s longest-serving vice chancellor, appointed in 1993?
Succession planning (6 points)
5. Which long-serving VC retired in August 2020 and was succeeded by Lisa Roberts?
6. Who has succeeded David Eastwood as Chair of the board of trustees of the USS pension scheme?
7. Who succeeded Anton Muscatelli as chair of the Russell Group in 2020?
8. Who is still Interim Vice Chancellor of which university, almost two years after having assumed the role in February 2019?
9. Which university has a vacancy for chancellor after an embarrassing resignation as a result of a Newsnight interview in November 2019?
Pandemic response (4 points)
10. Which VC was the first to promise a fully open and covid-secure campus for the autumn of 2020?
11. Which VC said the pandemic has ‘put a digital rocket up the backsides of mainstream HE’?
12. Which VC’s response to impending lockdown in March and posted on Twitter was: ‘Off to the pub. Not sure when I’ll be doing this again. Happy Friday!’ ?
13. Which university’s management has been criticised for making redundancies to IT staff in the midst of the pivot to online ?
Celebrity corner (6 points)
14. Which 2020 Strictly Come Dancing contestant is currently Chancellor of which university?
15. One former married couple, both actors and comedians, serve as chancellors of different universities. Name the actors and the universities.
Apologies (4 points)
16. Which VC has been forced to apologise twice to students this year? The second apology was an apology for not apologising.
17. Name one VC who was forced to apologise for bullying a senior colleague in 2020?
18. Name another VC who apologised in 2019 for a culture of bullying at the university?
19. The chief operating officer of which university sent an email to staff asking them to stop sending “borderline threatening” emails to professional services staff during the coronavirus lockdown?
Hopeful sign 1 point)
20. Which university’s strapline is “University for the Common Good”?
Happy holidays to all staff and students in higher education. You have deserved them. Answers will be posted in the New Year. A year that is not 2020.