My research addresses the relatively little investigated area of university senior management teams. Specifically, it focuses on Deputy and Pro Vice Chancellors (PVCs) within pre-1992 English universities. It addresses why the appointment of these PVCs is changing and what the consequences of change are for individual managers and, more broadly, for management capacity building in the sector. There has already been considerable media and policy interest in the findings.
At a theoretical level, the thesis considers the implications of change for the notion of managerialism in a higher education context. By comparing the empirical data with indicators of an ideal-type managerialism I have developed, it has been possible to explore the extent to which managerialism is manifesting itself in practice. I also subject to critical examination the prevailing academic 'misery narrative' which holds that academic power is declining in favour of that of managers.
"I am currently Sue's PhD supervisor and she is a joy to supervise. Her research topic is a really interesting and neglected one: the nature of change in senior management teams in Universities; it links into issues of new public management, managerialism and gender.
She is a real self-starter: very well organised, full of interesting ideas and has managed to design and generate an incomparable data set from surveys and interviews. The thesis is really set to make a major theoretical and empirical contribution.
She has developed excellent research and presentation skills and matured as a thinker during her PhD, transferable skills that will be highly marketable after she has finished the thesis."
Sarah Vickerstaff, Professor of Work and Employment, University of Kent
Copyright Sue Shepherd 2014