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1:42pm on Monday, 15th September, 2014:
We had a staff meeting today at which we selected the next Head of Department. This wasn't hard, as there was only one candidate.
Hmm, that's not strictly true. There were four or five candidates, but the Department's nomination has to be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor for approval. The VC let it be known that there was only one candidate he would approve, so the others were obliged to drop out of the running. This is not how things have been done in the past, so there is something of a question mark over the procedural regularity of the way this has been handled.
However, being angry with the nominator does not mean you have to be angry with the nominated, and as it happens we have an excellent nominee who would probably have been nominated anyway if we'd been given a free vote. It's Simon Lucas, one of our two games professors (I'm the other one). This is both good and bad for games at Essex. It's good, in that there's someone in charge who may do something to promote our games offerings (in particular, we may get the Games MSc we've been pitching for several years). However, it's bad in that being Head of Department leaves little time to do anything else, so we're effectively going to be losing his games teaching for at least 3 years (and 6 if he wins a second term). He supervises around 10 PhD students, too, which will soak up much of his non-HoD time.
Overall, though, I think it's a slight win for games at Essex University that he's going to be the new HoD, and a major win for the Department. My only major worry is that the university high-ups do the same thing they did with the outgoing HoD: they promoted her to head of a new section, so we won't have her teaching for us again (a shame, as she won an award for her teaching in her pre-HoD incarnation). If they promote Simon to the higher eschelons of university management, I'll be the only games person left.
Every silver lining has a cloud...
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