Future proofing higher education
Future Proofing Higher Education the annual
joint LF/Hefce conference took place at the end
of January. The keynote was given by Matthew
Taylor of the RSA - see Strategic Reflections,
page 5. The photographs show (left) Steve West,
vice-chancellor, University of the West of England
with Ewart Wooldridge, chief executive of the
Leadership Foundation after the launch of the
Innovation and Transformation Fund; to the
right, Alison Johns, Hefce’s head of Leadership,
Governance and Management announces the
Leading Transformational Change projects. E
Starter for Ten
Professor Cliff Hardcastle
Professor Cliff Hardcastle is deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Business Engagement) at the University of Teesside.
He is presently chair of the Executive Committee of Universities for the North East, a member of the board of RTC
North and a member of the Hefce Enterprise and Skills Committee. He was formerly chair of CIOB (Scotland) and
a member of RICS Research Committee. Cliff has also been Visiting Professor to the Royal Melbourne Institute of
Technology University and been invited to lecture in the USA, China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa
and Hong Kong. His research interests include procurement systems and sustainability in the built environment.
Cliff is an alumnus of TMP 17.
What is the best piece of leadership advice
you have ever been given?
Take your responsibilities seriously but never take
Who would you most like to have worked
President Jed Bartlet of ‘West Wing’ fame.
The greatest President the USA never had.
Nelson Mandela. Who would not invite Mandela
if they had the chance? A towering figure of
the 20th century but a man with such warmth
Robert Kennedy. A man who demonstrated in
his short life so much compassion and caring for
his fellow citizens but was not allowed to fulfil his
promise. I would take the dinner opportunity to
find out more about his plans for change and what
Mikhail Gorbachev. What was it that inspired him
to change the political system of the USSR? Was he
afraid during the transition and what does he think
of Russia now? I would love to know.
Sir Bobby Robson. Such a warm person, who
achieved success while still retaining his belief in
people despite the huge egos in the game. He
proved that nice people can win.
Janet Hampson. My wife and the leader of the
household. I couldn’t contemplate a dinner party
At this point there is a great temptation to relax
and just enjoy it. The challenge is whether or not
to break out of the comfort zone. Genuine
satisfaction comes from making that jump
into new responsibilities and challenges and
Tell us a secret about yourself?
I am addicted to bacon sandwiches (not much
of a secret in the office!)
What is the biggest change you have seen in
Greater adoption of a transformational approach
aligned to performance management.
If you could get tickets to any event in the
world what would it be?
To see Newcastle Falcons play in the Heineken
Cup Final, preferably in Paris.
Who has inspired you in your working life?
I have been very fortunate to work with terrific
people and I am always inspired to do more by the
people I work most closely with: my school senior
management team when I was a dean at Glasgow
Caledonian University, the director of Academic
Enterprise, and the dean of the Graduate Research
School at Teeside University and of course my
present vice-chancellor. All are great people and
all very inspirational.
What can’t you live without?
My iPhone. Sadly I am lost without it.
What will you remember most about TMP?
The sharing of experiences and challenges
with colleagues in TMP. Very honest, supportive
What would you be if you weren’t in
I would be in construction and development.
Hopefully I would be running my own business
but instead I could be tramping about in the
mud carrying a theodolite and tripod in some
obscure part of the world.
What was the best professional move you
made and why?
I worked in construction prior to taking my first
degree and on graduation had the chance to
move to the Middle East with a major contractor
or take up a research assistantship at Strathclyde
University. I chose the latter and am glad I did.
What will be the most enduring learning point?
Someone once told me that a trouble shared is a
trouble doubled but I learned from the TMP that
when you are struggling with an issue there is
everything to be gained from seeking the advice
of a trusted colleague. If you don’t have the answer
they may well have.
Which six leaders, past or present, would you
invite to a dinner party and why?
Jack Kerouac. He hated to be called the ‘Leader
of the Beat Generation’ but that would be my
excuse for inviting someone who came from a
working class childhood, won a sports scholarship
to Columbia University, had the talent to potentially
have become an American Football star but
instead chose to become a writer of wonderfully
vibrant and colourful novels.
What’s been your biggest professional
challenge and how did you overcome it?
Sometimes one’s professional life can become
comfortable, you understand the issues and you
have found the solutions to the current problems.
‘On the Road’by Jack Kerouac. I read this when
I was a young man and it filled me with the
excitement of the open road, freedom from
responsibility and of course the United States
of America. I haven’t been able to avoid
responsibility but I still enjoy driving round
What one thing would make your job easier?
An 8 day week.
BBC News page. I am afraid I am inherently
curious. I love to know what is going on in
the world. E