Credit: UofG Photographic Unit 2022

“Reputation management must be a collaborative endeavour”, says UofG Deputy Vice-Chancellor

By Odhran Gallagher

Writing for Times Higher Education, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Rachel Sandison, has discussed the role of reputation management in higher education.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Rachel Sandison, has written an article in The Times Higher Education on reputation management for universities. The article was written as part of a series of “comment pieces on reputation and higher education” published in the lead-up to the release of the world university reputation rankings on 16 November, which saw UofG come in the 101-125th range.

Sandison began her article by discussing the idea that the role of reputation may not be considered important in relation to an educational institution: “The world of academia has either been suspicious or dismissive of marketing’s influence within the ivory tower, where the idea of having ‘customers’ is anathema.”

She made clear that she believes in the importance of good reputation management as it “drives financial security, reduces risk, and enhances competitiveness, conferring tangible benefits, including the ability to recruit and retain talent.”

Sandison cited the University of Glasgow’s ‘Global Glasgow: International Strategy  2025’ plan, which the University published in February of this year after being selected as The Times Scottish University of the Year, in which reputation is dedicated as one of the four pillars.

“The Global Reputation pillar supports our bold institutional objectives with the aim to be at the forefront of people’s minds when considering the world’s best universities and to be recognised as the World-Changing University…This approach recognises that reputation management must be a collaborative endeavour with reputation, recruitment, research and relationships.”

The article also made reference to the University’s historical links to the slave trade, and the reparation work it undertook, informed by partner institution the University of the West Indies, which Sandison calls “bold, value-led action.”

Sandison concluded the article by making the point that “although there is no silver bullet to reputation management, what we have learnt is that partnership is pivotal.”

This article comes under two months after the University medical school was forced to acknowledge gender-based discrimination on campus after complaints were made about the head of the undergraduate medical school, John Paul Leach. Last month, a senior academic Dr James Going resigned, publishing an open letter to the University Principal Anton Muscatelli in which he criticised a sexist culture in the Medical School and wrote that he “no longer cares to be associated with the University.”   

The full article can be read here.


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