Starter for ten
Jane Longmore is Professor of Urban History and deputy vice-chancellor at Southampton Solent University, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, chair of the HEA’s National Advisory Forum for History and a member of the Quality Assurance Agency’s Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers. Her career in higher education management spans more than twenty years and she has worked in a broad range of higher education institutions in the UK since the late 1970s. She publishes in the field of pedagogy as well as in urban history. As Project Sponsor for the £11.3m Strategic Development Programme at Southampton Solent, she co-ordinated the original bid in 2007, led the programme from 2009 to 2012 and oversaw the submission of the final report to Hefce in 2013. She is a happy alumna of TMP 14.
- What is the best piece of management/leadership advice you have ever been given? Nobody likes to be led by a pessimist.
- Who would you most like to have worked with? Germaine Greer – a courageous and wry critic of gender inequality.
- What is the biggest change you have seen in management/leadership approaches? A shift away from the heroic loner leading from the front (without checking whether anyone is following) to a more effective, team-based approach.
- Who has inspired you most in your working life? Students.
- What was the best professional move you made and why? The move from a part-time Lectureship to applying to be Head of Department – prompted by my colleagues after an evening in a Belgian bar. We were on a field trip to the battlefields of the Western Front. This may not have been an entirely auspicious start but they gave me the confidence to start a management career.
- Which six leaders, past or present, would you invite to a dinner party and why? Aung San Suu Kyi - for her grace and courage under pressure; Jane Austen – for her acute observation and wit; William Gladstone – for becoming more, not less, radical as he grew older; Martin Luther King – for the pleasure of seeing his response to the election of America’s first black president; Hannah Lightbody, an obscure 18th century diarist – to speak for all those who have been hidden from history; Marie Curie – to secure STEM funding for the event.
- What will be the most enduring TMP learning point? The importance of authenticity in leadership.
- Have you continued to meet/engage with your TMP Fellows? Yes – eight of us meet regularly. It is easily the most valuable and supportive network in my professional life.
- What piece of advice would you give to someone starting off their career? Bin the plan – careers don’t run along tracks - and be open to opportunities.
- What one thing would make your job easier? Banning breakfast meetings.
- What’s been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it? Securing substantial external funding to support and deliver a high profile institutional change programme; no short cuts on this one, just long hours and total determination.
- What would be your priority activity if you were the invisible woman for a day? Living ‘the student experience’ for a day. We are products of a very different era.
- Tell us a secret about yourself? I’m a dab hand at darts.
- If you could get tickets to any event in the world what would it be? The first performance of the Goldberg Variations.
- What can’t you live without? My trusty briefcase – full of rubber bands, the occasional cereal bar (missed lunch again), spare glasses (hard to chair meetings without being able to read the agenda) and our administrative team’s entire collection of pens (they always know where to look).
- What would you be if you weren’t a DVC? Well-rested and better company at parties.
- Favourite Book? R.J.Unstead’s ‘Looking at History’ first triggered my disciplinary interest more years ago than I care to remember. I still have my original copy which I pinched from my brothers, both now scientists.