|Pat Bailey trained as a chemist at Oxford University, and has held academic posts at York, Heriot-Watt, Manchester and Keele Universities. He has been a professor of chemistry since 2001, and his research focuses on organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry and drug delivery. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2005, and he was associate dean for teaching and learning at Manchester, before moving to Keele University in 2008 as dean of natural sciences and PVC for environment & sustainability. He has just moved to London South Bank University as deputy vice-chancellor. Pat is an alumnus of TMP 27.|
What is the best piece of management/leadership advice you have ever been given? Things are never as good as you hope, or as bad as you fear
What is the biggest change you have seen in management/leadership approaches? In universities, probably the increasing tension of coping with short-term pressures whilst trying to set longer term strategic aims
Who is your inspiring leader and why? Mahatma Gandhi – he showed how humility can run alongside great leadership; Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi are also in the running
What was the best professional move you made and why? My latest move is always my best - the chance to make a difference somewhere else, and to be involved in fresh challenges and opportunities
Which six leaders, past or present, would you invite to a dinner party and why? I suspect a dinner party with six leaders might be pretty unbearable, so I’d want a very mixed bunch: Joe Brown (the top rock climber in the 60s) and Edmund Hillary (first to summit Everest, and very involved in support for indigenous people) for their stories of adventure; Tony Benn, brilliant speaker, and involved with so many politicians over a long period; Michael Faraday, as both an outstanding scientist and superb communicator; Carl Djerassi, now a novelist and playwright, but also the inventor of the oral contraceptive, and very involved in women’s rights; Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered quasars whilst a research student, but who has been remarkable in many other ways since then, including the encouraging of more women in science ... and I am embarrassed that my dinner list has 5 men and only one woman!
What will you remember most about TMP? The enormous range of personalities, both in the TMP participants, and the expert speakers - a reminder that there are many ways and styles of being a good leader
What will be the most enduring learning point? A better appreciation of what colleagues with a different set of skills and characteristics to myself can contribute to a team
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting off their career? As many others have said, don’t plan your career in too much detail, and grab opportunities when they come along
What one thing would make your job easier? If I was better at doing lots of work whilst travelling, or having a teleporter to get me instantaneously from A to B
What’s been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it? Developing sustainability at Keele University so that it has become a core theme; lots of enthusiastic individuals and talent, but the key was developing a clear long-term vision, whilst setting very achievable targets year-on-year
What would be your priority activity if you were invisible for a day? Whilst it might be interesting to be a 'fly-on-the-wall' at some important meeting of Cabinet, it would also be tempting to sabotage something ... maybe trashing the Bullingdon Club?
Who would you choose to be stranded on a desert island with? My wife (with our border collie second) ... whoops, forgot about the kids!
Tell us a secret about yourself? I once went skinny dipping in the sea after dark, at a conference in Spain ... and nearly got caught when a group of attendees decided to take a moonlit walk on the beach
What is your favourite book? The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski - the book that really inspired me to become a scientist.
Our popular DVC/PVC network group meets twice a year with a topical agenda, guest speakers and the opportunity to network with colleagues from other institutions. Join us at our next meeting - PVC: What does the modern one do? - Tuesday 9 December in London. Contact Baljit.Chauhan@lfhe.ac.uk to reserve your place.