…Earns N168,480,000 per annum
Britain’s highest paid university vice-chancellor has stepped down amid a row over her pay but will receive her full salary until 2019 in a generous “golden goodbye”.
Rosemary Bennett reporting for The Times of London said Dame Glynis Breakwell, vice-chancellor of Bath University whose salary package is £468,000, (about N168,480,000) will leave her post at the end of the summer term next year.
However, she will take a sabbatical on full pay before retiring in February 2019. The university revealed that it will also write off the interest-free loan for her £31,000 car which she can keep.
On the league of highbrow pay in Britain’s education board, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Britain’s highest paid university vice chancellor has seen her salary treble from £155,000 in 2001 to £468,000 (N168,480,000) this year.
The school was once best known for degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial placements and vast sporting facilities where Olympians would come to train.
Today, Bath University is synonymous with vice-chancellors’ pay. Dame Glynis Breakwell, who has led the university since 2001, has a pay package of £468,000, making her the UK’s best-paid vice-chancellor.
Dame Glynis, 65, has faced pressure to quit since she became the focus of controversy over salaries across the university sector.
She is the highest paid vice-chancellor and although Bath has performed well on her 17-year watch the university still has some way to go to become outstanding.
Despite the row over her pay, she accepted another above-inflation pay rise this year of £17,500. Applications to Bath dropped this academic year and the normally timid university watchdog Hefce has issued a critical report on Dame Glynis’s handling of the pay row.
She survived by three votes a no-confidence motion sprung on her last week by Bath University’s senate, a committee of academic colleagues.
Staff and students were due to march on tomorrow’s meeting of the university’s full council with more than a thousand expected to attend.
The former education minister Lord Adonis has been her strongest critic, calling her pay “shameless” and prompting the Hefce inquiry.
He said: “This is the worst case of fat-cat pay but there are many others paid far too much and the spotlight is now on them to cut their pay sharply or resign.”
Sir Christopher Snowden, of the University of Southampton, is seen as the next most vulnerable. He received £352,000 between joining the university in October 2015 and July last year, including pension payments, compared with his predecessor’s salary of £227,000 five years ago.
The university has been rated a third-class bronze in the government’s new teaching league tables. Sir Christopher has been singled out by Jo Johnson, the universities minister, as an example of pay excess.
Lord Adonis criticised the pay-off for Dame Glynis, calling it “outrageous”. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said:
“The vice-chancellor should leave immediately to allow for a clean break and for Bath to start to recover its reputation for academic excellence.” Bath said that the departure period would “enable an orderly transition”.
Dame Glynis will not be entitled to a final salary pension, but one pensions expert said: “She will not be a badly off pensioner.”
Dame Glynis said: “I will be standing down as vice-chancellor on August 31, 2018. On that day, I will have been in post 17 years, which is one third of the lifetime of the university.
“I have served the university to the best of my ability and will continue to do so until the day I leave office. Since 2001 the university has almost tripled in size and is now among the top universities in the UK.”
Meanwhile, academics say vice-chancellor’s pay “tarnishes” our reputation.
Bath University is now a byword for the vast salaries given to higher education chiefs
The serious-minded students of Bath are not easily moved to demonstrate but this Thursday hundreds are planning to march to Council Chamber, where the university’s governing body is due to meet.
For many, the tragedy of the pay row is that it has eclipsed how well the university has done on Dame Glynis’s watch.
Bath has risen in the league tables, more than doubled its student population and tripled its research portfolio. It won gold in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework.
Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire and one of four politicians who resigned from the governing body in protest at the pay row, said: “I am deeply dismayed at what is happening.
The university has done very well under her leadership and nothing that has happened should detract from the achievements she has made.
“But it is the case that she is by a long way the best remunerated vice-chancellor in the country while Bath remains a middle-ranking university. The fault lies with the system that allows this to happen. It’s not fit for purpose.”
The row appears to be having an impact on its appeal to prospective students. Applications to Bath have suffered a sharp fall in the first stage of the 2018 admissions process.
The biggest decline has been among students from India, China and other countries outside the EU, which universities battle over because they pay full fees.
Their applications have fallen by 18.5 per cent. In contrast there has been an 11.5 per cent jump for Bath’s closest six rivals in the same period.
In the wider outrage over pay, Dame Glynis has become the lightning rod, a role that may seem unfair given that the vice-chancellors of Imperial College London, Birmingham and Exeter are not far behind.
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