Originally Published 03 March 2002
Donald arrived at Warwick at the beginning of the spring term. He was previously Director of Human Resources at the University of St Andrews.
I have been at Warwick for almost six weeks now and during that time have come to appreciate and admire the diversity and range of activities that make up this University. I am someone who is, so to speak, born and bred in higher education having spent the last twenty years in the University of St Andrews - the last eleven of those as Director of Personnel Services and latterly as Director of Human Resources. While St Andrews is in many respects a very different institution to Warwick it does share some very important characteristics, not least of which is a complete commitment to academic excellence - something which is very close to my own heart. The exciting aspect of joining Warwick at this juncture in its history stems from the range of academic and support activities which are going on in the University and the standing of the institution in whatever league table you choose to mention.
This is also an interesting time in my own field of personnel. As is the case for many organisations we face challenging times ahead in the way that we may choose to structure work in Higher Education. Those of you who follow negotiations at national level will be aware of the range of items that employers and trades unions are discussing with a view to entering into new arrangements that will serve both Universities and their employees well in the 21st century. I am acutely conscious that the success of the University rests with both its academic and related and support staff. An important part of my role is to help develop and maintain structures and a culture which enables colleagues to work effectively over the coming years. My intention is to visit over the next few months as many academic and support departments as I can, as it is important for me to establish effective links with as many parts of the University as possible. As far as my own role is concerned my door is always open to anyone who wishes to raise issues of concern.
I am greatly looking forward to getting to know new colleagues across the University in the coming months and years. I hope that you will also feel able to make contact with me, or colleagues in my office, for advice, guidance or simply to sound one of us out about a particular issue.
Donald Beaton can be contacted on extension 22728 or e-mail: D.D.Beaton@warwick.ac.uk