Roger Mansfield, Sir Julian Hodge Professor of Management and Dean and Acting Head of the School of Healthcare Studies recalls his past 32 years at the university.
Iíve been at the University for 32 years. I have always enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it. The reason why Iím still here, I suppose, is both the way and the speed at which the Institution has developed. Itís been exciting and Iíve been proud to be involved in what I believe has been a great success story. When I came in 1976 to the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (UWIST), it was probably one of the worst university institutions in the UK, bearing in mind that many of todayís universities were polytechnics or colleges then. Now we are clearly up in the top group and that has been achieved in a situation where standards everywhere have been going up. So our improvement has been tremendous.
I moved around very quickly in the early part of my career; starting off by obtaining my degree at Cambridge, followed by a move into the steel industry, back to Cambridge, then to Yale, London Business School and Imperial College before coming to Cardiff. The reason I came to Cardiff was that they offered me a chair at a relatively young age. In fact I was the youngest professor in UWIST for 10 years, which was a quirk of recruitment in a small institution.
My first role at Cardiff was as Professor in Business Administration and one year later I became head of the Department of Business Administration and Accountancy. I continued as Head for some 28 years. During that time, as a consequence of departmental and institutional mergers and a lot of natural growth, that Department metamorphosed into the present Cardiff Business School which was inaugurated in something like its present form by the Prince of Wales in 1987. When I joined the Department of Business Administration and Accountancy in 1976, I was the eleventh member of staff. When I stood down from the Headship 29 years later, the Business School had 276 employees and more students than the whole of UWIST had had when I joined. By then it was regarded as one of the best business schools in Europe.
At one time or another I sat on almost every committee the University had, and most of those of the University of Wales. I had the privilege of being Deputy Principal of UWIST for three years between 1985 and 1988 and a Pro-Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University from 1996 to 2002. Iíve also acted as head of a number of other departments, including Economics and Banking, Consumer Studies, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and since 2006, I have been Head of the School of Healthcare Studies.
The memories that stand out the most include the series of events that led up to the 1988 merger between UWIST and University College, Cardiff. They were dramatic to say the least. It was exciting, dramatic, stressful and some of it unpleasant. I remember when we ( the Officers of UWIST) were called up to London to the headquarters of the University Grants Committee, and in effect given three hours to give our personal commitment to ensure UWIST would merge with University College, Cardiff. We were told that if we didnít give that commitment the UGC would stop paying grant to UCC and it would in effect cease to exist. We retreated at lunch time to a local hostelry to reach our decision. Of course, in reality it was a ďno brainerĒ. It was certainty a good way of getting an academic merger completed quickly as after that things happened at such an incredible speed.
The key strength of the university is its staff. We have very good staff, and the standards have gone up progressively - we now have two Nobel Laureates. When the Prince of Wales came to inaugurate the Cardiff Business School, he said that Cardiff University was an ĎInternational University in Walesí and I completely agree with this. Being international is very important in terms of status and the modern multi-cultural world in which we live, but, based in Wales, we are very much a part of the Welsh community.
Iím very grateful for all the opportunities that Cardiff University has given me and I feel that I have played a part in its development and that of the Cardiff we live in today. Coming to Cardiff has given me the opportunity to do many things I might not have been able to do otherwise. Congratulations Cardiff University for whatís been achieved so far, and letís make sure that keeps on happening!