Sunday, 13 May 2012

MBAs, Foucault’s Pendulum, the Price of a Dewclaw, and the Best School!

One of the really good things about working in a University is that among other things, one gets paid to read. Last week I was preparing my profile for our new School web page and in doing this I sat and read my CV recalling that I first went to University in 1992 to study on a part time MBA programme. I graduated in 1995. I recall those three years with great fondness – it was the closest I have ever come to being a university student. And it was Harvard University who in 1908 offered the world’s first MBA programme. Almost 50 years later, the MBA became a recognised award in Europe, with the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires offering the first MBA degree, although it took a further 8 years before the Manchester Business School offered the first UK MBA in 1965.

And last week I was reading about the properties of pendulums. Now you might find that strange, but for what can only be described as serendipitous reasons, the concept of the pendulum has featured in many of my communications last week. For example, I was looking at the somewhat polemic papers I had written during those MBA years that explored the notion of countervailing process of power as health care policy gets translated into health care practice. In terms of pendulums, most people will be familiar with Galileos attraction of the shimmering swinging chandelier in the Pisa Cathedral that sparked his work on how the pendulum operated and which became crucial to our notion of how we might measure time.

However, last week I was drawn more to ideas as espoused by Foucault about his concnern over the oscillation properties of a pendulum. Now this Foucault is one Jean Barnard Léon Foucault and not my favourite philosopher, Michael Foucault. Jean showed that the plane of oscillation of a pendulum, like a gyroscope tends to stay constant regardless of the motion of the pivot – his example was the Earths rotation. Being someone who adores and embraces metaphor, I wondered how others might see my oscillations, whether these be in relationship terms or in decision making contexts, and if despite such oscillations (however challenging these might be for others to experience), my self could ever be seen to remain constant.

In these musings I can of course rely upon my four legged companion Cello for an un ashamedly neutral view. Unfortunately, last week Cello had problems with an errant dewclaw (sometimes referred to as a Dogs Thumb). Uncomplaining as ever, it only became apparent that there were problem when Cello cried at being groomed and the brush touched his inner leg. A quick visit to the vet for a consultation (£75) later, revealed a rogue Dewclaw needing treatment. Treatment given (£250) and one seriously fed up little dog later, I was left wondering what it was I had paid for. The Dewclaw, even when removed, can and will grow back! Good business if you can get it.

The best conversation of the week has to be the one I had with colleagues from Libya.

And the 2012 Best School in the University – as voted by the University of Salford Student Union members was...

...School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work...

...enough said!