Engaging with the Bigger Picture – Professor David Galbreath

Posted in: AUA Talks

Earlier this week, Bath AUA launched its 2017/18 Events Programme with a talk by Professor David Galbreath, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

David spoke to us about the Faculty, his role as Dean, and his own research --in international security, military and strategic theory, emergent warfare, science and technology advances, and arms control.

The theme of this year’s AUA programme is ‘engaging with the bigger picture’, and David’s talk provided plenty of food for thought for AUA members. His overview of the Faculty structure was helpful (particularly for those of us outside the Faculty). He also encouraged us to think beyond formal structures, about the Faculty’s broader global aims. He summarised these as:

  • A fairer society;
  • A secure society;
  • A healthy society;
  • Enabling society.

These bigger picture aims have drawn many people towards a career in University administration, and it was pleasing to hear David talk about them inclusively as shared goals. David outlined how the Faculty was working collaboratively towards these aims through research, public engagement, and teaching --focussed not only on employability, but also citizenship.

The Faculty is well placed in The Guardian League Tables. It has become increasingly innovative in its teaching, and has some exciting future programmes planned. David highlighted the Faculty’s diversity as one of its key strengths.

David’s presentation also touched on key challenges, reflecting wider challenges within the sector including political uncertainties around student fees and Brexit. The Faculty needs to remain competitive and ambitious in this environment, particularly in its efforts to grow PGT numbers.

Achieving a healthy work/life balance has also become a significant challenge for many people. The demands of KPI requirements (such as REF, TEF and NSS), and the need to secure research funding, place additional stress on academic staff – and impinge upon their capacity for creative thinking and innovation. David spoke personally about the challenges he has experienced as a Dean with a young family and ongoing research interests. Finding the time to read, and the headspace to think, is critical.

Although the challenges of work/life balance are experienced individually, David’s talk made it clear that this is also a shared challenge. He talked about working with HR to manage mental health, and finding ways to ease pressure on staff -- to give them space to be creative in a creative industry.

David’s parting words emphasised the importance of recognising the people who make University processes work, and of working collaboratively across the University and its micro-cultures.

The talk was an excellent introduction to Bath AUA’s ‘Engaging with the Bigger Picture’ series. As an administrator working outside the Faculty, I walked away feeling both engaged and included in the Faculty’s aims for the future.

Jen Scheppers

AUA Member


Posted in: AUA Talks


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