Tuesday, 15 August 2017


Time marches on

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It is three years since Franz Schaffhauser first took the chop for not resolving the problems of the then Pető Institute. The dust has yet to settle, and three years may yet not yet be enough time for historical perspective and reassessment.

Three years do, however, seem quite a long time in human and institutional terms, long enough at least for the following:
  • Franz reappointed
  • inauguration of the new chancellor system of governance, with appointment of a Chancellor and his department to run the administration
  • re-creation as a college
  • Franz replaced again, by a new Rector
  • the whole organisation (its administration and its professional management, and all that it does and owns) incorporated into Semmelweis Medical University as a faculty.
Franz and the system that he headed could not deliver everything that was required by those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation. The range and incompatibility of these constituencies, who knew?

Now, the arrangements that followed have themselves failed to meet the expectations of those who felt themselves to have stakes in the operation, so here we are three years later with a re-wiped slate, To meet what range and compatibility of requirements? Whatever the perceived problems, a new system of governance will be tried, along with wholly unfamiliar academic requirements.

Critical for the outcome of the next phase may not be a matter simply of the structures and people who emerge to run this new show. It may also prove a factor of the expectations and demands that will be made of the new, dependent institution. Who knows what these might be...

In the meantime, ready or not, not just Franz's contribution will be viewed in a different perspective, increasingly the rest of the story, before, after and since, will look different too.

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