We are sad to announce the sudden death of David at his home in California on Wednesday, 5 February 2020. This is a shock to many of us with fond memories of David, during the 1990s and until his retirement in 2009. He was enjoying his retirement with a new life and partner, his wife Ramona, in Carlsbad, California.
David began his working life on the shop floor of Westlands Helicopter. He came to the University as a mature student, studying for the BSc in Economics and Politics. He went on to secure an upper second, writing an impressive dissertation on consumer debt. He then joined the School of Social Sciences as School Administrator, learning the art of managing the academics who had been his teachers.
The School of Social Sciences divided into three departments in 1997 - Economics and International Development (DEID), Social and Policy Sciences, Psychology. This was a major transformation: David worked closely with Graham Room, the Head of School, in navigating us through that process. He then became Administrator of DEID.
This was a time of major change in the management of teaching and assessment, entailing more formal processes and adherence to a stronger regulatory environment, both for approval of courses and awarding of degree classifications. Inevitably there was resistance from those academics who were used to more discretion and less bureaucracy. David mediated this tension between academics and the University’s requirements with quiet assurance.
Geof Wood took over as Head of Department in 2000 and enjoyed a very positive relationship with David as Department Administrator. Although David had been planning to take early retirement, he was persuaded to stay on, to Geof’s great relief, since the challenge of an external teaching quality assessment was upon us. David and Cathy Winnett, the Director of Studies also worked very well together during these changes. The result was a stunning success in evaluation terms: 24/24!
David had the loyalty of his team – Sally Rose, Joanne Schol, Maggie Smith and Sandra Swaby - who appreciated his support and confidence. It was a good working atmosphere. David was extremely hard working - he saw his responsibilities as 24/7. In the run up to exam boards, Boards of Studies and departmental meetings, he could often be found in the office in the early mornings and over the weekends, making sure that everything was in position. He also acted as admissions tutor and participated in the placements process, undertaking placement visits right up to retirement.
David developed a passion for playing the Spanish guitar and enjoyed competitive games of squash.
David was a rather quiet man, overly modest. He built strong friendships across the office - we were glad to count ourselves among them. He was an ideal Administrator for all of us and good company too.
We have of course missed him for some years since he retired and left us for California, with the occasional visits back to Bath. We now feel a real sense of loss – but this of course much stronger for Ramona and his daughter Claire. Our condolences and sorrowful best wishes to them.