Professor Michael J. G. Farthing (born 1948) a British physician, medical researcher and academic administrator. He is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, having succeeded Professor Alasdair Smith in September 2007. Prior to his appointment as Vice Chancellor at Sussex, his academic career was in Medicine, specialising in Gynaecology.
Since becoming Vice-Chancellor at Sussex, Michael Farthing has led the creation of a new strategic plan for the University - Making the future, which sets out a controversial growth agenda for Sussex, planning to grow its research income, double international student numbers and increase engagement with the business community. The plan also puts significant investment into the campus itself, with new academic buildings and residences on campus to support academic growth and to respond to student demand. In July 2012 Michael Farthing demonstrated his medical expertise gained and closed the university’s Centre for Community Engagement (CCE), leading to a number of redundancies. CCE had played an important role offering lifelong learning and part-time degrees and short courses for those in employment and otherwise unable to attend university.
The term Making the future draws from a phrase used by the first Vice-Chancellor, Lord Fulton, which said that higher education at Sussex was concerned with making the future.
Michael Farthing has also led a move to greater international activity by the University, personally leading the creation of partnerships with institutions in China. This internationalisation has led to the appointment of a member of the executive specifically to lead this area of University work for the future.
Under his leadership, the University has also been restructured to create 13 schools of studies (beginning in August 2009), including the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, dramatically altering the scope for interdisciplinary communication and collaboration for which Sussex has been known. These new schools are headed by leading academics appointed from within the University and from institutions elsewhere.
Since taking office, Farthing has effectively disbanded the renowned Linguistics Department — a move condemned by Noam Chomsky as "a serious blow to the intellectual life of the university" — and cut funding to many others. Whilst he is credited for having improved the University's finances, his large-scale culling of academic and other staff initiated in November 2009 has been unpopular, and has provoked strike action by the UCU lecturers union and widespread civil disobedience by students on the campus. In addition to the wide criticism by faculty and students alike of Farthing's proposals, there have also been a number of protests and occupations taking place at the University.
Controversy over protest
In early 2013, the level of student protest at Sussex over privatisation resulted in Farthing publicly considering the defunding or underfunding of the Student Union and in December Farthing took action to suspend five students associated with recent occupations of administration buildings and restrict them from returning to campus. This action required a court order as it was not already within the authority of the Vice-Chancellor's office. A motion to retract the suspensions was raised in the House of Commons but was ultimately tabled.
Academic career in medicine
Prior to his appointment as Vice Chancellor at Sussex, Professor Farthing's academic career was in medicine. He graduated from University College, London (UCL) and the University College Hospital Medical School in 1972 and held posts in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and St Bartholomew's Hospital ("Barts"), London, specialising in Gastroenterology.
He has been Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology to the British Army since 1991, and is a member of the Editorial Boards of a number of national and international Gastroenterology journals. He was President of the British Society of Gastroenterology for 2007-08. 
As a member of the Education Committee of the General Medical Council, Farthing played a part in curriculum planning for the new Medical School established jointly by the Universities of Hull and York, opened at the same time as the similar establishment created by Sussex along with the University of Brighton.
He served as chair of the Committee on Publication Ethics (Cope).
His last post before moving to Sussex was as principal of St George's medical school, University of London. He is the 2009-10 Chair of the Health and Social Care Policy Committee of Universities UK.
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- "Prof Michael Farthing". University of Sussex. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
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- "BSG Council 2007-2008". British Society of Gastroenterology. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- Crace, John (February 11, 2003). "Peer trouble. How failsafe is our current system at ensuring the quality and integrity of research?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- "Sussex appoints new VC". The Guardian. May 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-03.