Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Update on the proposed closure of learning/writing development ...

I have written about the proposed deletion of learning and writing development at my university - and there was much concern at the news... This is to update people on 'the story so far'...

First of all I would like to thank every body who wrote to us and to the VC ... and to the Times Higher, the blogs and twitters ... your support has been wonderful and very important.

The outcome has been that whilst the overall cut has been reduced, we do still lose the Learning Development Unit and the Writing Centre on the 31st July 2011 - with a significant loss of administrative and academic staff, and the end of direct support given to students from these offices.

A new Centre is to emerge on the 1st August that combines the remaining Education,
Writing, Learning & Blended Learning Development people: The Centre for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT).

The CELT's role and activities will be primarily staff facing and will include: support for curriculum transformation, including via the embedding of academic literacies; promotion of blended learning; professional development in learning and teaching; policy development; income generation through third stream activity; and 'co-curricular learning & writing development'. This latter can be loosely described as supporting the Faculties with supporting students.

Since this latter announcement, our VC has spoken on Channel 4 and Sky News about the need to reduce our courses (from over 400 to some 160) and consequently to significantly reduce staffing (it is rumoured by 70%). The first move in that direction has been the announcement of the expunging of the majority of our Humanities courses with the axing of philosophy, history, caribbean studies, theatre studies and performing arts. We now understand the meaning of pyrrhic victory - though I guess future generations of our students will not.

Thank you again for your concern and your support; alas, I think that the struggle for meaningful higher education in England is just beginning.