Scores of jobs set to go as UK universities axe courses

Arts and humanities programmes will be closed at Roehampton and Wolverhampton, with De Montfort also cutting jobs

五月 19, 2022

Scores of academic and professional service staff are facing redundancy after three UK universities announced their intention to shut courses and close departments.

In recent days, the University of Wolverhampton, De Montfort University and the University of Roehampton have all unveiled major cost-cutting programmes with job losses concentrated mostly in arts, humanities and social science subjects.

At Roehampton, 226 academics have been notified that their jobs are at risk in what the university called a “strategic realignment” that will see cuts to its philosophy, anthropology, Classics and creative writing programmes.

One academic at Roehampton described the proposed cuts as “heartbreaking”. “This is effectively dismantling what had become one of the best modern universities in the region,” said Lia Betti, senior lecturer in evolutionary anthropology, on Twitter.

In a statement, Roehampton said it would “anticipate a net reduction of around 64 full-time equivalent academic posts overall” as a result of “student demand evolving”.

“We are also facing financial challenges due to a range of factors, including caps on regulated tuition fees, removal of the ‘London weighting’ element of the teaching grant, rises in costs, liabilities and inflation,” a spokeswoman said.

“We will be consulting on ceasing new enrolments to a small number of courses which have experienced a significant fall in demand, and we are also launching new career-focussed courses across all our academic departments," she added.

Wolverhampton has suspended recruitment to 138 undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses. Among the 47 courses in performing arts being “paused” for enrolment are music, drama and acting and audio technology, its local University and College Union branch reported.

That decision was taken because “enrolments have been falling with associated loss of income” while costs have “significantly increased”, explained interim vice-chancellor Ian Campbell.

“The reduction in student income, combined with increases in pay and non-pay costs including pension costs, alongside the impact of the pandemic, means the university is facing a very challenging financial landscape and a significant deficit in the current financial year,” said Professor Campbell. The university has instigated a voluntary severance scheme as part of its “robust recovery plan”, he added.

Wolverhampton said it was seeking to “consolidate” some courses after a review that looked at application data, graduate employment results and student satisfaction.

At De Montfort, the university said it anticipated a “net reduction of 58 roles across academic and professional services”, with “the removal of some posts but, in some cases, the introduction of new roles”.

The cuts were the consequence of “reduced student numbers as a result of the global pandemic and teacher assessed grades”, which have “had a profound effect on our budget”, a spokesman said.

“Having already implemented a comprehensive set of measures including voluntary severance, we are left with having to make the hardest decision we could and review staffing costs, which may result in reductions to posts and redundancies,” he said.



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