1,500 courses cut without job losses

December 10, 2004

Students are to be offered less choice at Anglia Polytechnic University from 2006 as the number of course options will be cut from 2,000 to 500.

David Tidmarsh, the vice-chancellor, said the move would "simplify" the course structure at APU, but he does not expect job losses or links with any of the university's 20-plus partner colleges to be cut.

Academics teaching undersubscribed options would focus on popular courses in related disciplines, Professor Tidmarsh said.

He suggested that chemistry faced being "mothballed" because of low demand, while the academics in the department would focus on forensic science, which was "growing dramatically".

Professor Tidmarsh expected each of the university's five schools to develop new courses despite the cuts in course options. He added that there might be new course options related to health and art and design.

Although APU has been operating a voluntary redundancy scheme for the past year, he said that closing course options was not "predicated upon or being driven by" either job losses or the need to cut costs.

But Jenny Golden, regional official for lecturers' union Natfhe, said:

"Academic staff have certainly not been given any indication of implications for staffing levels, but they require firmer assurances.

"There is concern because across the higher education sector the Government appears to have no national plan for the long-term survival of subjects such as civil engineering, pure sciences, languages and geography."

The Times Higher revealed in November that APU had become the first fully fledged university to be told that the Quality Assurance Agency has "limited confidence" in its ability to manage internal quality assurance.

Professor Tidmarsh added: "We want to end up with a better offering for students in a more appropriate range of subjects."

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