PR lecturer resigns in protest over lack of staff

November 5, 2009

A lecturer has resigned from his job at the London College of Communication, claiming that the institution is not properly supporting its students.

Paul Simpson was course director of the BA in public relations, which survived a cull of 16 out of 19 courses in the School of Creative Enterprise over the summer.

He resigned last week, having raised concerns about the lack of teaching support available for students on the three remaining courses: the BA and MA in public relations, and the BA in creative advertising.

A final-year student on the BA in public relations told Times Higher Education that redundancies meant students were having to cope without dissertation supervision, adding that there were too few personal tutors to go round and that lectures were being cancelled.

Mr Simpson confirmed that he had stepped down in protest against the situation, but declined to make further comment.

His departure leaves only one full-time tutor, Sarah Bowman, the MA course director, on the three remaining courses. All other teaching will now be done by associate lecturers on short-term contracts.

A report in Arts London News, the student newspaper, says that following Mr Simpson's resignation, almost 100 undergraduates attempted to occupy the office of Sandra Kemp, the college's head, in protest against the management of their courses.

The students have filed a list of complaints, including the lack of specialist content, specialist staff and work placements.

They are demanding a public apology and "a return to the 2008-09 staff-to-student ratios, with a particular focus on dissertation supervision".

They claim the lack of specialist teaching is a reason why the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the largest PR institute in Europe, has not accredited the BA course.

A college spokeswoman said it was committed to the remaining courses, which were "continuing to be fully resourced by public relations specialists, both academic and practitioner ... All enrolled students have the necessary supervision."

melanie.newman@tsleducation.com.

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