Southampton University is set to cut a third of the academic staff in its School of Biological Sciences in a shake-up of the discipline, writes Anthea Lipsett.
The university's council was to ratify the redundancies of 14 academics in the school as The Times Higher went to press. These cuts are likely to be followed by reductions in technical and administrative support staff.
According to union officials, the selection criteria used to identify redundancies focused on research publications and research earnings. This meant that those staff who had the highest teaching loads were most at risk.
The Association for University Teachers claimed that university managers had failed to properly consider the proposed new structure of the school or the number of staff that would be needed to teach the current students.
Catherine Pope, a member of the local AUT executive committee, said: "Compulsory redundancies are not the answer, particularly when we are trying to restructure and turn the school around. Everybody is in favour of making the school better and responding to funding changes and adapting to new kinds of research, but threatening the staff and damaging morale is not the way to do it. It needs positive management. What will happen to teaching loads if a third of staff go?"
David Williams, dean of medicine, health and life sciences, said: "The new Institute for Life Sciences will build on Southampton's strengths across the life sciences."
The changes will not affect students, the university said.