Cuts in courses aim to avoid “bad results for graduates”
An email sent to staff at London South Bank University (LSBU) described potential reductions in humanities undergraduate courses due to “poor graduate performance” which will be “penalized” by the Students Office (OfS ), according to the Guardian.
History and geography will no longer be accessible to students, and the total course reductions could amount to two-thirds of the undergraduate degrees currently offered by LSBU, from 155 to 50.
Several courses have already been withdrawn from UCAS during the admissions process “without any prior consultation with relevant staff”, and after giving students offers that have now had to be revoked. A speaker said: “The story had 60 live apps when it was retired.”
These sudden cuts in courses follow measures taken by the government and the OfS to reduce “low-value” degrees that do not “lead to increased income”. In the email to LSBU staff, Pro-Vice Chancellor Deborah Johnston said that due to LSBU’s “below industry average” results, they should “change these stats as a matter of priority to avoid OfS sanctions ”.
The UCU contends that the university did not properly consult with staff on course cancellations and wrote to LSBU Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix, calling for “a suspension of the portfolio review which triggered a generalized anxiety ”.
They say staff have been “thrown under the bus” due to the university’s desperation to align with government budget cuts, with one LSBU speaker saying: “It’s absolutely not clear to us. There is a lot of fear.
“In one case, a staff member discovered that her course had been closed because a potential student could not find the course on the UCAS website.”
The university responded to this reaction and to the Guardian report highlighting the decrease in undergraduate courses from 155 to 50, stating: “A simple course count is too simplistic and static an approach to understand what students can study. and learn at LSBU. The improvements we are making will mean that many specialties of subjects that were previously only available in fragmented courses will be reduced.
“History and geography have been recent additions to the LSBU portfolio, but have failed to generate significant student interest in their current form. Fewer than 20 undergraduates were enrolled in these two fields this year.
“Overall, there has been very little change.
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