As a graduate of the University of Dundee and elected member of Dundee City Council representing the area that includes the university campus, I write to express deep concern over the Academic Excellence and Structure Proposal currently under consideration by the University of Dundee.

I consider the proposals to be ill-considered and would formally request that these are dropped.     Potential compulsory redundancies of 34 academic posts, with probable additional reduction in support staff is of real concern and cannot be justified.   It will have a really detrimental impact on student teaching and the student experience and make the university a less attractive option to potential new students.     It will also result in further strain on already overworked staff.  The University should remove threats of compulsory redundancies and, at the very least, look at options to rebalance the staffing in the affected areas by natural turnover over the next few years.

The paper proposes the merger of three schools into one, generic, school of social sciences and this is unwise.     There are concerns that the Schools of Humanities, Education and Social Work and Social Sciences at the university have been historically underfunded in areas like marketing and recruitment.   I feel this this proposal is another in a long line of cuts to these schools.      It has the potential to result in the suspension of 30 programmes and such a reduction in the number of modules available will directly impact students, the quality of degrees and the attractiveness of the university to future students.

A lot of programmes, including CEPMLP and the wider School of Medicine, rightly have an excellent reputation in the national and international community.    Merging schools would lead to this loss of identity and the resulting lack of specialisation of schools with the potential to deter future applicants.   This would have an impact on the funding options available, particularly for current students, as well as the prestige of degrees offered.

There are concerns over the speed and transparency of the process.    I understand the proposals are scheduled for approval next month.   I feel the proposal’s consultation and design process has an overly fast turnaround.    There is significant unease in how feedback from staff and students can really help to shape the proposals being suggested given this alarmingly short timescale.

I have sent this concern to Mr Lochhead and Scottish Funding Council representatives as I consider it important that Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council is aware of the concerns that exist around these proposals. office

Bailie Fraser Macpherson

Councillor for the West End, Liberal Democrat Group Leader – Dundee City Council