Last week, an email was circulated to the wider staff body at the University, outlining a number of suggested cost-saving initiatives, including the merger of the School of Humanities, School of Social Sciences and the School of Education and Social Work. This substantial restructure would involve the removal of a number of smaller courses/modules and staff redundancies.

Why Is This Being Proposed?

For a number of years, the University has been struggling financially due to a number of issues. COVID has made the situation much worse and as a result, UoD are looking at a number of ways to reduce costs.

What We Think

Whilst we sympathize with the financial strain of the university, COVID-19 has made 2020 an incredibly difficult year and this proposal adds unnecessary stress to the staff and students it affects.

Due to this and the reasons listed below, the DUSA Executive are against the proposed merger of the three academic schools.

Your student executive, especially the DUSA President, Scott Quinn, have been vocal at high-level meetings, including University Court, that this proposal will have a detrimental impact on the student body and have voted against it being progressed further.

  1. The speed at which this proposal is being advanced suggests that university management are not fully open to consultation and the views of staff/students. Should this be successful, it will be implemented in August 2021. Much smaller projects than this have a much longer planning process which suggests that this is being rushed.
  2. This is another in a long line of unjust cuts to our Humanities department where other institutions are seeing their provision flourish.
  3. Through communications from DUCU, we can see that staff workload is already incredibly high pre-COVID-19, and the removal of key staff will further impact the delivery of education during and post-COVID.
  4. Student Consultation was not intended to be included in the planning process until the DUSA Executive pushed for it.
  5. The affected departments are passionate, close-knit communities and this will have a detrimental impact on the student experience.

What We Need

The DUSA Executive are demanding open and genuine communication with the university between students, their representatives and appropriate staff.

  1. A proper review of the impact on the Student Experience, with a focus on representation, quality of degrees being issued and internationalization.
  2. Real communication of the proposal to the wider student body from university management.
  3. Acknowledging the financial issues that the University is facing, staff and students should be presented with a number of options for cost-saving initiatives, not one single large-scale proposal.
  4. The University to take forward staff and student recommendations that come through as part of the consultation process.

What Next?

Once confirmed with the DUSA Executive, the School Presidents and leads of the project, we will be publishing an official timeline of opportunities for you to feed into the consultation process that will happen over the coming weeks. We have been liaising and negotiating with the University since this project was announced and will continue to fight for your voice. The student voice is a powerful thing, and there are a number of opportunities for you to make yourself heard right now:

Contact your student representatives and high-level school staff*. The three Deans of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education & Social Work support the merger and as such, reps will be able to relay your feedback through different school meetings (SSLC’s, School Boards and through work with Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching, etc.). The DUSA Executive and your other representatives tackling the issue from different avenues will ensure a louder voice and make our message heard.

Contact details:

School of Humanities, Dean of School: j.livesey@dundee.ac.uk

School of Humanities, School President: president.humanities@dundee.ac.uk

School of Education & Social Work, Dean of School: T.B.Kelly@dundee.ac.uk

School of Education & Social Work, School President: president.esw@dundee.ac.uk

School of Social Sciences, Dean of School: n.r.fyfe@dundee.ac.uk

School of Social Sciences, School President: president.sosci@dundee.ac.uk

Contact the DUSA Executive directly through our feedback form, and we will ensure it is heard by the University. Go to www.dusa.co.uk/contact-us and choose the ‘AES: School Merger’ category. All submissions will be automatically sent to the DUSA President, Scott Quinn, and Vice President of Representation, Rebecca Johnston. These will be collated and used as evidence in the discussions.

Contact the lead of the merger project directly, Professor Julian Blow at j.j.blow@dundee.ac.uk to express your concerns*.

A standard, template email can be found here that you can use.

If the announcement of this proposal has caused stress or impacted your mental health, there are different support options available. You can contact your Advisor of Studies, or the DUSA Advice service at advice@dusa.co.uk

Yours,

DUSA Student Executive 2020/2021

Scott Quinn: DUSA President, Martha Umeh Ude-Eze: DUSA Vice President Academia, Saffron-Louise Cook: DUSA Vice President Communications & Campaigns, Kellie Ioannou: DUSA Vice President Student Activities, Rebecca Johnston: DUSA Vice President Representation, Lauren Macgregor: DUSA Vice President Student Welfare, Megan-Rose Birdsall: DUSA Vice President Fundraising, Izuin Hanis: DUSA Vice President Engagement