What’s on the chopping block? A school-by-school summary of the Bangor Business Cases

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Faced with a £13m hole in the budget, Bangor University has released several business cases detailing their plans to make savings. This includes their controversial decision to cut 200 jobs, which has attracted concern from the student body about damage to Bangor’s quality of education.

This summary covers the proposed changes to the College of Arts, Humanities, and Business, the College of Human Sciences, and the College of Environmental Sciences and Electronic Engineering, and is intended to give students a handy guide as to how the cuts will directly affect their school. The plans summarised below will remain in consultation until the 4th of November, and are therefore subject to change – but these are the intentions of the university as they currently stand.

Click the following links to jump to specific colleges.

(Important Note: FTE is an abbreviation of Full Time Employee, which is defined as an employee working 40 hours a week. Thus, 1.0 FTE can be assumed to be one full-time member of staff, but could also refer to two part-time staff members working only 20 hours a week each. This is also the reason that many FTE numbers involve decimals)

College of Arts, Humanities, and Business

College of Human Sciences

College of Environmental Sciences and Electronic Engineering

Common changes for all colleges

Common themes across these changes include significant staff cuts, a loss of module options, and an acknowledgement that PhD students may see reduced expertise in certain areas due to loss of staff. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Business and the College of Human Sciences are both set to be majorly restructured, consolidating schools in the name of administrative efficiency, with the University advising that there is little room for negotiation over the new school layout. New departmental divisions within schools are more fluid, as are the names of the new entities.

The University has also acknowledged several risks associated with the proposed changes, including the potential for day-to-day disruption of teaching, damage to student:staff ratios, and the possibility that module losses may make certain programmes less attractive.

College of Arts, Humanities, and Business

An overall summary of the college can be found below, followed by a school-by-school change summary.

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Business is to be the hardest hit, losing 30 FTE college-wide. The current six-school structure is to be condensed into three: the School of Business & Management, the School of Languages, Bilingualism, Literatures and Cultures (divided into four internal departments), and the School of History, Law and Social Sciences (divided into two internal departments. Of the 30 FTE to be cut, the majority are not expected to be voluntary. One general college FTE is expected to be made involuntarily redundant, the college administrative team is to be reduced to 7.79 FTE, and school specific redundancies can be found below. These numbers do not include staff that have chosen voluntary redundancy or vacant positions which have been eliminated.

The sharp cuts in the college have been attributed to a decline in student numbers over the past few years, with new undergraduates from the UK or EU down ~30% compared to 2016/17. Financial impacts from Covid-19 have of course been the primary trigger for cuts across all colleges.

New Schools:

School of Business & Management (formerly: School of Business)

o   Includes the Chartered Banker MBA, ION Leadership Programme, North Wales Business Academy, 20 Twenty Business Growth Programme.

o   Expected to lose 4.7 FTE involuntarily.

o   Intends to strengthen Transnational Enterprise teaching and develop a Heritage and Sustainable Tourism programme in collaboration with the School of History, Law and Social Sciences.

School of Languages, Bilingualism, Literatures and Cultures (formerly: School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media; School of Music, Drama and Performance; School of Welsh and Celtic Studies)

o   Includes the Confucius Institute, English Language Courses for Overseas Students (ELCOS), Language Technologies Unit, Learn Wales Cymru North West (Welsh for Adults).

o   Expected to lose 10.5 FTE involuntarily

o   Internal Departments:

  • Department of Welsh Language, Culture and Society: to lose 2.0 FTE involuntarily (1.0 from Welsh and Modern and Contemporary Literature, 1.0 from Welsh and Medieval Literature). Intends to function entirely through the medium of Welsh and increase range of Welsh language tutors. Cause of reductions partially attributed to a ‘fall in student numbers.’
  • Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics: to lose 2.5 FTE involuntarily (1.0 from Spanish, 1.0 from French, 0.5 from Cognitive Linguistics). 1.0 FTE in Welsh Linguistics and 1.0 FTE in Phonetics and Bilingualism to be moved to the Department of Welsh Language, Culture and Society. Intends to integrate Modern Languages and Linguistics, and maintain research leadership. Cause of reductions partially attributed to ‘a long-term decline in student numbers.’
  • Department of Music, Drama and Performance: No reduction to staff expected. Intends to establish a Conservatoire for music students, and increase focus on Drama and Performance.
  • Department of English Literature, Film and Culture: To lose 3.5 FTE involuntarily (1.0 from Medieval Literature, 1.0 from 19th Century Literature, 1.0 from Modern and Contemporary Literature and Film, 0.5 from Early Modern Literature). 1.0 FTE in Media will move to the Business school as 1.0 FTE of Digital Marketing and Management. 1 FTE in Digital Media will move to School of History, Law and Social Sciences as 1 FTE in Political Communication and Philosophy; 1 FTE in Journalism and Political Communication will move to School of History, Law and Social Sciences. 1 FTE in Journalism will move to the Department of Welsh Language, Culture and Society as 1 FTE in Journalism and Welsh Media. Intends to reduce research leadership and English literature, due to ‘falling student numbers and a dispersed research field without sufficient scale’. Intends to focus on Media and Film.
School of History, Law and Social Sciences (formerly: School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences; School of Law)

o   Expected to lose 12.6 FTE involuntarily.

o   Internal Departments:

  • Department of History, Politics and Society: To lose 6.6 FTE involuntarily (1.0 from Philosophy of Religion, 2.0 from Archaeology, 0.2 from Medieval Archaeology, 0.4 from Medieval and Welsh History, 1.0 from Modern European History, 2.0 FTE from Sociology and Social Policy). 1.0 FTE in Sociology and Social Policy will move to the Department of Welsh Language, Culture and Society. Intends to reduce research focus in Archaeology and reconfigure Sociology.  Fall in student numbers partially responsible for cuts in History and Sociology.
  • Department of Law and Criminology: To lose 3.0 FTE involuntarily (1.0 from Criminology, 1.0 from International IP Law and Commercial Arbitration, 1.0 from International Trade and Insurance Law). Intends to expand vocational aspects of policing degrees and expand SQE law teaching, and reduce research focus in Criminology.

 

College of Human Sciences

An overall summary of the college can be found below, followed by a school-by-school change summary.

The College of Human Sciences is set to lose around 20-30 FTE total, 16.4 total from the schools, in addition to 4.1 general staff involuntarily, and through the assimilation of the College’s placement unit (PLPU) (~9.75 FTE) with central services. The Product Design subject area accounts for part of this, as it is to move to the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. The current five-school structure is to be condensed into two: The School of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences and the School of Medical & Health Sciences.

Alternative plans around the current School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, currently planned to integrate into the new School of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences, include splitting its staff between the two newly created schools (depending on whether they have Psychological or Physiological focus) or combining entirely with Medical Sciences.

The College of Human Sciences has been performing relatively well over the past year, with Psychology scoring 96% approval during the last National Student Survey, and with new Home/EU graduates up 8% on last year. However, overseas admissions have dropped 50% in the same time, leaving total growth for the college at 2%, well short of the 9% growth planned by the University.

New school:

School of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences (formerly: School of Psychology; School of Education and Human Development; School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences)

o   Expected to lose 13.4 FTE total, 9.4 of them involuntarily (3.0 from Psychology’s Teaching and Scholarship, 2.0 from Psychology’s Teaching and Research, 1.7 from Childhood Studies programmes, 0.7 from Education researchers, 1.0 from Cardiovascular physiology, and 2.0 from Motor Learning). The remaining 4.0 FTE account for the Product Design subject area, which is to be moved to the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. One new post (1.0 FTE, Coaching/Motor control) is to be created with a focus on Motor Learning. Additionally, the Language Skills Development staff from Canolfan Bedwyr will transfer to the School of Psychology, Education and Sports Sciences.

o   The school is intended to focus more heavily on Teacher Education and on increasing evidence-based practice and learning. A reduction in psychology undergraduate recruitment over the past 5 years is partially responsible for staff reductions. The University intends to prioritise preserving senior staff, reducing junior and lecturer-level staff.

School of Medical & Health Sciences (formerly: School of Health Sciences; School of Medical Sciences)

o   Expected to lose 3.0 FTE total (2.0 lecturers and 1.0 non-HEIW (Health Education and Improvement Wales) lecturers), 2.0 of them voluntarily or by removing vacancies.

o   These cuts are partially attributed to Medical Sciences being a small subject area with a curriculum that is growing too fast to keep up with teaching capabilities.

 

College of Environmental Sciences and Electronic Engineering

The College of Environmental Sciences and Electronic Engineering is to see the least change, with no restructuring of the current schools. The college also expects to lose only 7.5 FTE involuntarily (3.0 from the School of Computer Science & Electronic Engineering, 4.0 from the School of Ocean Sciences, and 0.5 from general college staff). This is attributed to strong student recruitment and research grant capture, and the University has emphasised research as a high priority in the college.

Significant changes are mostly confined to individual subjects, including consolidation of computing research, refocusing of electronics research, and the addition of the Product Design programme (formerly part of the School of Education & Human Development).

Other significant changes include:

  •       Reduction of spending on non-contracted specialist teaching contributions.
  •       Reduction of 25 ship days for Ocean Sciences.
  •       Management of Treborth Botanical Garden is to be transferred to Estates & Campus Facilities.
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