Restructuring Politics at the University of Surrey: An Unexpected and Questionable Decision

By the CDBU Steering Committee

Last Thursday evening, academic staff at the Department of Politics at the University of Surrey received a communication from the department of Human Resources informing them of a proposal for ‘restructuring’ the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences. This was totally unexpected. The proposal in the document would lead to redundancy for four professors, two senior lecturers, and three lecturers – 57 per cent of the department. Politics would remain a taught subject within the School of Social Sciences, but would no longer exist as a named department.

Several reasons were given for this: (i) A decrease in undergraduate admissions; (ii) poor performance on REF2014; (iii) inadequate grant income, well below the sector benchmark.

At CDBU we appreciate that we can’t assume all departments will just continue in perpetuity, and vice-chancellors have to make decisions about the viability of particular disciplines. But we are concerned about the way this has been handled, which in many ways resembles the ‘restructuring’ exercise conducted at Kings College London last summer.

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