Sunday 27 February 2011

Proposed Cuts at Glasgow University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures

DEFEND the ARTS and HUMANITIES expresses its solidarity with academics, students ad support staff in departments currently fighting savage proposed cuts. The Departments particularly targeted are Nursing, Adult Education, Anthropology, Modern Languages and Social Work. The wonderful provision in Modern Languages would be reduced to just two languages if the most extreme proposals receive assent. But there has been extremely lively resistance to the proposals, as this BBC report indicates.

Please sign the "Help Save Modern Languages at the University of Glasgow" online petition here. Also, do please check out and 'like' the Facebook page devoted to the Campaign.

A LEADING Scottish university has drawn up plans to scrap or merge a raft of courses as part of moves to save £20 million over the next three years.

The controversial proposals from Glasgow University include the merging of history, archaeology and classics and the scrapping of several modern languages. Other courses to face the axe include nursing, anthropology and social work, and the university is also seeking a review of its high-profile Centre for Drugs Misuse Research.

The university is also considering cutting back its provision of evening and weekend classes, which cater for up to 5000 adult learners a year. The university’s Dumfries campus would also be hit, with courses in the liberal arts cut in favour of an expansion in environmental management.

The proposals from the university’s senior management group, which will make combined savings of some £3m, are part of a wider strategy to find £20m in savings by 2012-13. Read more [The Herald, February 9, 2011]

We call on the minister responsible for higher education to do everything in his power to influence the management of the University of Glasgow and to ensure that the university continues to fulfil its historic role as an outward-looking institution rooted in the community that it serves rather than working primarily to maximise income in the international marketplace. In this respect the recent British Academy report urges universities to "adopt a wider definition of' internationalisation' rather than focus simply on the recruitment of overseas students'. The University of Glasgow must continue to serve the needs of Scotland in providing excellent higher education that can open up international and European perspectives for the young people of Scotland, giving them the opportunity to develop high-level linguistic skills and intercultural understanding as part of a broad-ranging humanities education. Read more [Letter to The Guardian from Glasgow University Staff, February 26, 2011]

[...] I am saddened at its proposals to defenestrate its excellent modern languages department. As the university seeks to save £20m over the next two years, it plans to withdraw several language courses as well as curtail its adult education programme. One of the reasons why so few Scottish students take advantage of well-funded opportunities to study overseas, such as the Erasmus placements, is because of our poor language skills. So, at a stroke, Glasgow will exacerbate our global illiteracy while turning its back on thousands of overseas students. Rarely before have we seemed so narrow and introspective. Read more [Kevin McKenna, The Observer, February 27, 2011]

The Art of Protest

Fight Back

The DEFEND the ARTS and HUMANITIES website is back in action after an unplanned and unavoidable break in communications. Apologies for that.

Our first post flags an upcoming event in London,
The Art of Protest: a seminar to launch Fight Back! A Reader on the Winter of Protest. March 2, 14:00 - 17:00, The Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London.

The aformentioned Reader is embedded below but is also available

Help Spread the Word: Tweet @fightbackUK and like its Facebook page