Academic Review – Opportunity or Threat?

The campus trade unions have been informed that the DVC Academic proposes to undertake a 3-month Academic Review process of all academic provision at the University by March 2012. The draft terms of reference include a review of all areas of teaching and research, including ‘organisational fit’ within the University as well as external relations and the ‘asset base’ which includes staff.

At one level, a thorough review of our provision and serious consideration of strategic objectives and a move towards more strategic planning is welcome, particularly in the rapidly changing landscape of UK higher education.

However, the campus unions have made it clear to management that any process needs to have the confidence of staff and to be –  and to be seen to be – an open and transparent process. On this matter we continue to have reservations.

The UCU Local Association and other campus unions are still in discussions with senior management. We have requested that the campus unions have observer status on each School Academic Review. UCU have also asked for clarification of the nature of staff consultation and involvement. Finally,  UCU have asked how the University sees this process relating to Senate, which is the University’s ‘supreme academic body’ and which has the powers to regulate and control all teaching and courses and the power to make recommendations about academic structures and staffing. To our knowledge, Senate is not aware of the review and it is not clear at present how the senior management propose to involve Senate scrutiny.

These are the issues raised so far by the LA. What are your thoughts? You can add a comment below or email the LA directly with your thoughts or concerns (contact: g.j.r.slater@bradford.ac.uk)

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