It came to light this week that the recent plans announced by the principal to change the structure of the University have caused much concern amongst the staff.
UCUG, the union for university staff at Glasgow, has stated that its members are suffering from stress as a direct result of these proposals — which must surely have a detrimental affect on their teaching.
Students are already being disrupted by the proposals as some lecturers are rearranging classes in order to attend meetings about the restructure. A demoralised staff will certainly have a negative effect on the overall teaching standards of the university.
There will be a student consultation about the proposals towards the end of this month, but it is unlikely that we will be given any real choice over the matter. One lecturer called the move a “top-down imposition” and certainly the proposals seem more focused on improving the administrative structures rather than on any teaching aspect.
One fear is that reducing the number of departments down to around twenty schools will lead to some existing departments losing their academic identity — the University, however, have assured that this will not be the case. Whilst a lower number of schools will mean that it is easier to organise a meeting with each school head than it currently is with department heads, that will not necessarily have a positive impact on teaching.
The main concern for students is that the quality of teaching at this university remains high and uncompromised. If those responsible for that teaching are distracted from their work and unhappy with their management at the highest levels then there is a strong possibility that the teaching quality will suffer.
Despite assurances that the restructure will not cause any disturbance over the coming months, the fact remains that all change is disruptive and the introduction of a new teaching and management system will certainly be so. The question is: is it really worth it?