Wednesday, 25 November 2009

An Update: Humanities Relaunched

During the summer, and the autumn term, all the humanities tutors were made redundant. Two co-ordinating lecturers have had to move on. Dr Ian Spring has taken early retirement. Dr Dave Wyatt has been redeployed to the History Department, though continues to be involved in community engagement work. Pat Clark and Dr Nick Jones are sharing the single co-ordinating lectureship in Humanities.

The University Council eventually agreed that up to fifty Humanities courses could be re-launched, as part of a trial programme, to start in January 2010.

It was stressed that these courses must be financially viable, and form part of an academically coherent programme. Centre staff devised a programme of over 40 suitable courses, and set about recruiting tutors.

We’ve now advertised; interviewed many well-qualified people - some of whom were familiar faces - and set up a new programme of courses which, we hope, will be successful. There will actually be about 36 courses starting in either January or after Easter, and more may be added if there is a demand for follow-on courses.

The new programme will include: Creative Writing, Music, Art and Architecture, History, and a small Philosophy element.

A new “Choices” course brochure is coming out in December, and will include our new Humanities programme. It will also be on the Centre website here.

Do take a look, and sign up for a course.

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Statement from the campaign

At the Welsh Assembly, the Clerk to the Petitions Committee has ruled that our
petition is admissible and will be referred to the Committee for consideration. He will be in touch shortly to confirm when our petition will receive initial consideration. We are allowed to add further information, so have added the following statement:

On 27th July Cardiff University Council decided to continue with the redundancies in LEARN. Contrary to recent publicity, the university has now cut all its humanities provision within the department. They say they will provide some 40 – 50 unspecified humanities courses in the New Year, but this is only on a trial basis. This approach offers no real commitment towards or strategic vision for the provision of adult education courses across a broad range of subjects and denies thousands of students across south-east Wales access to the life-changing opportunity higher education should be.

Humanities tutors who had planned and prepared courses due to start this September have now been dismissed and further redundancies are to be announced in October, when the number of co-ordinating lecturers in Humanities and Welsh is to be cut from 4 to 1. The effect of these cuts on technical and support staff at the Centre is yet to be determined.

Cardiff University Council went ahead with this decision despite massive pressure from the Assembly, and a clear public concern over the provision of education rather than profits. It is also important to remember that these redundancies were created because a number of hourly paid tutors sought their statutory rights and equality. Sadly hundreds of them have now been dismissed for this.

The Campaign to Save Lifelong Learning regrets the fact that the university has chosen to ignore its recommendations and those of so many Assembly Members who called on it to "suspend their plans for twelve months and to fully engage with trade unions and staff to agree a managed process of change over a reasonable timespan to protect the maximum number of jobs and courses and mitigate adverse effects of any cuts."

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Welsh Assembly Statement of Opinion

It is clear that the university is not bothered by the fact that many Assembly Members have called on it to
"suspend their plans for twelve months and to fully engage with trade unions and staff to agree a managed process of change over a reasonable timespan to protect the maximum number of jobs and courses and mitigate adverse effects of any cuts."

The Statement of Oopinion can be read here.

South Wales Echo

The South Wales Echo has the story here.

BBC News

The story is covered on the BBC news website here.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Meeting on Thursday at Noon. Party on Thursday Evening.

The Cardiff branch of the lecturer's union, UCU, has called a meeting for any lecturer or tutor who risks losing their job as a result of the University Council's decision. You do not have to be a union member in order to attend. UCU officials will go through the options available and answer questions.

Meeting Details Thursday 30 July, Noon in the Humanities Building Committee Room (1.31).

All our part-time tutors have now received dismissal notices. Some of them have given decades of service to our students.

Also, on Thursday evening we have the Campaign Party. It's your chance to come and have a drink or a meal in a cheerful West-Indian ambience with real rocking chairs. All our supporters are very welcome. We shall deplore the short-sightedness of the university authorities and have a good time.

When: 6.30pm, Thursday 30th July
Where: The Rockin' Chair, 62-64 Lower Cathedral Rd, Cardiff, CF11 6LT
How much: West Indian Curries will be available for £6.50.

The Result: The Struggle Continues!

The University Council have released the following statement. As we feared, they have followed the recommendation of the Scrutiny Group and advocate saving a mere 50 out of our 250 Humanities and Welsh Courses. Moreover, there won't be another Humanities or Welsh course until at least January 2010.
We are disappointed. But the fight goes on!

The University Statement:

Cardiff University statement: Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning

Cardiff University’s governing body, the Council, has tonight accepted proposals designed to secure the long-term viability of the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

The Centre will continue to run its popular courses in science, the environment, computer studies, social studies including business and in foreign languages. It will also provide a new programme of humanities courses focused on key subject areas. Over the next few months a programme of approximately fifty humanities courses, due to commence early in 2010 will be designed and marketed to the public.

While this programme will involve a reduction in courses and staffing at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, the University believes it is the best option to preserve a structured approach to CHOICES, the Centre’s programme of courses for the public. It will retain the humanities as a key component of the University’s outreach activities with the wider community. The Council has asked for a new programme to be brought forward offering a structured approach to academic development which can be co-ordinated with undergraduate and postgraduate provision elsewhere in the University.

The Council believes that the original business case submitted on 18 May in which all humanities courses ceased remains the most financially viable of all the options considered for the Centre for Lifelong Learning. However, it also recognises the considerable interest and passion expressed by staff, students and the public in lifelong learning humanities provision. It therefore accepts the recommendation that some initial financial risk be underwritten in order to produce a new academic programme that can be made sustainable in the long term. The new humanities programme will be run on a trial basis, with a view to establishing its long-term viability. There will also be a review of course fees, to bring them into line with similar courses offered by other providers in South Wales.

The University is grateful for the contribution made to the consultation process by the staff unions and the campaign set up on behalf of the humanities courses. All parties have acknowledged that the present situation facing the CHOICES programme in the Centre is not sustainable and action is needed to ensure its survival. The Council is grateful to University officers and to staff within the Centre for the work undertaken to examine alternative options. Council was also grateful to the Campaign Group for its carefully considered contributions and recognised that many of the longer term proposals made by the group have considerable merit and have been included in the programme of action.

The decision will affect the amount of employment available for tutors at the Centre from September 2009. Precise numbers have yet to be confirmed, but this is likely to affect just over 100 tutors, the large majority of whom teach less than 50 hours a year at the Centre. However, additional new teaching roles should become available with the new programme in 2010. Staff and their representatives will continue to be consulted about the impact on employment in the short and long term. Considerable efforts are also ongoing to redeploy staff with the introduction of a new procedure to match the skills of Centre staff with vacancies elsewhere within the University on a priority basis.

The University hopes that all parties will now recognise that united action is the best way to secure the future of the Centre, at a time when lifelong learning provision is coming under pressure across the UK. The University looks forward to the campaign and the unions supporting and promoting the full range of provision offered by the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Professor Terry Threadgold, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Staff said: “We would like to thank all the staff, students and members of the public who have contributed to the University’s consultation on the Centre for Lifelong Learning. The University’s decision has recognised the strong commitment to maintaining the Centre’s humanities teaching as far as is possible. I hope we can now count on everyone who has contributed to help us move forward and ensure that humanities provision at the Centre is well supported and has a successful long term future.”


For further information please contact:

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596
Mobile: 07976 513386