Arts Future Project
Arts Future Project
The culmination of the University of Canterbury's 16-month-long academic-led Arts Future Project is a step closer with the release today of a draft Change Proposal document.
The review was instigated by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Arts) Professor Ken Strongman in November 2006 to address a range of academic, student-related and financial issues within the University's College of Arts. It has been led by a governance group consisting of academic and general staff.
The review considered how the College's BA degree could be modernised; the proliferation of small courses and overlap between programmes; the unhealthy competition for Equivalent Full-Time Students (EFTS); and the inequity of staff workloads.
The review also determined how the College could provide greater academic coherence to enable more effective student choices.
Once these issues were addressed, the governance group considered the current College structure and determined that change was needed for these improvements to be achieved and to ensure financial sustainability for the College.
The document released today proposes reducing the number of Schools within the College of Arts from 11 to 8, with the American Studies and Theatre and Film Studies programmes closing at the end of this year. This would lead to a reduction of 13.5 FTE academic staff positions and 8 FTE general staff positions.
The financial impact of the proposed structural and staffing changes would be savings of approximately $1.2 million this year and a further $1.3 million next year. The Arts Future Governance Group believes the ongoing cumulative financial benefit ($2.5M per annum) would ensure a financially sustainable future for the College of Arts.
All affected staff have been personally briefed on the proposed changes.
Based on the numbers of students who have majored in American Studies and Theatre and Film Studies in past years, the University expects about 30 students to be most affected by the programme closures. Those who are intending to major in these programmes this year will not be affected. The University will be advising students on their options.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Sharp says a six-week consultation period will allow staff, students and other interested parties to comment on the proposals. Their feedback will inform the development of an Implementation Plan.
"These changes are designed to build on the strong heritage of liberal arts education at the University of Canterbury. However, I acknowledge that the next few weeks will be stressful for affected staff, their families and their colleagues," Professor Sharp says.
Professor Strongman says first-class research and teaching underpinned by sustainable resourcing is the goal.
"This change proposal is dedicated to fulfilling that purpose," he says.