Abertay's image falling

Friday 22nd April 2011
Abertay's image in happier days. Courtesy:denki.co.uk

Abertay University has seen the resignation of three lay members from its governing body with Bernadette Malone CEO Perth and Kinross Council, Sylvia Halkerston from Macphie food company and chief constable of Tayside Police Justine Curran having resigned. An Abertay spokesperson confirm that three members of the university court have intimated their intention to resign from court. The University still has not clarified why Professor Bernard King was suspended. Silence on this is not only damaging the University's image, but by association tainting the games sector too.

In January Professor Bernard King was appointed to head the Scottish Universities Group. In February he was suspended by Abertay University Court and accordingly took the issue to tribunal.

Now The Courier reports that "Selling off" Abertay University's share of the flagship Scottish Informatics, Mathematics, Biology and Statistics Centre (SIMBIOS) to Dundee University is among moves discussed at "meetings" of Abertay University Court members.

Talks, it is now said, have  taken place where Abertay will become Abertay Campus, which could lead to redundancies, Abertay "collapsing" and staff leaving for other institutions. This may have been instrumental in leading to the current resignations.

One resigning member of court stated she was leaving due to poor practices by court and bad management of the situation.

The Abertay position however is blandly that "informal discussions" are about "collaborations" with Dundee University and Dundee College, encouraged by the Scottish Funding Council.

"There are absolutely no plans to sell off any parts of Abertay University. The informal discussions that have taken place with Dundee University and Dundee College are about possible collaborations that could be of mutual benefit.

"In the current climate of reduced public expenditure, it makes good sense for institutions to explore the potential efficiencies that collaboration could offer, and in fact the Scottish Funding Council is encouraging colleges and universities throughout the country to do just that.

"They have established a new 'Invest to Save' fund designed to support this, and it is possible that we and our partners in Dundee might consider a joint bid to the fund, should a mutually acceptable proposal emerge.

"Meanwhile, we have almost finalised our new strategic plan for 2011-2015, which contains a specific commitment to Abertay 'continuing as a vibrant and independent university.'

"The plan also contains proposals for several strategic investments worth more than £4m over the next few years aimed at expanding the academic capability of the institution.

"The 'acting' principal Professor Nicholas Terry [suspended January, reinstated March] is planning to tour the university's academic departments and support services over the next two weeks to talk about these exciting new opportunities in more detail."

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