Glasgow's shrink: Colleges & faculties

Sunday 18th December 2011
Courtesy: geograph.org.uk and College of Nautical Studies

Glasgow College of Nautical Studies and Glasgow Metropolitan College and Central College are to create of one of the the biggest educational institutes in Scotland with around 25,000 students and 1,000 staff. It comes on the heels of an internal report by Glasgow University that says the move to replace nine academic faculties with four colleges in one year was "over-ambitious" The four new colleges cover Arts, Biomedicine, Engineering, Physical Sciences, Law, Business, Social Sciences and Education.

The principals believe the merger will deliver substantial benefits to students, staff and industry - particularly in their areas of specialism - maritime, construction, tourism and design. 

The original scheme mooted in 2008 had been for a £300m proposal to bring four Glasgow colleges together - Nautical, Metropolitan, Central and Stow. T

Four city colleges signed an agreement  to launch a new company New Campus Glasgow, a specialist business venture  backed by Central College, Stow College, Glasgow Metropolitan College and the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

In 2010 the NewCampus website  said Government  approved a three college merger of Central College, Metropolitan College and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies.

The project has been in the planning stage for many months and will now commence the procurement process under the Scottish Government’s NPD framework with construction set to begin in summer 2013, with an expectation of 36 months to complete. The college is committed to ensuring business as usual and that any disruption will be kept to a minimum for both staff & students.

It now appear that the surviving merger is  £200m is between Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, the main provider of maritime studies as well as running courses in areas including child care education, health, drama, and business studies,  Central College, and Metropolitan that  offers courses across five schools: built environment, communication and media, design, food and hospitality, computing technology, and sport and tourism. Stow College seems to have opted to go it alone. 

FOUR COLLEGES FROM NINE FACULTIES

A paper prepared for the Glasgow University's court in 2009 stressed the importance of streamlining university management to ensure money was spent improving the university's performance reports The Herald

Senior vice-principal Andrea Nolan (right) also said the financial climate was not ideal, with the university seeking £20m of cuts through voluntary redundancies which led to 264 staff leaving.

In addition significant challenges facing academics, including the development of 58 new master's degree programmes to attract overseas students. Significant numbers of staff were also tied up developing a controversial £14m student enrolment website called MyCampus. When the site was launched much of it did not work, putting an even greater workload on staff.

Ms Nolan's report said the university had been responding to "major budgetary pressures due to the deteriorating economic climate and public funding situation".

"With hindsight, the senior management group was overly optimistic about what it wished to achieve within the associated time-scales, given the range of other projects that were planned and those that had to be initiated as a result of changes in the external environment."

The paper said a step-change was needed in areas to achieve the university's ambition to be in the world's top 50. "Compared to those universities currently in the world's top 50 we have relatively poor international and postgraduate student numbers, our research is not published consistently in journals - and our research capability is not regarded as highly by our peers," it said.

A Glasgow University spokesman said: "The report on the restructure of the university is an honest assessment, not only of the considerable progress made over the past year, but also of the challenges that have arisen, and how the university aims to address these.

"Our staff have worked tremendously hard and it is because of them that our new structure is now delivering real success in areas such as new teaching and research collaborations.

"We are confident that the University of Glasgow is now well placed academically and financially and will continue to deliver world-class teaching and research and the best all-round experience for our students." 

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