Greater transparency in the review of FSE at Manchester university
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This is a response to the proposal announced here: http://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk/news/display/?id=18084
I've listed below choice comments on the from the SU Facebook post about this review that will hopefully communicate the position that myself an many others hold.
"1) Please outline these proposed changes in a document, so we can clearly see what is up for debate.
2) One of the reasons that universities in the UK are able to grant such prestigious degrees in three years instead of four is because they allow schools to specialise from year one in their respective subjects. A common framework for cases where degrees share curriculum (i.e. between computer science and maths, physics and maths, etc.) already is in place; trying to integrate further and forcing more common curriculum would only be detrimental to the quality of degree-specific knowledge imparted by each School. (This is the role of A levels or a foundation year.)
3) Tell us why you want to make these changes. Asking for feedback from science & engineering students this close to exams with such a short turnaround time, no formal proposals and no clear motivation is completely unreasonable."
"I agree with the previous comments, here - there seems to be no reason why these changes are happening! You've asked for our opinion but have given us little to no information, we need a full report before we can possibly have an opinion. I have spoken to other students in the school of Physics and we can't see where the problem lies or what it is that needs fixing.
I also agree that a two day turn around just before exam season is not conducive to a good discussion. These seem like massive changes (and so there must have been discussion going on for a long time) and students seem to be have been sidelined entirely."
"This sounds like a weird and rushed proposal. I agree with what many others have said. I'd like to add that these new school groupings seem forced. Interdisciplinary research occurs between almost all combinations of STEM subjects. To group them in such a way is really quite arbitrary and i think with out any actual benefit to teaching and research. For instance maths and computer science research has large crossovers with engineering and physics. Whilst physics and engineering have further large cross over with earth sciences and biology and chemistry. It's all interlinked. Whereas from a teaching perspective, much of the teaching necessitates very specific and individual syllabuses. To group teaching would probably drive down standards. Therefore keeping it as independent subjects under the FSE umbrella really makes the most sense."
"Why is this being put forward at all? What is the motivation for this? Who is reviewing the faculty? Why is this being put to us in a video, two days before the deadline with no detailed papers attached? What effect will this have on decision making for each school? Why is it the SU telling us this, not the faculty? Are you proposing a vote amongst student reps for this? What is our power in controlling this decision? You've asked us 2 days before - this is not a "consultation" at all."
"I completely agree with the points that have already been made re: the lack of information and frankly ridiculous usage of a Facebook video to ask for feedback from the students who would be affected. As an international student, I chose to come to study in the UK AND Manchester specifically because of the specialisation of undergraduate degrees being offered. I think I speak on behalf of all the students involved when I say I would like to know how far into negotiations this suggestion has gone, and if the faculty of the departments involved have had any input on this matter."
And in response to being given more information about the survey:
"...it seems the relevant information already existed, but was quite conveniently buried until more than a month after the deadline had passed. I notice that the same thing happened, with staff only being given 2 days to submit their views. And it doesn't look like anyone on the Review Group is remotely involved with FSE or has a background in the sciences. At all. This is shameful."
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