English Department fair student to staff ratio
This petition had 367 supporters
In this petition we ask for three things:
1. We want the English Department to be allowed to hire 3 new members of staff by the start of the academic year 2017/2018 without any further increase in student numbers.
2. We want the English Department to be allowed to hire 3 additional members of staff by the start of the academic year 2019/2020 without any further increase in student numbers.
3. We want the University to make a legally binding promise that there will never be an increase in student numbers without a proportional increase in staff members.
In the past decade the English Department has had a 32% increase in student numbers and no comparable increase in staff members. To compensate for this in 2013-14 we would have needed 9 new members of staff; the university allowed for only 3. Currently, we have a student to staff ratio of 20 to 1. The average for the rest of the University is 15 to 1.
According to the current state of affairs if we all decided to attend office hours we’d have a grand total of 3 minutes each.
In 2015-2016 we are still 6 members of staff short and the department are unable to hire the staff they need to maintain the excellence of the course.
When asking the Pro Vice Chancellor John Robinson about this, he replied that there was nothing the university could do about our ridiculously high student to staff ratio since they were saving money to renovate Heslington West in the next 10 years or so.
This emerged during the Board of Studies meeting in the spring term of 2015. In a second conversation during an NSS review meeting, he admitted that the English department was short staffed but also said that there was nothing the university would do about it.
With this, the source of the problems we’ve had with the department begins to emerge. Every member of staff is marking, researching, and teaching; and still they’re stretched thin. They’ve had to scrap the mid-term formatives nobody’s had time to mark. They even attempted to resort to an open-exam format to alleviate this strain. They changed their assessments for period modules from a formative assignment and an essay to just one open exam. This was a consequence of the fact that tutors teaching period modules would find themselves with something along the lines of 60 hours of essay grading on top of a 48 hour work week.
All of this has occurred while the university’s financial statement says that they have had 8.695 million pounds of surplus in 2013, 10.474 million pounds of surplus in 2014, and 20.236 million pounds of surplus last year.
Collectively that’s nearly 40 million since third years started their degree.
I know we are busy, we have course work, and thousands of other noble causes deserve our attention; but your time would be appreciated. Inactivity will accomplish nothing. We need to voice our dissatisfaction.
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