The University of Glasgow omitted to mention in its ‘reshaping’ announcement yesterday (Wednesday 22 June) that the University Court has decided to close in 2012, the Slavonic Studies programme within the School of Modern Languages and Cultures.
’The Slavonic Studies cultural and inter-cultural programme deals with the cultures of Central and Eastern Europe. It is unique in Scotland. Slavonic Studies have been in existence at the University of Glasgow for sixty years, Russian Studies for more than one hundred years,’ said Senior Lecturer Dr Jan Culik.
Earlier this month, Glasgow University Senate has expressed the view that the Slavonic Studies programme should not be closed down, however, University Court has now decided otherwise.
At the students’ rally during the start of the University Court meeting, Dr Culik said: ‘This University would become the laughing stock of the world if the unique cultural programme we provide about Eastern Europe is discontinued. ‘ He added: ‘We provide strategically important knowledge about the significant areas in Europe and Scotland will be much poorer if this provision is no longer available.’
At least 26 senior academics across Scotland have raised a e-petition on the Scottish Government website, requesting ‘targeted funding for lesser taught language and cultural studies’ such as the East European languages and cultures at Glasgow University. Such funding exists in England and used to exist in Scotland. It is felt that without the Scottish government making a commitment to this important strategic resource, cultural and language studies of Central and Eastern Europe in Scotland will be lost. See websie: http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=455
Along with a detailed commentary on what the Court decided on each of the proposed cuts, retiring Students’ Representative Council (SRC) President, Tommy Gore, said: ‘I’m pleased that all the hard work put in by students has shown the University why their plans to cut and merge courses were wrong. Generally the outcomes of the Court meeting are proof of that. But there are still concerns over DACE, Nursing and Slavonic Studies, so we need to ensure students stay engaged and continue to argue the case for these subject areas which contribute hugely to the student experience at Glasgow.’
He added: ‘With the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, we’ve got a year to show the University how crucial Slavonic Studies is to other courses – such as Comparative Literature, Politics and History – across the University. We need to demonstrate the detrimental effect closing down Slavonic Studies will have on the student experience in these areas.’
Across the campus – at all levels – there is an atmosphere of discontent. As one academic said: “I think the University only wants to do highly lucrative courses primarily for foreign students and has adopted a ‘pile them high, teach them cheap,’ mentality.”
At the time of posting this story, the University of Glasgow had not responded to the localnewsglasgow query about the omission of Slavonic studies cuts in their release. The University was also asked for details of the savings expected through the re-alignment.
The Court of the University of Glasgow has finalised the ‘reshaping’ of the University which has caused great unrest among students and staff.
With their budget decisions for 2011-12 made today (Wednesday 22 June 2011) Court accepted all the recommendations made by the panels that were established to consult widely with the academic schools as well as with student representatives.
This means that:
The School of Modern Languages and Cultures will maintain the teaching of the full current range of modern languages at the levels currently taught.
Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics and History will continue to be taught at the University of Glasgow.
Nursing and Healthcare will continue as normal, including admissions for academic year 2011-12 and 2012-13, pending the outcome of the Chief Nursing Officer’s review.
The Open Programme will continue to provide courses, but through an independent, self-supporting unit within University Services.
The Centre for Drug Misuse Research will close.
The University will continue to withdraw from the Glasgow School of Social Work.
The University will withdraw provision of the dedicated Liberal Arts programmes on the Dumfries Campus from 2012-13. In a statement, the University added: ‘The University is committed to a strong and positive future for the Dumfries campus as we develop our range of courses focused on environmental studies, health and social studies, and primary education, and liberal arts will continue to be a part of other interdisciplinary degree programmes at Dumfries Campus.’
Speaking later, the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow Professor Anton Muscatelli, said that the decisions made at Court meant that the University was now in a very strong position going forward: “The past few months have been extremely challenging and I want to pay tribute to everyone who took part in what was a vigorous and comprehensive consultation programme. The difficult decisions that have been addressed, coupled with the work that has been done to turn-around our finances means that the future prospects for the continued excellence of the University of Glasgow are extremely promising. We will continue to provide a world-class learning and teaching environment, and look forward to the future development and success of the University with considerable optimism.”
SIGHTHILL STONE CIRCLE
A local amateur astronomer and science writer is hoping to rejuvenate a stone circle in the shadow of Sighthill’s tower blocks.
Duncan Lunan organised the construction of the stone circle over 30 years ago, when he was manager of the Glasgow Parks department’s astronomy project. The project’s goal was to accurately mirror the rise and fall of the sun and moon over the city and this was funded at the time by the Jobs Creation Scheme. Unfortunately the incoming Thatcher government cut this funding, leaving the project incomplete, with 4 stones still to be placed. Duncan explained: ‘Two were planned to be due east and west, marking the sunrise and sunset at the equinoxes. What we would like to do with the other 2 would be to put a plaque on them to explain why it is there, who built it and who it is dedicated to.’ He would also like to restore the original work and put in a path for wheelchair access.
The circle was built in honour of four academics from Glasgow University who promoted the understanding of megalithic astronomy: Professor Archie Roy, Dr Ewan McKay, Professor Alexander Thom and his son, Dr Archie Thom. The cost of the new work that will complete the project will be around £30,000.
Duncan hopes that the site can again host equinox and solstice celebrations similar to those which occurred in Scotland until the 17th century. He will be holding an illustrated talk on the Sighthill Stone Circle at the Ogilvie Centre, St Aloysius Church, Rose St, Glasgow, at 7.30pm on Monday 21 June. Following the talk there will be a visit to the circle for the midsummer sunset.
Archaeologists from the University of Glasgow are using techniques from TV’s Time Team programme to survey Cathcart Parish Church. There has been a place of worship on the site since the 6th century, when a church dedicated to St Oswald was founded. The first record of a minister being assigned to the church is from the 14th century. The project is being managed by Peta Glew, a masters student and professional archaeologist. Peta said: “I wanted to create a project which would permit students to learn archaeology skills in an informal context. We usually have around six people on site, from a pool of about 24 volunteers.
“It’s been great, local people have stopped by to see what’s going on and have given us information and photographs which have really helped the research.
“We even got an email from someone in New Zealand who heard about the investigation.”
The team have conducted geophysical surveys of the church grounds and also used radar equipment to help understand the history of the site.
Each grave has been mapped and the dates recorded where possible. The markings on the graves have been recorded, with the earliest one being from 1594.
The project has been supported by the University’s Archaeology department who have donated all equipment free of charge. When the work is complete, a copy of the report will be presented to the current Cathcart Old Parish Church for their records.
Anyone with information or photos relating to the church can contact Peta via email at 0911253G@student.gla.ac.uk.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) are holding a special budget meeting on 22 January to discuss the fate of the Renfrew Ferry. SPT operates the ferry service, which runs from Yoker on the North bank of the Clyde to Renfrew on the South. A ferry service has operated at the site for the past 500 years. A spokesman for SPT said: ‘SPT, like many other local government agencies and local councils, is facing severe financial problems. For next year’s budget we have to find savings of £2.5m. To that end we are looking at every line of our budget including our current subsidies to bus, Subway and ferry services. No final decisions have been made nor will be made until SPT’s special budget meeting on the 22nd of January.’ The ferry service subsidised with £430,000 funding per year, and the two boats currently in service, the Renfrew Rose and the Yoker Swan are coming to the end of their operational lives. The two boats have been in use since 1984. One ferry operates at any given time with the other held in reserve for periods of maintenance and repair. Each ferry can carry 50 passengers but rarely exceeds five people on one trip. There were around 140,000 passenger journeys on the ferry last year.