Students seek councillor help for course campaign
Jun 8 2011 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
COUNCILLORS are being urged to step into the row surrounding the scrapping of a university course.
Student campaigners have written to every elected member in the region seeking help in their fight to save the liberal arts course at Glasgow University’s Dumfries campus.
The university’s ruling committee will be advised to scrap the course when they meet on June 22, due to its small uptake. Proposals are in place to replace it with courses in primary education and the environment.
These are seen as more practical than the liberal arts course, which teaches philosophy, literature, history and humanities.
But a student campaign believes it would be a “short sighted” decision.
In a letter to councillors, many of whom backed a Standard-led campaign to save the Dumfries campus when it almost closed in 2007, the student action group state: “While we welcome the setting up of new courses such as the MA in primary education and the MA in environmental stewardship, and understand that teaching cannot stand still, it is difficult to understand how the growth of courses will be successful if the liberal arts MA, which incorporates humanities – courses that have been central to Glasgow University since its foundation in 1451 – and which is certainly essential to the success of the Crichton, is to be reduced to playing a minor role.
“The entire basis of the proposal is also flawed, since it has been stated by management that it is based on the failure of the Liberal Arts to recruit sufficient numbers of students, when actually this course is recruiting very good numbers of students.
“The university has confirmed in writing that this move is not based on financial projections, only on apparently low numbers of first choice applicants, which does not fit with the new strategy of the university.
“However, all but one of the other courses at Dumfries currently have to accept applicants whose first choice was not Dumfries, and the liberal arts course just happens to be the most successful at recruiting through clearing.
“To expect a rural campus to attract the same level of applicants as a large city-based one seems to be massively short-sighted, and to withdraw any course which falls under this category without allowing time to implement promotional strategies which could ease this situation is to doom the campus to failure.”
Current students would be allowed to finish should the cut go ahead.