It was extremely disappointing that the Principal decided to hold the meeting behind closed doors with increased security, insisting that the entire staff of the School of Education come to him on the basis of a perceived ‘security problem’. It is a sorry state of affairs when coming face to face with student and staff supporters of DACE is characterised this way.
Despite the bad note struck by the last minute change in venue, the Principal did make himself available to take questions with Vice-Principal Andrea Nolan by his side. Several important issues were raised:
– Both Principal and Vice-Principal insisted that the consultations panel’s decision was not already formed. This was in response to strong suggestions to the contrary, for example arising from last year’s leaked paper from the Senior Management Group, classifying Adult Education as an area of activity to be scrapped.
– It was raised as an issue for concern that there is a deep dividing line being drawn between UG and PG students on the one hand and adult learners on the other. A University should encourage all learners to come through its doors, surely, and not advantage some groups over others. The Vice-Principal suggested that funded places currently allocated to Continuing Education could possibly be more effectively re-directed elsewhere to benefit undergraduates – but surely that distinctly disadvantages adult learners?
– It’s important to make both the panel and the wider SMG aware of how DACE, its staff and its students should fit into the University’s future plans (Glasgow 2020 Vision). The Principal admitted that the Open and CertHE programmes were not well understood because they were managed ‘locally’ – and yet the first attempt to understand the programmes comes on the back of a suggestion to curtail our activities or entirely discontinue them!
– There is also some confusion over the panel’s remit to investigate the Open and CertHE programmes’ strategic fit within the Glasgow 2020 Vision rather than the programmes’ financial contribution to the University since we are continually told that the whole review process is being motivated by money. Perhaps it is the 2020 Vision that needs scrutiny to make sure it supports Lifelong Learning rather than the other way around?!