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Stormont budget cuts set to impact six departments within Ulster University - with two closing entirely

By Claire Williamson

Published 02/09/2015

University of Ulster
University of Ulster

Stormont budget cuts are set to impact six departments within Ulster University next year - with two closing entirely.

The announcement comes after it was revealed that the School of Modern languages would be closing.

All modern language and interior design courses will be scrapped and in addition 1,250 student places will go along with 210 jobs.

The move follows an £8.6m cut in the funding received from the Department of Employment at Stormont.

In June 2015  Ulster University confirmed that 1250 student places and approximately 210 staff posts would be lost as a result of the NI executive budget cuts to Higher Education.

Ulster University Student's Union said it was "deeply distressed" to learn of the "devastating cuts".

Ulster University Students’ Union President Colum Mackey said the Northern Ireland Executive has "failed to prioritise higher education" and said the University must "react to the reduction in funding".

Ulster University has now determined where and how these cuts will impact.

In making the decisions the University said not all will result in closure. Some of these subjects will transfer between campuses, consolidating provision and enhancing student opportunity.

It said a number of factors were taken into consideration, including student demand, attrition rates, student satisfaction, employment statistics and research performance. 

Six subject areas have been identified for course rationalisation:

* Interior Design

* Marine Science 

* Computing 

* Maths

* Business Management 

* Modern Languages/Translation

Of these, only Interior Design and Modern Languages will close in their entirety.

University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon said: “The implications of the NI Executive budget cuts will have far reaching consequences for our young people and our local economy. 

“We cannot absorb further cuts so now more than ever, we must be decisive. We must strengthen our focus on the sustainable delivery of high quality teaching and world-leading research that produces graduates with industry ready, relevant skills that benefit business and society.

“As a multi-campus institution, Ulster University faces particular considerations and our decisions reflect a strategic, longer term vision, not just for each campus but for the entire institution. Each campus will now have specific sectoral alignments, essentially becoming centres of expertise. 

“Course closures were always inevitable and in addition to the courses and combination options already confirmed for closure in January of this year, a further 6 subject areas will be affected for 2016/17 entry. 

“Not all of these will result in closure. Some of these subjects will transfer between campuses, consolidating provision and enhancing student opportunity.  Only a small number will close in their entirety. 

“In making these decisions, a number of factors have been taken into consideration, including student demand, attrition rates, student satisfaction, employment statistics and research performance.  

“Consolidation of teaching provision across all faculties will facilitate the necessary reduction of staff numbers without impacting on the quality of teaching which remains paramount.

“This has not been an easy process, particularly for affected staff, many of whom have given many years of commitment to the University and our students.

" It is however, an opportunity for this institution to reinforce its position as we look to our future vision and growth opportunities.”

University of Ulster student president Colum Mackey said the Executive was "failing a generation of young people".

He said: "For some students it will affect their ability to study their subject of choice in Northern Ireland; for many others it will stop them from accessing a university education.

"A failure to invest in higher education is a failure to invest in our economy, in our healthcare system, in society and in individuals. The Executive must reconsider its decision to cut funding to education.     

"The full impact of the reduction in funding has yet to be realised and the Students Union will continue to work with the University in the interest of students to ensure the impact of these cuts are minimised."

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