The University of Exeter will stop recruiting students for the English course at the Penryn Campus from 2021, in view of its closure.
English staff at Penryn attended a meeting on Thursday 20 August where they were informed that a working party had decided that 2021 entry for the course would be interrupted.
A second meeting took place the following Tuesday, where attendees were told the course is “in decline.” Led by Jo Gill, Pro Vice Chancellor for Humanities, excerpts were read out from documents which explained the decision.
Staff proposed redesigning the programme to make it more innovative without pausing recruitment, but the closure is still planned to go ahead.
The University is still advertising the course for 2021 entry, whilst current students were informed at 4pm today. Staff were told they could not speak out about the decision until 5pm.
They were also informed that the University will try to preserve all jobs and aim to move them to the Streatham Campus as the current students age out.
The working party was formed about three weeks prior, whilst the news broke amongst humanities staff last Friday.
Cornwall is the second poorest region in Northern Europe and faces further economic troubles as a result of decreased tourism during COVID-19
Maths at Penryn has already announced there will be no new students starting this year, while the International Heritage Management and Consultancy MA has been paused due to the ongoing pandemic. The Mining Engineering course is also facing a pause in recruitment.
Cornwall is the second poorest region in Northern Europe and faces further economic troubles as a result of decreased tourism during COVID-19. The council has also asked the government for £700m to account for the loss of EU funds post-Brexit.
Amelia Banton, President Student Experience of the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union, said: “The Students’ Union are reassured by the steps that the University are taking to ensure this pause on recruitment for the English course at Penryn will not negatively impact current students and that this has now been communicated to students.
“We are pleased that the University have committed to embedding students in the forthcoming review of the English offering on our campus and that there are no plans to pause recruitment for Undergraduate History in Cornwall. The Presidents and Humanities Subject Chairs have been in contact with senior figures within the College of Humanities to ensure we are best placed to represent students and guarantee that current students, and those starting in September, receive the best university experience possible.”
We know this situation is difficult for staff and students, and the recent step to pause recruitment onto the course for next year was not taken lightly.The University of Exeter
A University of Exeter spokesperson said: “We are committed to humanities teaching and research in Penryn, but in recent years fewer applicants have chosen to join our English undergraduate programmes. If this were to continue it would make it harder for us to offer the full range of modules students would expect to take as part of their degree. We are concerned this could have a detrimental impact on student experience and learning and will be introducing a pause in the recruitment onto our English undergraduate programmes at Penryn for 2021/22 entry.
“We will be using this time to review the course, working with staff and students to consider different models for English and Literary studies at Penryn, and supporting students affected. All students already studying English undergraduate programmes in Penryn, and those who are joining us for the first time this September as first years, will be continuing their courses on the campus as planned, right through to the end of their degree programmes. There are a small number of applicants who had deferred entry to start the course in 2021/22, and we will be working with them so they are supported to make alternative choices regarding their programme of study.
“We know this situation is difficult for staff and students, and the recent step to pause recruitment onto the course for next year was not taken lightly. We are very proud of the world-leading undergraduate and postgraduate degrees run at our Penryn campus, the high-quality teaching and our role in the local community. Our priority now is to work with our staff and our students to hear their ideas for the future, and we are also liaising with colleagues in the Students Union to help take forward those discussions collaboratively.”
18:30 Updated with receipt of the University’s statement