The University of Manchester has proposed severe staffing cuts across the university, including but not limited to the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and Alliance Manchester Business School. 171 members of staff are set to be axed – yet this is happening at a time when the university has annual income from tuition fees exceeding £423 million (2015/16) and a surplus of £59 million, and is funding extensive renovations and new developments on campus.
In the wake of these cuts, the university has also announced its M2020 project, which will aim to “enhance the student and staff experience and improve research” through the creation of over 100 new staff positions to replace those which are due to be cut in the next few months. However, these will inevitably be highly detrimental to the current level of teaching on offer to students, and the recruited staff will inevitably be more junior academics whose careers cannot match the level of current staff or pertain to the distinguished research Manchester prides itself on.
The targeted departments have been singled out because in the university’s view, they do not recruit students or produce graduates of sufficient quality, or because they have seen falling uptake by applicants. However, evidence from the German department demonstrates clearly why such assessments are unfair – the department actually produces graduates with better chances of securing a good job after graduating, with 80.6% of 2015’s graduates in quality graduate roles 6 months after graduation, compared to the average of 66.7% within the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.