‘Magee won’t be expanded if the budget isn’t there’

Magee Ulster University campus
Magee Ulster University campus

The Vice Chancellor of Ulster University, Paddy Nixon, says there will be cuts across marine science, computing, maths, business management and translation and that modern language and interior design provision will close in their entirety as part of province-wide cost-cutting measures at the third level institution.

Professor Nixon also warned there will be no expansion at Magee unless sufficient budget is made available.

“No single campus can be protected from the impact of the cuts however Ulster University remains committed to realising the full potential of each campus, including Magee,” he said.

“Any expansion at the Magee campus remains subject to a number of factors, including demand from students, government releasing student numbers (MASN), available budget and the delivery of key infrastructure commitments by stakeholders across the region,” he added.

On Wednesday, Professor Nixon spelled out how cuts announced earlier this year would be realised.

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.

The implications of the NI Executive budget cuts will have far reaching consequences for our young people and our local economy.

Professor Nixon said: “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.”