Blog: Backing The Proposed Academic Restructure

As many of you may remember from earlier in the academic year, the College Executive recently launched a proposal to change the College's academic structure – to move away from arranging the 20+ departments within three faculties and move towards arranging the different departments into six schools. A consultation for College staff was held, as discussed in our article back in September where you can also find our response to the initial proposal.

This proposal was discussed, and voted upon, at Academic Board on Wednesday 24 October. For those of you who don’t know, Academic Board is the highest academic decision-making body within the College, with membership including Heads of Departments and four Sabbatical Officers (with VP Sport, Dom Brown, in attendance).

In the meeting, we as Sabbatical Officers expressed our support for the proposed changes due to the benefits that we feel it will provide to students.

Change can always be daunting but ultimately, we believe that the proposed changes will be of benefit to you, as students. Our first point of thought was asking ourselves whether we believed that the current academic structure works for all students – and sadly the answer is no.

There are often reports of students being unable to obtain the information that they need from admin offices – this is sometimes because they are stretched in numbers, or because there is one staff member doing lots of jobs, and sometimes, misinformation is given. Moreover, although one of the benefits of Royal Holloway is the community atmosphere, there are widespread cases of disparity among departments. This in particular causes problems for joint honours students – a cohort of students that I pledged to help as best as I can in this role – whom have different experiences between their departments.

Currently, departments are organised in faculties – and this is a complicated decision-making structure. It means that decisions have to travel through numerous committees and boards before any changes can be made, resulting in slower student representation and ultimately, ineffective representation. The new school model will provide greater opportunities for students to be involved in departmental and school-level decisions, as well as ensuring recommendations from students are acted upon quicker!

The process for working on the specifics of this proposal are now underway and as your elected officers, we are going to be involved in these discussions to guarantee your interests are represented and make sure the restructure occurs as smoothly as possible.

We will be speaking about the restructure at our first Education Council of the year, on Tuesday 13 November so please do head down to Medicine if you want to chat about this. Alternatively you are always welcome to come up to the Union Helpdesk and ask to speak to me if you have any concerns or queries for clarifications.

Jack O'Neill // Vice President, Education