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COU11D011 Title: Author: Circulation: Agenda: Version: Status: School of Music The Senate 9 November 2011 The Council

l 28 November 2011 COU11A002 Final Open


Reported that the University Ordinances state that a decision to withdraw from an area of study which would result in the closure of a school, would require the approval of Council, having consulted with Senate. Considered the recommendations from a Review Panel commissioned with undertaking a review of the future of the School of Music. (A copy is filed in the Minute Book, ref. SEN11D001) (Senate was informed that a Review had been commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor in response to the current and predicted higher education landscape facing the University and as a follow up to the comprehensive 2002 review of the School of Music in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The Chair of the Review Panel, Professor Ian Harvey, reassured Senate that the Review had been conducted with no pre-conceptions and had examined data, benchmarking the Schools performance against current University expectations and the 2002 recommendations, The Head of School had been a member of the four person Panel of senior UEA academics. The Review had concluded that whilst the School was not failing its students, it was too small to be viable in the current climate. The size of the School had been recognised as a significant problem in 2002 but a strategy of growing the School by increasing student numbers had not been fruitful. The market for the Schools courses was not strong, and in particular not strong in the competitive AAB+ student market in which students can be now recruited without restriction and so critical for a strategy of growth. The Schools research performance in the 2008 REF had been one of the weaker performances in the Faculty with no work found to be of 4* standard and a 2011 external assessors view, taken as part of the Universitys REF preparations, had indicated that the situation had not improved. Financially, the School was in receipt of a subvention for its wider musical provision at UEA but this also subsidised core support which would need to be continued into the foreseeable future; furthermore substantial additional capital investment would be required for accommodation and facilities if the School was to be expanded. The Review also concluded that there was a vibrant musical culture within the University and recommended that this continued with funding to preserve the excellence of this contribution to the cultural life of the University. The Review recommended closing the School to new entrants and drawing upon best practice to support current students through to the completion of their degrees and in maintaining their student experience. The Universitys response to the 2002 review was representatives and some other Senate members. informed that considerable effort had been made recommendations of the 2002 review. A key strategy 1 questioned by the Students Union During the discussion Senate was to grow the School following the had been the diversion of additional

student numbers to the School which if recruited would have generated income to employ more staff. Unfortunately, this tactic had been unsuccessful, even when a new course was eventually introduced in 2009. The 2011 student registrations did show growth but the data was recognised as anomalous, reflecting student behaviour nationally with high numbers seeking to commence courses prior to the introduction of the new national fee regime. Without the annual subvention the School would be in deficit and the size of this deficit was set to increase. Two staff appointments had been made, academic staff had been provided with teaching cover to take Study Leave and PhD studentships had been allocated to the School to support and foster a research environment. Staff in the School were praised for making tremendous personal and collective efforts to generate income and improve the attractiveness of the Schools courses and its reputation but, despite this energy and the range of tactics deployed in their support, all measures taken had proved insufficient to develop the School and generate growth. Concern was expressed that the Universitys reputation would suffer if the School were to close as it was regionally and nationally important and significant in the musical community, and the question was raised whether all alternative courses of action had been fully explored. Music as an academic discipline was pursued by the majority of the top Universities and closure would diminish the diverse and interdisciplinary environment on campus. Senate noted that the external environment had changed considerably since 2002 and discussed the insurmountable obstacles the harsh economic landscape has generated for the School and University. One of the key viability tests to be faced by all courses from 2012 is their ability to attract students with the highest qualifications who can be recruited without restriction. The Schools courses have not fared well to date in this market with one of the lowest percentages of AAB students in the Faculty. There was no confidence within the School or Faculty that this situation could be remedied and in this highly competitive environment it was likely to lose rather than gain applicants and students. The Schools research performance was considered to be another weakness affecting both income directly and indirectly in impacting the attractiveness of the Schools courses to applicants/students. The Universitys ethos is to build good courses which have sound research underlying teaching to maintain or increase market position nationally. The School, it was pointed out, is struggling to meet the demands of the 2014 REF exercise which not only examines research publications and other outputs but also evaluates case studies which demonstrate the impact of the Schools research nationally and internationally. The preparatory work for the REF indicated a lack of these impact case studies and outputs that would meet internationally excellent/3* standards. Whilst new staff appointments may bring publications for inclusion they could not influence impact case studies and so the situation cannot be remedied in time for the 2014 REF. Senate also noted that the Schools facilities were in need of further capital investment if the School was to grow and remain attractive to applicants, students and staff in the short/medium term. The recommendations from the School of Music that there be a further full review with external input and that the University make a clear a priori commitment to implement the recommendations of any new report were not taken up. The majority of contributions endorsed the conclusion that the case for closure was compelling and it was evident the School could not be permitted to continue in its current form. It was recognised that considerable continued subsidy and investment would be required for the School to continue and that there was no evidence that this would yield results in building a larger successful School of Music as regrettably investment to date had been unsuccessful. Funds were limited in this economic climate and the University had to consider carefully where to invest and make decisions between competing priorities, recognising that investment in one School restricted investment in other Schools. Senate noted that the most recent NSS scores for the School were very good, and reflected the good University student experience delivered by the School. It was considered essential that this was maintained and so the establishment of a group to monitor the student experience whilst students completed their courses was recommended. Senate also discussed the process undertaken and whilst satisfied with the establishment and conduct of the 2011 Review in following up on the 2002 review, which had been conducted with the full involvement of the School and external assessors, sought reassurance from Council that this would not set a precedent.) 2