Here We Go Again...


I shall be doing some part-time Philosophy teaching again this academic year, and the start of term at Durham is fast approaching. What news comes from elsewhere in the sector to fill us with optimistic keenness and pedagogical vigour? This news:

As has happened at a number of universities in the UK, the Executive Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Northampton has decided to phase out the teaching of philosophy and close the department here. This is planned to take effect from next year with no new intake of students for philosophy from 2012/13. We think this decision is unjustified..., and hope to get the decision reversed so that philosophy can continue to be taught here...

The School of Social Sciences? No wonder Philosophy got the short end of the stick...

Andreas Moser

I am against closing philosophy departments, mainly because I think a few philosophical subjects do no harm to students of other degrees and in fact enrich their lives

But I am not sure if it is very wise to try to change Northampton’s mind with financial or capacity arguments. Do we want to sink so low?
Also, it’s a slippery slope. Philosophy departments might get cut exactly BECAUSE they are cheap to teach. Universities in England want to charge the new maximum tuition fees allowed, 9,000 £ per year, from as many students as possible. Students who have to take on that much debt are more likely to opt for courses that yield some financial return, like law or economics (which are also not much more expensive to teach).

Tuesday 4th October, 2011 12:43 pm

Robert Seddon

I think financial/capacity arguments get used out of doubt that university management (and for that matter HEFCE, the government, etc.) will respond to anything else.

Tuesday 4th October, 2011 12:56 pm

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