Editor | Cassandra Lau
The ‘upgrade’ to the Schools system will place Royal Holloway on par with most other universities. Summing up the difference between the current Faculty system, and the soon-to-be Schools system: A Faculty is a body of professors, lecturers, and researches who research and pass on knowledge to students; a School is an establishment comprised of Faculties and students. For instance, typically a School of Humanities would include the Department of History, Classics, English, and Theology. This means that instead of having an administration office for each of the departments listed above, there would be one.
For certain, the Schools system would help the college cut costs which could be invested elsewhere, and there would be greater communication and opportunities for collaborations and interdisciplinary study for staff and students. Jack O’Neill, VP Education from the Students’ Union, explains that the “university is [currently] operating with 21 different processes and systems which simply isn’t sustainable for parity across the institution, nor for the student experience.”
However, like most transitions, the one from Faculty to School will be a rocky one considering how the college has been going about it. The first problem is, the reduction of differing processes and systems which is basically a reduction of staff; secondly, the blank promise of reallocation for staff members. Last but not least, the lack of transparency and representation in the college’s decision. Ultimately, such a significant structural change should be made clear to both staff members and students. There is a lack of information made available to both parties, which obviously helps stall but defers conflict. And the lack of sufficient representation for departmental staff – those who will be affected the most – is concerning to say the least. Realistically, issues from both staff and students should be raised and addressed to ensure the success of the new system – at least beyond theoretical success.
Clearly, the intention is good, but the same cannot be said about the execution.