International strengths in new School
(24 May 2004)
The Department of Politics and the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (IMEIS) are jointly preparing plans to work together as elements of a new School.
The proposed step is part of the ongoing reinvestment and restructuring by the University to build on its prime academic strengths and enhance its international standing.
The outline proposal has been discussed with staff and students in both departments, which would maintain their own identities within the School. The University Executive Committee has approved the outline in principle, as part of the Strategic Improvement Programme, subject to the development of a detailed proposal.
In a combined School, the two units will complement each other's teaching strengths. Politics is a high-demand undergraduate subject, and for undergraduates the plans would involve no additional changes. They would continue to work for BA Politics, Politics (European Studies), Joint Honours and PPE degrees. The main focus of the Politics undergraduate programmes stays in Old Elvet with the Politics Department, and the current IMEIS courses at Elvet Hill carry on there through the teaching-out period over the next three years.
IMEIS is already being developed to concentrate on postgraduate research and teaching, where it already has established links with Politics, laying the foundations for a rationalisation of provision as part of a major programme of expansion in post-graduate programmes mainly based at Elvet Hill.
The School would bring together the current 17 academic and 6 support staff and seek to appoint a further two lectureships and a Chair in the short term to underpin its strengths and development plans. This is line with the strategic commitment to research excellence and gives the School the potential to be one of the UK's larger units submitted for the next Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 in the Politics & International Relations area.
Several established University Research Centres, such as the very successful Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies would also be part of the new School.
Under the outline proposal, it is suggested that the two existing Boards of Studies should be replaced by a single Board with responsibility for the academic programmes of both departments.
The two departments are now working on the details, including a name for the new School, to be put to meetings of UEC, Senate and Council in June/July, to approve the plans in time for the School to be established on 1 August.