Petition to save Philosophy at Keele

[UPDATE from Keele:]

We are pleased to report that, following constructive discussions with senior management yesterday and the extraordinary meetings of the Faculty Board and Senate today, it has been agreed that the proposal to close down the Philosophy Programme at Keele will be reconsidered and that Philosophy will have a student intake in September 2011.

This does not mean that the future of Philosophy is yet secure, as savings within the broader School still have to be identified by June. Should at that point the proposal to discontinue Philosophy at Keele be revived we may need to call on your help again. But for the moment the signs are encouraging.

We would like to thank everyone for your overwhelming support and help without which we cannot imagine how this result would have been possible!

Philosophy Programme Team


[From philosophers at Keele University:]

On Weds March 23rd Senate at Keele University will consider a proposal to close the Philosophy undergraduate degree (with 4 staff) and its Postgraduate Centre for Professional Ethics (9 staff). If Senate appoves the proposal it will go to University Council on April 7th and it will be very difficult to reverse after that.

Keele management have a target to reduce the staff wage bill by at least 6.5 million – and so far voluntary measures have achieved all but 1.8 million of that target. Closing both Philosophy units is estimated to lead to savings of 600k although it is in fact debatable that any savings would necessarily be achieved by doing this. Other cuts are also proposed but the undergraduate degree is the only programme facing closure.

The undergraduate dual honours programme at Keele relies on a core staff of four lecturers assisted by members of the School of Politics and has an annual intake of around 70 students (the equivalent of 35 full-time students). The four are all productive and active reseachers. Even by the strange logic that operates in UK Higher Education – this is value for money. The university’s proposals assume a rapid decline in the undergraduate intake for philosophy – based solely on guesstimates that the number of home students will decline in the new fees market. So to be clear it is not that Philosophy makes a loss, but they fear that it will not be able to generate sufficient profit and rather than give them a chance to prove the unversity wrong they have chosen to close the degree. Similar arguments can be made against the proposal to close Professional Ethics, but the key point is that if Keele is able to push this through, other humanities and social science departments with strong records at many other universities will also be at risk.

Please sign the Save Philosophy petition at:

The facebook group:

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