Applications drive funding focus

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In our current situation of rising tuition fees, students begin to question whether the tuition that they are receiving is really worth all the money that it will be costing the new intake of 2012.

Arts and Sciences have always been juxtaposed as subjects. For a BA subject such as English Literature, minimal contact hours and extensive personal reading time is considered the best set-up for a degree, yet science-based students such as biology, physics or engineering have over 20 hours of contact time a week, relating to the fact that everything on their course has to be taught.

There has been some unrest, as can be seen throughout a few of the comment articles on SCAN’s website, regarding what some perceive to be an increase of funding towards the Management School and a decrease of funding towards more arts based subjects.

LICA (Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts) have seen a decline in funding which has caused them to reduce the options that they offer to their students. Students can no longer take a performance module as part of their music degree. For many music students, continuation of performance tuition is a major influence on their decision to take music to degree level. The lack of funding towards the arts departments becomes part of a vicious circle, leading to lower admissions which in turn leads to lesser funding.

In an interview with SCAN, Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Robert McKinlay explained how a rise in admissions and applications to the Management School to some extent dictate where funding is being placed.

“British universities are governed – to an alarming extent, not totally – by sixteen- and seventeen-year olds and their mums and dads and aunties and uncles,” he said.

This increase in funding for the Management School has seen an increase in links with businesses. According to the LUMS website, “Employers are attracted to LUMS because of its reputation as a top UK business school and the high quality of its students.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Trevor Macmillan, described how links with businesses are important to the progression of the University. “An increasing number of funding opportunities are actually linked to projects where business and industry is involved. Inevitably we have to go that way.”

He denied that these business links were mainly within the Management School and on further investigation it seems that many can be found within the Science and Technology faculty.

He also felt that development within the arts faculties such as the new LICA building would improve business links in that area too. “We’re clearly very keen for example on increasing the links between our students and businesses in terms of employability and all of those sort of things.”

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