Today the Vice Chancellor announced that the University would be undertaking a three year financial plan in order to secure its long term financial sustainability. If the University takes no action they face a £4.6 million deficit in the next financial year. They have the reserves to do that for a few years but it is not a sustainable in the long term. Among other things their plan includes a large scale voluntary severance scheme and significant growth in the foundation year and international student recruitment. The intention is to use this plan to generate a surplus and then invest that money back into the University.
We regularly talk to staff who feel they are already overworked and underpaid. A scheme that sees yet more staff leave runs the risk of work being pushed onto an already overworked staffing base, contributing to higher levels of stress. We are concerned that this could lead to a reduction in the quality of teaching, support and student experience.
We, alongside the Keele Postgraduate Association, have begun conversations with representatives from trade unions and senior university staff around how to make sure these changes are done with the interests of students in mind and will continue to do so over the following days, weeks and months.
Myself and George Blake (KPA President) are members of University Council - Keele's board of directors - and have seen the numbers. While we can't talk about commercially confident figures, the trends that are driving this plan are real.
If anyone wishes to talk about this please get in touch at email@example.com
UPDATE: The Financial Plan which the Vice Chancellor announced has been made availible to staff and students. Click here to read it.