University of Hertfordshire’s history department set to be cut by 25 per cent

The University of Herts

The University of Herts - Credit: Archant

Academic job losses are expected at the University of Hertfordshire.

Plans to cut the Hatfield-based university's history department by 25 per cent this summer were announced yesterday by Universities & College Union Hertfordshire's Twitter.

The UCH Twitter account stated: "On 20 June management informed staff that a plan had been approved to cut 25 per cent of academic staff in history @UniofHerts through enforced redundancies. All 12 members of the history group were at risk."

A spokesperson for the University of Hertfordshire said: "The school of humanities is currently in consultation with staff in relation to a review of history positions within the school. The university is committed to retaining employees wherever possible and we are in discussion with trade union colleagues to ensure the process is fair and transparent."

UCU Hertfordshire also tweeted: "The case was presented on the basis of undergraduate staff-student ratios (2015-18), undergraduate tuition income per full-time equivalent staff, and increased pension costs. They plan to make rapid cuts to history to fund new staff appointments in other subject areas.

"Management has not taken into account a 15 per cent drop in history staff numbers in the past year due to retirement and through staff taking on roles in management, the significant research income generated by the group, or the impact on/of postgraduate programmes."

The history course at the university is currently ranked 18th in the Guardian's leagues tables, having risen from 70th two years ago.

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UCH branch manager for the University of Hertfordshire, John Berry, said: "The announcment was out of the blue and for no reason that we can discern.

"The history department is one of the most successful, highly recognised and accomplished in the country.

"The university says it's not a cost cutting exercise, but we dispute that - we can't see a justification.

"We are calling on the vice chancellor and senior staff to rethink their very careless strategy, and our members to think very carefully about what action we may have to take to persuade the university of the strength of our feeling."

With regards to future action, Mr Berry added: "we're still in the early stages."