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Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sci-comm course takes a bath

It is now official - the Bath Science Culture and Communication Masters course is closing at the end of this academic year.

Explaining the decision, Prof Christine Griffin, head of the Psychology department that hosts the masters in Science, Culture and Communication wrote:

"Our original intention was to continue to run the SCC programme until 2008/09, but a number of factors have led us to reconsider this decision. I am therefore considering a proposal to withdraw the MSc in Science, Culture and Communication with effect from 2008/09. There are a number of reasons for this, which are presented below:

1. Student numbers and applications on SCC have been decreasing steadily over the past few years, partly as a consequence of the launch of successful competitor courses at Cardiff and UWE.

2. The course involves a number of external tutors who present units that are integral to the SCC programme, but this incurs relatively high external teaching costs. As a consequence, SCC is becoming less financially viable as a stand-alone course.

3. A number of staffing issues have arisen during the current academic year, involving a significant reduction in staff with expertise to teach the course. If SCC runs in 2008/09, the Department runs the risk of being unable to service the course to an acceptable standard, given the probable pressures on existing staff. It would be preferable to allocate staff time to other teaching duties..."

Anna Grayson, an ABSW prize winner who taught on the course, regrets the closure but told me: "It is probably best to … quit while we are still managing to produce good marketable graduates. We have ten impressive students going through this year."

Ted Nield