We the undersigned, speaking from institutions across the country and from the perspectives of a wide range of disciplines, write to express our profound consternation at the decision of the Higher Education Academy to discontinue the funding of all Subject Centres from July 2011, replacing them instead with staff directly employed by the HEA. The success of the Subject Centres since their inception has been considerable. They have initiated a range of innovatory practices; funded the publication of valuable research into the nature and consequences of what we do; and articulated the views of the subject communities, both teachers and students, energetically and with clarity. In so doing, they have provided an invaluable (and previously unavailable) discipline-specific contribution to education and training for university teachers and have substantially increased both the profile and the prestige of teaching and learning in U.K. Higher Education Institutions. It is hard to think of other bodies more universally valued by the subject communities which the Subject Centres variously serve, and at this particular juncture, when Higher Education in the U.K. faces one of the severest challenges it has ever encountered, the work of the Subject Centres is more crucial than ever. Disbanding the Centres will do immeasurable damage to the cause of teaching and learning in subject communities throughout the country. We call upon the HEA to recognize the esteem in which the Subject Centres are held, to acknowledge the value for money that they provide, and to reverse its decision to discontinue their funding.
Professor Susan Bruce, Head of the School of Humanities, Keele University
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