Closure of CDS Impact and Armour Group and Ranges: Impact on Student Experience
Dear CDS Students,
You may be aware that Cranfield University is currently undertaking financial savings. As part of this, 33 CDS staff will lose their jobs. For further information, see: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/press/news-2017/statement).
It is proposed that the Impact and Armour Group (IAG) should close, along with the ranges, and the 10 members of staff who work there will lose their jobs. To us students this is also the loss of a valuable and unique resource for research into both military and civilian projects. You will be affected if you are studying for an MSc in EOE, BTC, WVS and Forensic Ballistics, or a PhD. AT and ATO courses will also be affected.
We are asking you to help us fight this closure by signing this petition.
This closure affects our student experience here at CDS:
- The closure of the IAG will remove teaching and practical learning from multiple courses, reducing the knowledge students will gain.
- IAG and the ranges offer students a completely unique “behind the wire” set of facilities and expertise to undertake research in this valuable field, within the security of a fully functioning military establishment. Closure will therefore mean projects in ballistic and blast will no longer be available for the students, removing the real world hands-on learning opportunity that cannot be gained from PowerPoint presentations alone.
- The practical skills of the range technical staff will be lost, removing valuable learning and development for the students, and losing the IAG staff removes the opportunity of providing students a larger network of industry, government and other academic contracts that can assist them in their future careers.
- The opportunity to pursue research into ballistic and blast protection will go along with the wealth of knowledge held by the academics, severely damaging the reputation of Cranfield University and in turn the quality of the student degrees.
- There will be an immediate effect on 6 PhD students who will lose their primary supervisors.
- The closure of the ranges will stop the routine test work conducted by the ranges which helps support this capability and also maintains Cranfield University’s reputation in the field of ballistic and blast testing.
- The time for testing will be affected if moved externally, resulting in less streamlined operations and delays to student research projects.
- External provision of similar services will cost more, take longer and be more problematic to amend without the guidance offered by IAG staff.
- The cost of ballistic and blast testing will increase dramatically if the requirement is outsourced. This may well detract from the provision of other resources that are critical to the student research experience.
- The range and the expertise within IAG are unique selling points for the university and cannot be found elsewhere or replaced, so this closure is effectively closing down a valuable research area that will affect those whom would benefit from research outcomes, such as front line service personnel and police.
This proposal will not enhance the experience of students studying at CDS. It will also impact negatively on the academic staff, our supervisors. It completely undermines the “education quality and relevance”, “outstanding experience” and “performance and career-enhancing outcomes” as laid out within the Cranfield University 415i policy for current and potential post-graduate students undertaking or wishing to undertake research in ballistics or blast.
There are very few other universities and research establishments that offer ballistic and blast testing in the UK, and those with such capability value the need for a formed department and appropriate testing facilities as essential provision for taught and research student activity.
The Vice Chancellor argues that “The world within which we work is changing very rapidly and will continue to evolve. The global economy and higher education funding, the way people learn and conduct research, student and customer expectations, and growing international competition all require us to adapt and innovate.”…“In moving forward, we need to continue to strengthen our reputation and resilience.”... “We must focus on those areas of excellence and distinctive strength which will contribute to the future growth and success of the University, enhancing the student experience and meeting the needs of our customers in Government and industry.”
Abolishing the Impact and Armour Group and closing the ranges does not add value. It removes a significant research capability, and completely alienates a large pool of students both military and civilian as well as potential researchers. Student expectations will be negatively affected. The research community at CDS and its future growth will be negatively affected. The student experience and, as a result, Cranfield’s status and reputation will be negatively affected, as well as partnerships and research collaboration with organizations that provide both students and contracts including the military, Home Office and police will be significantly reduced.
We urge you to please sign this petition and add comments on how you view this proposal or how the Impact and Armour Group or use of the ranges has helped you with your research.