Save Surrey's Politics Department
As graduates, current students and friends of the Department of Politics, University of Surrey we are writing to express our concern at recent reports that the Department will be effectively closed at the end of this academic year. The purported end of the Department impacts not only students and graduates, but the disciplines of Politics and International Relations and higher education more widely.
We wish to write in support of the experience we had at Surrey Politics and in outrage at the actions of the University in closing a small, vibrant Department on the rise and now ranked 6th and 17th in the Guardian and Complete University Guide league tables respectively. A number of us were in the first cohort in 2006 and have continued to watch the Department grow from strength to strength. This is a Department which provided an incredibly supportive environment for us to develop and in which many of us thrived. The experiences we had during our time at Surrey Politics have undoubtedly helped us to prosper as graduates and inspired many of us in our chosen career paths. This is testament to the commitment of our teachers who went above and beyond what was expected of them, their dedication to us as students saw them put in long hours at work to the detriment of time with their own families. They have inspired many of us who are graduates to pursue our chosen career paths and instilled us with the confidence and skills to be able to do so. Evidence of this is found in the National Student Survey (NSS) results which showed in 2014 97% student satisfaction among Politics students (above the University average of 91%).
We would also like to express concern about how the University management has failed to communicate the full extent and impact of the measures they are proposing. News of the extent of the 'restructuring' reached many of us over social media and did not reflect the message from the University of Surrey's Vice President, Dr David Ashton, that the changes would be implemented with 'disruption to students at an absolute minimum'. For one thing, the University has overlooked the negative effect this will have on graduates and students, both in terms of the current degree programmes and – most significantly - the impact on the value of a degree from a Department now apparently deemed worthy of closure. All this from a University ranked first in the UK for employability.
Finally, we would like to draw attention to the University's marketing strategy which has seen the campus adorned in recent years with huge banners proclaiming 'Wonderful Things Happen Here'. Yes they do, or rather they did and Surrey Politics was a shining example.