Southampton University Council
United Kingdom

Those involved in teaching and running the BSc (Hons) Sport Studies firmly believe that the proposal to close undergraduate sport should be rejected.

The proposed closure of the University’s BSc (Hons) Sport Studies programme (and the concomitant loss of 12 staff as well as numerous students) will have a negative effect on key areas of the University’s activity and business. Instead of confirming a phased withdrawal of the programme now, we would suggest that the provision of academic sport be included in the imminent discussions and planning for the University’s strategic review.

Evidence shows that:

· The BSc (Hons) Sport Studies programme is a high quality programme for which the University has become well known and well respected, with enormous potential for cross school provision and collaboration, and which fits well with the V-Cs vision of a broad and comprehensive curriculum provision for the University;

· Staff teaching on undergraduate sport have engaged in research activities despite the University and School’s strategic decision to invest minimally in them;

· There would be significant risk for the University associated with any closure, for example, the significant loss of enterprise activity if the sport programmes and their associated staff are not retained.

We have been told by the Dean and Head of School that the key reason for this proposal is linked to sport’s apparent failure to fit with the School’s core business, in both research and teaching. We strongly believe that this is unfounded and appears to be based on a very narrow perspective. We would also contend that the loss of this programme and its staff and students would have negative effects on the University and its community and should be considered in a wider context than simply that of core business of the School of Education.

The proposal to close sport undergraduate programmes at the University of Southampton emanated from a review of the School of Education in which these programmes are based. The review looked at sport in a very limited and narrow way, considering it only as a liability for the School’s projected REF performance.

In responding to the proposal, sport staff have drawn attention to the current and potential value that sport has to the University, in education, research and enterprise. The sport undergraduate programmes are not loss making, and are at the centre of the university's community outreach and volunteering programmes.

We, the undersigned, urge University Council to reject the proposed closure of sport, and to conduct a new, transparent and holistic analysis of the enormous potential and opportunity that academic sport can contribute to the University of Southampton, its local community and beyond.

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The Reject the proposed closure of Sports Studies at Southampton University petition to Southampton University Council was written by Amanda Bitouche and is in the category Education at GoPetition.