Bangor University has launched a consultation on the future of the Chemistry degree course, blaming the decision on fierce competition and a drop in student numbers.
The Chemistry department at Bangor is ranked 8th in the UK for teaching quality and student experience. The proposals would see chemistry teaching and research at the university discontinue over a three-year period and the potential loss of 15 academic and 3 technical staff.
The University has confirmed the consultation was on the future of the single-honours Bachelor of Science Chemistry course, which is can also be taken partially through the medium of Welsh. The University have confirmed they will honour their commitment to students currently studying the course, whatever the outcome of the consultation.
In October, the university revealed it needed to make £5m savings this academic year and last week a number of staff in several departments have received emails warning them of the possibility of redundancy.
Lorrie Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Bangor University, said: “We are of course very concerned that this will become a reality.
“The University says it needs to save money – we don’t think closing the chemistry provision is the best long-term solution.
“UK wide, it is well recognised that chemistry as a subject area is strategically important, because of its essential contribution to the economy and wider society.
“At Bangor we perform high quality research and education and have strong links to schools in the region as well as local and national businesses. It is important for the North Wales that the University recognises that we are worth investing in and preserving.”
A University spokesperson said: “Bangor University like many other universities are facing financial pressure including fierce competition in Britain and a significant drop in the population demographic in 18-20 year olds.
“In order to ensure healthy long term finances, the universities committee has approved many business causes for consultation. The plans are being discussed by unions and the university has begun a formal process of consultation with the staff and students who are affected.”
“Whatever the outcome the university notes clearly that it will honour its commitment to current students and they will still be able to graduate with the course they registered.”
A Facebook Group called ‘Bangor Needs Chemistry’ campaigning against the proposals, has attracted over 500 likes in just 24hrs. A spokesperson for the page said: “The Facebook page was set up to raise awareness to alumni and the local community.
“The response we have had from alumni thus far has been sadness and a call to arms. They all remember the department fondly and have nothing but positives to say about it.
“Physical campaigning is already a thing. The course reps have been holding lectures getting students concerns, opinions, ideas and general feedback and meeting with the Students Union and reaching out to various parties.
“We intend to keep going until the end of the consultation period and will keep fighting for the department we all love whatever the outcome of the consultation may be.”
Local politicians MP Hywel Williams and AM Siân Gwenllian have called for urgent talks with representatives of the university to discuss budget cuts and the threat to jobs.