Proposed changes at the University of Leicester

Last week, we entered a consultation period with 145 staff over proposals for change, with a potential net reduction of around 60 roles (subject to the outcome of consultation and selection processes). 

Following the announcement, there have been a number of erroneous assertions in the media regarding the proposed changes. In order to follow our process, we hadn’t wanted to share the full details of the changes publicly until we had the chance to discuss these proposals with our staff first-hand. This has now happened.

This statement responds to a number of inaccuracies currently being shared:

  • 145 posts are at risk of redundancy, of which we are expecting a net reduction of approximately 60 posts (subject to the outcome of consultation and selection processes). 145 people at risk of redundancy does not mean 145 people will be made redundant. We will work with our staff to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.
  • Of the 145 posts at risk, 63 are academic posts and 82 are professional services staff.
  • Proposals are based on long-term strategy and not on individual performance or affiliations.
  • These proposals are not linked to decolonising our curriculum. Our work on decolonising the curriculum is an important, entirely separate initiative to diversify our teaching and learning and make the University more inclusive for all our students. We have one of the most diverse student bodies in the UK.
  • We are not proposing to close degree courses in Business, Neuroscience, Psychology or Mathematics.
  • No final decisions have been made – we are currently in the consultation phase of the formal process.

Much of the media coverage (and social media responses) centred on our proposed changes to English and stated that the University plans to “ban” the teaching of medieval authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, in order to move to a “decolonised curriculum”.

Any assertion that authors, such as Chaucer, will be “banned” from the English literature curriculum have no basis, nor do any stories suggesting these proposals are linked to a programme to decolonise the curriculum. 

The proposed changes to medieval literature have been informed by a drop in demand from undergraduate and postgraduate students in recent years. The University cannot continue to offer modules that consistently attract small and ever-declining numbers, especially when the pressures across the higher education sector are taken into account. Under our proposals for English, we will continue to offer a wide chronological range, covering hundreds of years of English literature – enabling students to experience the scope of literature they tell us they want to see in an English curriculum today. 

We are now in an extensive, 90-day consultation period and are engaging closely with unions, staff, students and external stakeholders. We will review all the feedback we receive as part of this consultation.

The proposed programme of change has been designed to build upon the University’s position as a leading, research-intensive university; one that provides an exceptional educational experience for all students and staff, now and in the future. We understand this is a challenging time for our community but any decisions made will ultimately be taken with the long-term interest of the University at heart.