Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has called upon senior managers at a valleys-based university to re-think proposed redundancies of front-line staff after a poor performance in a UK universities’ league table.
In a list compiled by the TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, the University of South Wales was ranked 117th out of 129 universities.
This represented a fall of 18 places on last year’s result. The placings are ranked on a range of criteria including student satisfaction, graduate prospects, student-staff ratio and academic services spend.
Earlier this year, the university launched a consultation on the loss of up to 139 jobs, many of which are among frontline staff. This led to Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood calling upon First Minister Carwyn Jones to instigate Welsh Government intervention to save jobs.
Ms Wood, who is a former graduate of the university when it was known as the University of Glamorgan, said the result of the latest universities’ league table show prove that cuts to frontline staff are ill-judged.
“Many of the jobs under threat involve direct contact with students,” said Ms Wood. “Whether it is in student services or libraries, these staff perform vital roles to ensure the student experience is as rich and fulfilling as possible.
“There is also the threat to the nursery service provided on the Treforest campus which will have a big impact on certain students.
“These are the roles that impact most upon student satisfaction – a key criteria in the universities league table which, in turn, is a key reference point for prospective students.
“The University of South Wales is clearly struggling if these league tables are to be believed. Judging by the correspondence I have received, staff and student morale is not good at the University of South Wales. This has to be addressed - making frontline staff redundant will only exacerbate the problem.
“I would like to see senior management shelve their redundancy plans to see if there is another way of addressing the financial shortfall they face. For example, can they look at the management structure in place? I have been told is it top heavy by a number of sources.”
Ms Wood added: “I also echo my calls for the Welsh Government to get involved in helping the University of South Wales and any other higher education institution facing financial difficulty in our country. Now more than ever, we need to be selling Wales to the rest of the world and struggling universities will be detrimental to those efforts.”
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