School of Modern Languages and Cultures

School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Consultation Panel:

  • Convener: Professor Neal Juster, Vice-Principal (Strategy & Resources)
  • David Anderson, Lay member of Court
  • Professor John Macklin, Head of School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Clerk: Anne Mitchell


The consultation e-mail address closed on 4 April. A broad analysis follows:


  • By 4 April 214 responses were received.
  • Of these, 3 were from applicants; 18 from alumni, 41 from staff, 62 from external parties and 90 from students (most of which arrived on the last day of the consultation).
  • One person sent 5 responses, 2 sent 3 responses and 6 sent 2 responses.


  • Around 30% of responses refer to the intellectual and cultural value of the discipline, as well as the political and economic value of language acquisition.
  • Around 25% of responses defend of the retention of Slavonic Languages.  (These account for two thirds of the external responses.)
  • Around 10% are in defence of Russian, of which a small number refer specifically to the Diploma.
  • Smaller numbers of responses support Portuguese, Italian and German, the latter being highly valued by lawyers.
  • Around 5% emphasise the importance of languages to Erasmus exchanges and the University's internationalisation strategy.
  • Around 10% of responses are from GU staff outside SMLC about the value of languages to other University disciplines: CEES/History/Music/Law/Classics/Theology.
  • Around 5% of responses are from students praising the quality of SCML teaching.
  • A small number of comments were received suggesting that too great a value was placed on research.
  • A few responses refer to the value of the range of languages taught.
  • Small numbers of responses raise concerns about the potential damage caused by the threat of closure of the School; the lack of common purpose in School; and the need for national/West of Scotland policy for language provision.
  • A few responses query the need for/scale of cuts and a few are critical of the consultation process.



Terms of Reference of Consultation Process

Terms of Reference of Consultation Process

The University's Senior Management Group (SMG) has a wide range of data on the performance of individual subject areas with respect to the Key Performance Indicators contained in the strategic plan, relative performance of the unit in the last Research Assessment Exercise, current research income and publications, student demand and performance in the UK subject league tables.

The process of consultation should consider these data and also answer the following points, as a minimum, through consultation with students, the SRC, staff and other stakeholders: 

  • The SMG proposition is that the current activity is not well aligned with the University’s strategy. Is there evidence that rebuts this proposition? 
  • What is the impact across the University of withdrawing/reshaping this activity on the student experience and the development of new interdisciplinary undergraduate or taught postgraduate courses? Are there alternative methods of addressing demand, including other providers in the City of Glasgow, the West of Scotland or Scotland? 
  • How will the education of students currently on degree programmes in the area be protected?
  • How does the current research in the unit align with the priorities of the research councils or other major funders of research?
  • What would be the impact of withdrawing/reshaping this area on the University’s interdisciplinary research agenda?
  • To what extent does research in the unit inform the development of teaching programmes in the University? Is this commensurate with an excellent research intensive university?
  • What is the impact across the University of withdrawing/reshaping this activity on our global reach and reputation including the recruitment of international students
  • Who are the stakeholders, in addition to staff and students, who will be affected by the proposed changes? What are their views? Can their needs or wishes be met in other ways if the proposed action is taken?
  • Are there other features arising from the  University withdrawing/reshaping this activity which Court should be mindful of in terms of the University’s impact on the national and regional community?
  • Does the Equality Impact Assessment on students or staff of the proposed changes require mitigating actions to be taken?

Please remember that if you want your views to be taken into account in the first report by the consultation panel, you will need to submit written contributions, by email or letter, by 4 April 2011.

Extract from Court Paper

Extract from Court Paper

1.1.1      School of Modern Languages and Cultures

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC), has been subject to a number of reviews, the most recent of which reported at the beginning of 2010. The review made comment on the poor overall research performance of the School (particularly Slavonic Studies, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies) and two of the report’s recommendations were aimed particularly at providing space and concentrating resources to improve the research situation, namely: to concentrate new investments in the areas where research sustainability might be achieved; and to consider withdrawing from offering some languages to honours level. Since the review Undergraduate recruitment has remained buoyant but research performance has yet to show significant signs of improvement (particularly research income) and applications to taught postgraduate courses is less than a tenth of the next school in the College. The College would like to consider the implications of three options for SMLC:

  1. To withdraw from 3 language areas, no longer offering them to honours level. This would release resource for reinvestment in the most sustainable research areas in the school (French and Hispanic).
  2. To withdraw from 2 language areas, no longer offering them to honours level.
  3. To preserve join joint honours programmes in the majority of the main areas of activity, and single honours in the remainder, moving staff to teaching only contracts as appropriate.

Consultation Meetings

SMLC students: Tuesday 22 March at 12 noon in Boyd Orr Building, Room 412 Lecture Theatre B

SMLC staff: Monday 28 March at 10am in Boyd Orr Building, Room 412 Lecture Theatre B

Central and East European Studies/CRCEES staff: Monday 28 March at 11am in Boyd Orr Building, Room 507 Lecture Theatre C

Consultation Meeting with SMLC Students: 7 April at 11am in Room 407, Boyd Orr Building

Key Documents

Key Documents

Key documents for the consultation on the School of Modern Languages & Cultures can be downloaded as a pdf using the links on the right.

Meeting summaries are available here:

  • Summary of Meeting 11.03.11
  • Summary of Meeting 16.03.11
  • Summary of Meeting 22.03.11
  • Key DocumentsSMLC
  • Summary of CEES & CRCEES staff consultation meeting 28.03.11
  • Key DocumentsSMLC
  • SMLC Report - Executive Summary 26.05.11