July 20, 2011
The new LLAS: Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies will come into existence on 1 August. Despite the withdrawal of most of our HEA funding we are fortunate to be able to carry on with some of our activities as a ‘not for profit’. We will continue to work with HEA as well as with subject associations in LLAS.
We have a programme of workshops and conferences lined up already and we are planning further workshops on areas such as employability, language teaching and sustainable development. We will also be available to provide staff development in departments and will continue to publish Début: the undergraduate journal of languages, linguistics and area studies.
Nevertheless, this is very much the end of an era. I will greatly miss the many colleagues in other subject centres I have worked with over the years though I hope that I will continue to see them in other settings.
February 14, 2011
I have an unstated objective to write something for my blog at least once a week. Preferably that something should be fairly interesting. Now I realise that two weeks has past since I wrote anything at all.
Not that nothing is happening. In subject centres there is a lot happening. We face an uncertain future as the HEA withdraws our funding. Whatever I am doing on 1 August 2011 won’t be what I am doing now.
In 2010 I had an article published in the Points for Departure section of Teaching in Higher Education. The Invisible Developers: Academic Coordinators in the UK Subject Centre Network sought to draw attention to what I saw as the neglect of subject centre staff in narratives about educational development in the UK. With the impending closure of subject centres the whole point of the article is largely redundant. Even when I wrote that article at the end of 2009 I had imagined a bright future for subject centres, a (relatively) inexpensive alternative to sporadic rounds of short term project funding.
What next? I don’t know, but in a few years time some report or other will recommend a UK-wide network of discipline-based centres to support teaching and learning on a national basis.