Department of Archaeology review

The Vice-Chancellor wrote to all staff on 27 May regarding a review into the Department of Archaeology.

Dear colleague,

I wanted to write to you today regarding a review into the Department of Archaeology, which you may have heard about from colleagues or read about in the media. I understand that this has caused concern in the University and beyond, so I wanted to explain to you why this review took place and what will happen next.

The Department of Archaeology has been facing multiple challenges in recent years, including a significant reduction in undergraduate student numbers, a fall in applications and a difficult external environment. After receiving a letter from staff in the Department expressing their concerns, a Review Group was established.

The Review Group included independent external members and spoke to staff and student representatives to identify options for the future of the department. It presented three choices: to support proposals for investment put forward by the Department, to close the Department, or to retain key areas of archaeological research and teaching by aligning them with other parts of the University.

Earlier this week, the University Executive Board (UEB) carefully considered these options and agreed to propose the third option to the University's Council - but with enhanced investment in areas of excellence. This would mean that key areas of research and teaching strength are retained and moved elsewhere in the University. This is a configuration adopted successfully by other universities.

I would like to assure you that UEB's recommendation has not been made lightly. UEB absolutely recognises the value of arts and humanities subjects both within the Faculty and across the whole University. We understand the value of archaeology and we recognise the Department's historic reputation. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the Department is facing many challenges that need to be addressed.

UEB's recommendation will be made to the University Council, who will consult with the University's Senate. A UEB-led implementation group will be established to identify how we could support the transition and invest in the further development of areas of excellence. We will also ensure that students in the Department continue to receive high-quality teaching, research supervision and support and we will adhere to the commitments set out in our student protection plan, should this recommendation be approved.

With best wishes,

Koen Lamberts