Updated outline of the Department’s response to issues raised by the College

1.  Departmental finance.  The Department currently has high salary costs because 7 out of 13 Classics staff are Professors.  We believe that the right way forward is not to make cuts in staff costs but to increase income. We have plans to increase our numbers of MA students from Greece and other Mediterranean countries and to set up two MRes degrees, one in Rhetoric and one in Reception, which will appeal to new markets both at home and overseas.  More generally, we are working to raise our international profile still higher so as to attract more overseas students.  We also plan to develop a programme of Continuing Professional Development for school teachers which will not only bring us some further income but also secure our future undergraduate recruitment.

 2.  Admissions.  The College’s proposal that we reduce Home and EU undergraduate student numbers by approximately half appears to be based on two things:  our tendency in recent years to admit students through Clearing, and a belief that if students have to pay fees of £9000 per year they are unlikely to apply to a Classics Department.  However there are good grounds for believing that Classics will continue to recruit very strongly in the new world of HE funding.  This year our applications have surged by 35% (compared to a national rise of 1.3%) and we have recruited comfortably above target.

3.  The National Student Survey.  The College has noted that last year we were in the third quartile of Classics Departments for overall student satisfaction, with a score of 87%.   All this shows is that Classics Departments as a group have very high levels of student satisfaction.  Our overall score in 2010 was in fact the highest in the Arts Faculty at Royal Holloway, and we had an ‘upper quartile’ score of 94% for ‘the teaching on my course’.  In 2011 our score for overall student satisfaction was 90%, the median score for Classics Departments and above the score for the College overall (87%).

4.  Research quality.  We recognise that we performed less well than we had hoped to do in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.  This was largely due to the fact that during the assessment period staff were required by the College to spend a great deal of time writing courses for the University of London External Degree in Classical Studies.  The College has acknowledged that we are on track to do much better in the Research Excellence Framework in 2013-14.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

30 August 2011

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