Goldsmiths Recovery Programme

Our College is currently facing a set of fundamental challenges which have been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The challenges include:

  • Unsustainable finances
  • The need to revitalise our teaching, learning and research
  • Our size, shape and structure

The impact of the past 18 months has been severe, not only in terms of the in-year costs but the likely legacy of longer-term fundamental changes to the way higher education is funded and the changed profile and priorities of students we recruit.

The Goldsmiths Recovery Programme is urgently required to ensure our finances are stable and sustainable.

Why recovery is needed now

For several years we have been working to make our finances more sustainable and to manage our financial deficit.

We have overspent in many areas – academic and non-academic – and our deficit has been increasing. This has been compounded by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, we are now facing a significant £2m funding cut following government announcements about HE financing. These announcements include the removal of London weighting from universities and the halving of government funding for ‘high-cost subjects’ including performing arts, creative arts and media studies.

Furthermore, we need to revitalise our teaching, learning and research to improve the student experience. At the time of the pandemic, our students had shared consistent and clear feedback asking us to change the way we operate to vastly improve their experience and we had started work to address this.

As we address these critical challenges, and make changes to the way we operate, we will need to consider what is the best and most sustainable shape, size and structure for our College.

What recovery means for students

  • We’re keeping our promises: We’ll continue to provide the education we promised when you joined us
  • We’re listening and will continue to listen: Students have been telling us consistently that you want an improved student experience including teaching, administrative support and access to facilities, so we’ll deliver this through these changes
  • More value for money: We’re looking at ways to improve the student experience and improve our spending

The Recovery Plan

The Goldsmiths Recovery Programme has been designed to address these challenges and make our college more sustainable. It will put acting on student feedback at the heart of shaping what we do, to ensure that a vibrant and creative College continues to support students for years to come.

There are three workstreams within the Goldsmiths Recovery Programme, each tasked with focusing on making savings:

  • Professional Services Blueprint – The Professional Services Blueprint (PSB) aims to deliver our professional services in a more effective and efficient way. Through doing this, we can improve the student and staff experience at the same time as making savings
  • Academic Portfolio Review – Through the Academic Portfolio Review (APR) we are looking at the current performance, and future potential, of our academic portfolio. We are identifying opportunities to reduce costs, especially where programmes or modules are operating at a deficit
  • Non-Pay and Estates – The Non-Pay and Estates workstream focuses on a series of initiatives that will identify and make savings from our non-pay and estates activities. This has included selling some under-used buildings on our estate which has helped us in minimising savings elsewhere

The recovery programme is committed to encouraging representative engagement and participation from across the Goldsmiths community within the programmes’ governance structures. This includes having staff and student representatives taking part in the three recovery workstreams outlined above as well as subject matters experts seconded into the programme to provide their expertise on a more full-time basis. Each workstream will be supported with individual, tailored communications.

Looking to the future

The world is changing faster than ever, with new questions posed every day but where answers more often than not come from the same vested interests and powerful social hierarchies. Goldsmiths already plays an important role in challenging those orthodoxies and throwing a searchlight on some of society’s biggest problems. 

Yet we can do and be so much more, and in the years to come Goldsmiths will be the pre-eminent beacon of progressive, liberal values with a deeper reach and wider impact than we have so far experienced. Through strong, sustainable foundations we will be able to invest in the academic endeavour so that our students have a peerless and equitable experience. 

Within this, subject to ongoing Collective Consultation with our unions, we remain committed to teaching the humanities as part of a varied teaching and learning offer including the disciplines of history, English and creative writing. This includes an expectation of the continuation of areas including Creative Writing, Black British History, Black British and Caribbean Literature and Queer Studies as vital areas of academic endeavour which, alongside the Goldsmiths Prize, are a unique part of our College. 

This commitment to our educational offer remains unchanged and our proposals seek to find a middle way, where we can achieve sustainability and secure areas that are distinct and intrinsically "Goldsmiths" and which find new ways of delivering in our traditional areas of strength like the environment, civic responsibility and social justice.

Our ambitions apply across the board and we want our academic colleagues to be able to work in an environment that enhances their talents in teaching and research and where there is equal reward for professional services teams  who work so hard to support Goldsmiths’ mission. 

Most important of all, our endeavours will be rooted in the charitable purpose of community, laid out so clearly in our charter which states the objects of the College are “to advance knowledge, wisdom and understanding by teaching, study, public service and research”.

If you are a member of the Goldsmiths community and would like to comment on our proposals for change as part of the Goldsmiths Recovery Programme, please visit: