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 pandemic on universities such as Goldsmiths has been severe. Not only has it led to additional costs and lost income for the College but it has coincided with fundamental changes to the way higher education is funded and changed the profile and priorities of the students we recruit.
The Goldsmiths Recovery Programme is designed to ensure the College’s finances are sustainable and can withstand future economic shocks.
Why recovery is needed now
Goldsmiths has never been a wealthy institution but in the years before the pandemic we spent more, in both academic and non-academic areas, than we earned in income, leading to a deficit.
Starting the pandemic with a significant deficit, the College’s finances have come under severe pressure. Our latest accounts show Goldsmiths had a reported deficit of £12.7 million and an underlying deficit of £6.5m last year. We will suffer from government funding cuts of £2m a year from 2022, ongoing impacts from Covid-19 which has already cost us £10m, and a fall in student numbers in some subjects.
Overall, Goldsmiths needs to save £9m in ongoing spend by 2023 to put the College back on a sustainable financial footing. With staff costs of £90.4m a year, and our income having fallen 4.8% in the last two years, it is vital that we continue to make savings.
At the same time our students have given us clear feedback that we have to change the way we operate to vastly improve their experience. We need to revitalise our teaching, learning and research to improve the student experience.
In order to both build a sustainable financial future and improve how we operate we have to change. This means making some difficult decisions about the future shape, size and structure of the College.
Redundancies latest, 19 May 2022
A total of 20 members of staff have been informed that their roles are being made redundant, with nine staff (five full-time equivalent posts) in academic roles in the Department of English and Creative Writing and Department of History and 11 professional services staff (11 full-time equivalent posts) across the College.
This means they will leave Goldsmiths unless they can find an alternative role in the College before the end of their notice period. We are providing support for these colleagues to remain at Goldsmiths wherever possible, with the College prioritising these staff for redeployment and offering training to help them adapt to a potential new role.
We are also offering ongoing advice about career opportunities outside Goldsmiths for those staff who do not find a new role at the College, or choose/prefer not to.
The original recovery programme forecasts suggested 52 posts may have been at risk of redundancy. In order to minimise the level of staff redundancies, the College has reduced this number by prioritising savings in other areas, such as cutting operational costs and selling assets including properties and generating extra academic income.
What happens next
Goldsmiths remains committed to teaching the humanities as part of a varied teaching and learning offer including the disciplines of history, English and creative writing.
Our plans do not include the immediate closure of any courses currently being taught and include continuing to teach Creative Writing, Black British and Caribbean literature, Black British History and Queer Studies.
We are in contact with English and Creative Writing and History students who may be affected by the changes to address their individual situations and needs. All current students will continue to be taught on their existing programmes to achieve their learning outcomes.
Comprehensive careers support will be available for those selected for redundancy. This support includes unlimited one hour 121 coaching with a dedicated coach, skills analysis, CV builder, outplacement and upskilling and reskilling learning opportunities.
Looking to the future
We recognise how deeply upsetting and painful this period of change has been, and continues to be, for our community as we make some difficult decisions. Our hope is that we will be able to look back on this period as marking a turning point for the College.
Over the next year we will work with our community to develop plans for how 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.
At the same time we will be focusing our efforts on improving every aspect of the student experience. This includes working on initiatives to ensure that, whatever course they study, our students get the support they need and are helped to develop critical thinking skills, learn to tackle problems that cross disciplines, and document evidence of transferable skills relevant for a wide range of careers.