For our next installment in our 80th Anniversary series, we go back six years to 2010, when it was first announced that all sports degree courses would be phased out by the University of Southampton, prompting outcry from students. Check out the report from the January 2010 edition of Wessex Scene below.
Wessex Scene, 21/01/2010
The University of Southampton has decided to discontinue all Sports Studies degree programmes as a result of the new strategic direction of the University. Nick Foskett, Head of the Education School, has released the following statement regarding the phase-out:
The University reviewed course provision and research performance across the School of Education, and has done so in order to meet the demands of the University as a leading research institution. Sport and foundation degree programmes are not part of the University’s research profile and following the external review of the School, it is a strategic decision to propose the closure of the programmes.
However, this is countered by many Southampton students who feel the decision had been made in the absence of any supporting evidence to show that the programmes in question are anything less than excellent. Outraged students feel cheated as they believe that in order to maintain the credibility of their degrees it is imperative that the University reconsider its decision.
After the news broke of the phase-out, AU officer William Harvey has been urging students to speak out on the issue and has launched a Facebook group and a petition website. Harvey believes the ramifications are extensive and feels that the Sports Degree Programmes act locally within schools and colleges to further the reputation of the University, including coaching, teaching and supporting the education infrastructure within Southampton.
In addition to the impact on volunteering, eradication of the Sports Degree Programmes will inevitably have a hugely adverse impact on sports teams across the University, as many sports students are heavily involved in the University sports teams and clubs. In addition, the University of Southampton is acting as not only a training venue for numerous Team GB athletes including many gold medal hopefuls, but also as a preparation venue for international athletes that have travelled across the world to take part in events.
The period running up to and following the London 2012 Olympics should be a time for building upon UK expertise in sporting disciplines, and the continuation of the Sports Studies programme certainly would have aided this.