Students applying for 2010/11
It’s that time of the year when students are considering their applications through UCAS for university in 2010/11. I’ve felt it necessary to do a quick post after being contacted by a number of potential students, enquiring about the forthcoming academic year. Despite having ‘left the building’ in November, I’m still listed on the website of the London College of Communication ‘LCC’ as the course director for their BA (Hons) Public Relations, and rumours are doing the rounds that the degree is set to close.
Set the record straight
I’m happy to use my blog to set the record straight on that front – it is not. But the College does have serious issues that many feel it needs to address. I am not going to use this blog entry to go through those arguments in detail, but do feel it is fair that students applying to ‘LCC’ know that I am no longer employed there, and that students at the university have major issues about the institution.
Those issues are caused by the impact of the closure of a range of other degree courses on the delivery of the PR course, and the cancellation for the third consecutive year of a revalidation (re-writing of the course) that would have addressed concerns over a lack of specialist PR resources. Instead, I am going to group together a number of links that are already in the public domain, so that potential applicants are fully informed.
This is the first of a series of You Tube clips of the Head of College, Dr Sandra Kemp, attempting to address the concerns of PR students, following news of my departure.
What the papers say
Here you can read links to reports of what has gone on in the Times Higher Education supplement , a reply from Sandra Kemp (Head of College) , and a further response from all of the students on the course  showing that, in PR terms, the Head of College’s reply may have been a little misguided.
Having exhausted democratic structures, and feeling they were not being listened to, students inevitably turned to peaceful protest (see links to coverage below).
The response of the university was the introduction of heavy handed security personnel who had to be prevented from physically man-handling students, and the issuing of high court injunctions against students who weren’t even present at the demonstration to which it referred. The university ‘cack-handedly’ collected names by ‘hoovering’ them up from the adminstrators list on a Facebook group. It was when the university sought to serve costs against the one person they could get an injunction upheld – a recent alumni of the university (the indefatigable Joana Pinto) – estimated at approx. £20,000 that the judge intervened to dismiss the attempt, and asked the university to consider its actions most strongly. The independent ‘Oppose’ group of students has an excellent blog which keeps a good eye across broader issues associated with the restructure at ‘LCC’ and associated redundancy programme.
If you are a student considering studying public relations in 2010/11, please consider your choice very carefully. This was my ‘dream job’ – I would not have chosen to resign lightly. I felt I could no longer put my name to the course.
By all means email me if you think I can be of any assistance in your choice. I hope to be teaching at another university in some capacity. I think my students will tell you that I have always been fair and open in my discussion of the choices open to you. I continue to raise my hat to Leeds Metropolitan University and Bournemouth University for the reputation of their PR degrees and helped to write the CIPR approved PR degree at the University of Greenwich so am supportive of that institution too. I am likely to be a visiting lecturer at the latter. A good starting point for consideration has to be the CIPR’s list of approved courses.
The elected student course reps have kindly offered to make their email addresses available to any potential students with questions. Ask questions of the real experts – the students. Get under the skin of provision. They are:-
Tove Nordstrom (Year 2): tove_nordstrom[AT]hotmail.co.uk
Sammy Khan (Year 2): samiyahkhan[AT]btinternet.com
Emma Edwards (Year 3): missysugarlump[AT]hotmail.com
Megan Morewood (Year 3): meganmorewood[AT]hotmail.co.uk
I have been privileged enough that I think with almost near unanimity amongst my students (and beyond on other courses on which I have taught in the last two years), they and colleagues have been supportive of the decision I have reluctantly felt compelled to take. This blog (link) was produced by another group of PR students during the recent events. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the students I have had the pleasure of teaching during the last three academic years at LCC. They were a special group, and many of them have already gone on to excellent opportunities on graduation.
I could have said a lot more, but felt it best to leave it to what was already in the public domain – and leave the rest to the students themselves.
Photo credits: Jennifer Watt and Thom Will.