The University of St Andrews has deferred a decision to cease its small Geoscience undergraduate teaching programmes from 2010.
A proposal by senior managers and academic staff to close Geoscience in favour of concentrating on developing new courses linked to Geography and Sustainable Development was to have been made to the University’s Science Faculty Business Committee last week.
However, University Principal Dr Louise Richardson asked that the recommendation to withdraw Geoscience programmes be shelved for one year pending further discussion and review.
Geoscience is part of the School of Geography and Geoscience at St Andrews which was rated one of the best in the UK in the recent Research Asseessment Exercise. Over 95% of its research activity is internationally recognised, excellent or world class.
At present, Geoscience admits approximately 20 students per year. Although the Geoscience undergraduate programmes at St Andrews are of high quality, a recent review established that continued success was dependent on disproportionately high infrastructure and teaching costs.
Staff and students had been assured that the withdrawal of the programme would not lead to redundancies and that staff currently delivering the Geoscience programmes would be integrated into growth areas such as Geography and Sustainable Development.
A spokesman for the University said that discussions with Geoscience staff would continue over the next year about ways in which the challenges facing the discipline could be best addressed.