Thursday, 5 August 2010

Letter from a concerned ECS student ..

I have been with the University of Westminster for 7 years, as a part time mature student, studying Electronic Engineering.
I have witnessed the development of the Cavendish campus electronics, software and IT departments, including investments in large new laboratories and computer rooms, all essential for students as these rooms are normally at maximum capacity all through the year(and it is increasingly difficult to find a quiet place to work or a free computer terminal).
Classes have generally become larger and noisier throughout my time at Cavendish campus, in the last 4 years or so.
I have also been working part time as a support worker for disabled students of the university, taking notes and helping in the library with their studies. Therefore I have been present in many lectures outside the Electronics department and Cavendish campus, where I study, and I have witnessed the same problems with class numbers elsewhere.
I am certain that any departmental reduction in staff numbers, without a corresponding reduction in student numbers, will damage the quality of education that has apparently been a long tradition at the university (my father was a student at the Regent street campus, previously the Regent Street Polytechnic, during his architecture degree in the 1970's; he speaks highly of the previous institution as it once stood).
Furthermore, in regards to Cavendish campus, it is illogical and redundant to make cuts to the ECS department staff, after such significant investment in the resources of laboratories and computers. Quite the opposite should be in order. Expansion of the discipline and its academic rigor! If students are failing the courses it is because of the high level that they demand. Electronics, engineering and the sciences are not intended to be "easy" degrees to obtain. It is actually the opposite as I have discovered! (what else?)If the university board decides to make its drastic cuts, I fear that they will play a part in the downfall of the UK's role in Electronics and Computer Science.
We should not forget the likes of the first computer scientist, Charles Babbage, and the great British computing engineers, mathematicians & inventors that followed him, such as the great Paul Dirac who developed Quantum Mechanics, and whom have all contributed to developing the most important technologies of the 20th century, helping to bring about the digital age that the world is now experiencing. Standing against these cuts is to stand for the institutions and practices that make the UK a place of academic excellence, steeped in the history of human achievement. We as the British people do not want to lose that legacy and privileged position in the world.

A J Golland, BEng Electronic Engineering,


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