A MUM is calling on the University of Cumbria to compensate students who have been unable to access the full learning experience.
The call comes as the university revealed it will not be offering an English Literature Course this year due to a lack of demand for places.
The university has confirmed the 2021 undergraduate course will not go ahead – but academic staff are looking a ways to boost student numbers for the future.
The news has been met with disappointment – Mum of three Susan Collyer, who is studying for an MA in English Literature at the university’s Ambleside campus, felt it was an indictment of the way students had been treated during the pandemic.
She said: “It’s terrible news. In a county known for inspiring 200 years of world famous literature from William Wordsworth to W. H. Auden, from James Rebanks to Sarah Hall and Arthur Ransome to Beatrix Potter, to name but a few, the University of Cumbria suspends its teaching of English Literature.
“I’m a student myself, doing the MA at Ambleside, which is why I’m so upset. It’s such a shame they’re going to cut it.
“As mother to two university students I understand the difficulties of being away from home, locked down and the frustrations of attempting to fulfill a program of study from a tiny box room
“I don’t think it is unreasonable for students to hope for a percentage of their exorbitant financial loan to be returned to them under the circumstances.”
University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell said: “As the University of Cumbria, located in an area of such rich literary heritage, we are absolutely committed to ensuring we maintain an offer for a whole range of students, young and old, to study English literature in such a significant part of the world and landscape.
“Whilst we have reluctantly suspended recruitment to our undergraduate programme for September 21, due to low student demand , we are actively working with staff to develop a more flexible and accessible range of programmes, including research degrees, to seek to maintain and indeed grow student numbers in this important discipline.
“We believe graduates, employers and society have lots to gain from the specific and transferable skills students choosing to study in this field gain and we will continue to do all we can to promote as well as the benefits associated. Academic jobs remain secure.”
Programme Leader for BA English Literature and MA Literature, Romanticism, and the English Lake District, Dr Penny Bradshaw added: “The programme team are currently working on the development of future provision in the field of literary studies at our Ambleside campus, which will focus on environmental writing, the rich literary heritage of the region, and creative responses to place and natural landscapes.
“We will be developing a suite of programmes with flexible learning opportunities which respond to the cultural landscapes of the region, including short courses, new and distinctive undergraduate provision and further postgraduate study pathways.
“These new developments will sit alongside our successful MA in Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District. All of the students who had applied to join us in September have been personally contacted by a Principal Lecturer from our Institute of the Arts to discuss their options and been offered support through this process.”