Pay freeze to hit some UAL lecturers
Up to twenty course directors could see their salaries frozen as a result of radical infrastructure changes at the University of the Arts London.
A spokesperson has confirmed that of the 150 course directors at UAL, around 20 of those on the highest salary range, grade seven, could have their salaries frozen for up to four years.
The changes would mean that the roles will eventually be downgraded to a lower pay bracket, grade six, and see the job title changed to “course leader”.
The majority of the course directors who could be affected by the changes work at Central Saint Martins (CSM) the spokesperson explained.
Grade seven salaries are between £47,247 - £63,721 and grade six ranges between £41,377 - £55,541 per annum.
The proposed changes are a result of The Supporting Course Organisation and Management Programme (SICOM).
UAL is currently implementing SICOM, a three-year programme that aims to improve student learning, course organisation and management through restructuring.
The restructuring process began in 2008 to identify why UAL consistently received low scores in relation to course organisation and management by the National Student Survey, as well as concerns raised by staff.
Those involved in the project said that changes included in the SICOM project will mean that lecturers will be able to focus more on teaching.
According to the UAL spokesperson, the current system sees course directors overloaded as they have to complete non-academic jobs that should be assigned to others.
UAL hopes that the project will help relieve the pressure on teaching staff by grouping courses into “Programmes”, supported by a team of academic, adminstrative and technical staff.
The spokesperson argued: “The organisation of courses should not be dependent on any single member of staff.”
Joining courses together into “clusters” is also being implemented this year across UAL, as part of SICOM recommendations.
The university has also recruited new “programme directors” who will deal with technicalities such as budget and resource management – something previously done by course directors and department heads.
Existing UAL staff have mostly filled these positions, and UAL management has argued that these changes mean that lecturers will have more time to teach and focus on the needs of students.
Course directors have criticised the plans, saying that the changes will actually increase administration work.
MA Screen course director and University College Union (UCU) representative Alan Dunnett said: “It is being declared that this re-structuring will give us less admin duties. But at the moment, our feeling is that this is not the case, we have more work.
“I keep a book and I note every single thing I do daily at the college. Now there seems to be even more things to do than before,” he said.
Course directors have also said that they are skeptical of changes that could see more of them fighting for a small number of programme director positions.
BA Graphics Design course director Alan Baines said: “I'm 61, so nearing retirement age, but for younger teachers it could really affect them.
“They wont be able to maintain the higher salary because under re-structuring course leader positions will be offered at level six, not seven.
“If you're on the highest pay bracket [grade] seven, if you drop back to the highest wage on level six you would lose £9,666 per year, a huge drop,” he said.
The UAL spokesperson has told ALN that within four years the frozen salary is expected to have caught up with the existing salary levels of the grade seven pay rate, due to inflation.
UAL has claimed that course directors are being treated no differently to other members of staff at the university who have also seen pay freezes.
“There is no requirement on employers to operate such a salary freezing policy when such changes take place and indeed the four year period is very generous when compared to other higher education institutions,” the spokesperson said.
“There are also approximately eight staff taking on the course leader roles who will receive an increased salary,” they added.
UAL has confirmed that the UCU has been informed of the processes and will hold a meeting later this week to discuss progress.