Changing courses ‘part of a dynamic college...’

0111026 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy

0111026 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy

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THE future of Adam Smith College’s theatre arts programme will be determined by the end of the month.

Senior managers at the campus will give their decision as students return after the Easter break.

The proposal - revealed by the Press last week - sparked a swift response from students and staff.

They mounted a small demonstration at last week’s open day, netted over 1000 names on a petition and plan to rally in larger numbers at a protest on April 22.

Theatre arts has been part of the curriculum for 30 years and nurtured talent including Ewan McGregor and Dougray Scott, but if the proposal is rubber-stamped it would end completely in two years.

It’s the only course earmarked for closure, but there are cuts proposed for sport and fitness, catering and hospitality, holistic therapies and admin and business skills.

They all form part of a review undertaken every three years of all courses run by Adam Smith.

Craig Thomson, principal, said: ‘‘We close and start courses every year, and we have staff clamouring to bring new courses in.

‘‘We work closely with employers who need workers with key skills that will help our economy.

Dynamic college

‘‘That is all part of being a dynamic college which is in tune with the local area, - communities, the arts, technology, the renewables sector.

‘‘It’s against that context we have to decide what runs, what stops, and what can be expanded.

‘‘There is absolutely no anti-theatre arts’ agenda at all, and while a decision will be made this month the implementation will be over a longer period of two to three years.

‘‘No students will be thrown out or kicked off courses. They will complete their studies.

‘‘And no staff are threatened with compulsory redundancy - these are critical points that maybe got lost in all the dust kicked up last week.’’

Theatre arts currently has around 140 full-time students on a campus of 5000, and while it has a long history and tradition at the college, it also has to compete for its share of limited resources, and find a place in a changing academic world.

Tough times

Dr Thomson said: ‘‘Decisions are never made just on finance.

‘‘There are cutbacks in a lot of colleges and universities - these are the hardest financial times I have known as a principal, but we have been preparing for them for a couple of years.

‘‘We are financially sound, and we have a guarantee to all staff there will be no compulsory redundancies in this academic year.

‘‘Our review is based on quality, relevance and sustainability - and when we do that inevitably there could be win winners and losers.

‘‘Our vision is leading economic development.

‘‘We have invested heavily in the technology sector, and the Future Skills Centre is a state of the art facility for Fife.

‘‘It will give students the skills and knowledge that will lead to jobs.

‘‘That is crucial.’’