Sheffield Uni tutor warns of threat to student learning from ‘devastating’ staff cuts

He also called out the £285,000 a year made by VC Koen Lambert

A tutor from the University of Sheffield has told students that their learning is at risk following sweeping cuts to staff on fixed-term and GTA contracts.

Jake Mason, from the Journalism Department, warned of larger class sizes, a reduction in the number of modules offered, and far less opportunity to receive one-to-one support, in an email sent out to students yesterday.

He said: “GTAs, who teach or lead seminars, are paid per hour on zero-hour contracts. They are often the staff who students see the most and receive the most direct support from. There will be no GTAs next semester in our department.

“This is likely to have a serious impact on the quality of teaching you receive next year. GTA staff make a significant contribution to teaching in the department but we are on hourly-paid, precarious contracts and we are losing our jobs.

“Meanwhile, our Vice-Chancellor receives £285,000 a year in salary and you are expected to pay £9k or more in fees each year.”

The cuts come amid the claim from Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education, that the Sheffield student experience will “remain excellent” despite the year “operating slightly differently.”

Universities across the UK have all had to adapt to the huge financial losses from the virus – some VCs have taken pay cuts, casualised staff are being laid off, and pay rises and non-essential hiring have been put on hold.

Sheffield UCU took to Twitter to showcase the stories from staff members on precarious contracts, and wrote: “We are incredibly disappointed that casualised staff who have been at the forefront of the response to the crisis are now the first to be targeted by Sheffield Uni’s cost-cutting measures.”

Mr. Mason told students to raise concerns with the SU and email Koen Lambert, Vice Chancellor at [email protected] or Wyn Morgan, Vice President for Education at [email protected].

The University of Sheffield has been approached for comment.

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Featured image credit: John Robinson labelled for reuse under this Creative Commons license. Changes made by The Tab.