SMFA changes

Changes to the School

Please check this page regularly as we will be updating it on an ongoing basis.

What does this mean for your studies?

If you have any additional questions about what these proposals might mean for your studies, please email smfaenquiries@kent.ac.uk.

What changes are being made?

Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management, and Fine Art will stop recruiting new students as from now. This is apart from full-time MAs, which we will continue to offer across all SMFA subjects for study in 2017-18. This means that that the School will close in July 2019.

We will develop two new undergraduate programmes in music technology to respond to the changing demands of the music technology industry. In addition, we will develop a new undergraduate programme in creative music production and performance. It is intended that these three programmes will be launched in time to recruit new students in 2018. They will replace the current music technology and music programmes which will no longer recruit any new students.

These programmes will be part of a new centre for music which will be developed over time to include postgraduate courses and research and innovation activities.

Why is this happening?

Last November, the University’s senior management team put forward a series of proposals that would affect the School of Music and Fine Art. This was done because student demand for the courses was too low to make them viable.

What were the original proposals?

To stop recruiting new students to all courses in Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management, Fine Art, Popular Music and Music from 2017.

To retain Music Technology programmes but suspend recruitment for one year in order to make essential changes to the course content.

All current SMFA students to continue to be taught and supervised for the duration of their studies with a fundamental commitment from the University that all students would be able to pursue the degrees they registered for.

Staff and student consultation

After announcing these proposals, the University entered into a period of consultation with students and staff. During this time, a series of alternative proposals were put forward by staff. These were carefully considered by senior management and some of the concepts will be further explored.

The consultation period closed on 14 March 2017 and the senior management team meet shortly afterwards to decide the next steps for the School.

What decisions were made?

Event and Experience Design, Event and Experience Management, and Fine Art will stop recruiting new students as from now. This is apart from full-time MAs, which we will continue to offer across all SMFA subjects for study in 2017-18. This means that that the School will close in July 2019.

The University will develop two new undergraduate programmes in music technology to respond to the changing demands of the music tech industry. In addition, we will develop a new undergraduate programme in creative music production and performance (working title). It is intended that these three programmes will be launched in time to recruit new students in 2018. They will replace the current music technology and music programmes which will no longer recruit any new students.

These programmes will be part of a new centre for music which will be developed over time to include postgraduate courses and research and innovation activities.

Did you really listen to students?

The University has worked closely with Kent Union throughout this process and we have listened to the student reps who have made sure your voice is heard.

The Kent Union President Rory Murray has represented your interests as part of the University team charged with overseeing the consultation. He has represented your views at the highest level and this input has been greatly valued by all involved.

The University will continue to work with Kent Union and the student reps as we go through the process outlined above – we want students to keep talking to us.

Can you reassure current students that the quality of their education will not be affected during this change?

Our original commitment to all students in SMFA remains unchanged. All students will be able to pursue the degrees you have registered for, and we will ensure that your education will be of the quality you expect including facilities and a range of module choices.

We have also set up a £100,000 student experience fund for SFMA to support activities/initiatives over the next three years. This will be jointly managed by the Head of School and the President of Kent Union.

The University will monitor the quality of the student experience through the Medway Student Experience Board.

What about students with scholarships?

We will continue to fund all scholarships awarded to SMFA students who remain registered with the University, in line with our published terms and conditions.

What is the position for SMFA-employed School Ambassadors?

We will continue to seek to find alternative work for School Ambassadors employed by SMFA.

What is the situation for Graduate Teaching Assistants?

All bursaries will be protected until the completion of your research degree. Every effort will be made to find you academically relevant types of work, including teaching.

What happens to those students whose studies take them beyond July 2019?

We have contingency plans in place to ensure that all registered students (including part-time students, those taking a year out on placement, studying abroad or requiring a period of intermission) are able to complete their studies. This may entail recruiting suitable academic and support staff to replace those who may leave the University before students’ studies come to an end.

What should I do if I want to transfer to another course?

We very much hope that you wish to stay here at Kent, and we are committed to providing you with an excellent education. However, if you wish to transfer to another course at Kent or to another institution, please talk to your course director in the first instance. They will provide you with academic advice on the best options together with information about alternative providers should you require it. Our advice to anyone who wishes to transfer is always the same: ensure you finish the year/stage that you are currently enrolled in.

What happens with my tuition fees if I intermit, transfer elsewhere or withdraw from academic study?

If you decide to intermit, transfer to another institution or withdraw from academic study, consideration will be given, where applicable, for a full or partial refund of your 2016/17 university tuition fees. Each student request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What happens if my supervisor leaves the University?

There are several options which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. These include finding an appropriate supervisor among current staff; your current supervisor continuing to supervise you as an external supervisor or transferring to the same institution as the supervisor, with both their agreement and that of the host institution. Any decisions made will be in line with our code of practice.

Will the reputation of SMFA degrees be adversely affected by these changes?

Kent is recognised as one of the UK’s leading universities and the quality of our degrees, including those awarded to SFMA students, is protected by stringent quality standards.

Will students still be able to go on their year abroad or placements?

Yes. These will continue as normal and students will be supported at every stage.

Is Kent withdrawing its commitment to the arts?

No. These proposals do not mean we are not committed to the arts at Kent but, like all universities, the current external economic and political environment means we have to make some difficult decisions. We are also exploring some new and exciting options in the cultural and creative industries.

Have you told the wider community about these changes?

We will let our partners and affiliated organisations know about the situation.

Did you follow any guidelines in making these changes?

Yes. We have made sure our process was in line with the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s best practice guidelines ‘Higher education course changes and closures: statement of good practice’ as well as our own terms and conditions.

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Last Updated: 24/03/2017