The University of Sheffield has today confirmed its position with regard to the future of the Department of Biblical Studies. In the light of concerns regarding inadequate consultation, as well as feedback from staff and students, the Department of Biblical Studies is no longer under review and a proposal that it should be reconfigured as a Postgraduate Centre has been withdrawn.
Instead the University has asked the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to consider, as a matter of urgency, a short, medium and longer term plan for the Department. With regard to the undergraduate intake for 2010, the University can confirm that it will recruit students for this year onto single and dual honours degrees in Biblical Studies. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities are working with colleagues to ensure that these students are appropriately supported, including through the recruitment of additional staff.
Looking to the future, the University recognises the outstanding reputation of the Department of Biblical Studies in Sheffield for scholarship and a superb student experience, and has confidence that all concerned will work together to enhance this for future students.
Professor Mike Braddick
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
As you will now be aware, undergraduate Biblical Studies at Sheffield will now continue. The previous ten days or so have been quite exceptional on a number of levels. The national and international support, particularly highlighted through the web, has shown something of the academic significance of the subject, as well as the role Sheffield plays in the discipline (see some of the emails on the Save Biblical Studies website and the 1000+ members of the Facebook group). The range of different perspectives of supporters is striking (and to think some I often assumed to be enemies of Sheffield – shame on me!).
The student reaction is now well-known but worthy of another mention. People may have heard about the students stopping the original proposal at Senate, and their general organisation of the campaign, but those of us at Sheffield saw them construct formidable arguments and present them coherently and persuasively. I know many people across the University were particularly impressed.
Colleagues have also been in this together and, while it has certainly been draining (to say the least), I suspect at least more than one secretly found it all a little exciting…
There has also been a great deal of warmth and support from within the University and at all levels. I can honestly say that this past week I have only witnessed a great deal of goodwill towards Biblical Studies.
I will write on developments in due course but for now I intend to make it through to the weekend and then sleep for a long, long time.’