29 June 2017

School of Ocean Sciences: end in view?

It seems the School of Ocean Sciences was established in 1985. I myself was too busy making drawings of horses to care too much about that at the time, but it looks like I might witness, and care about, its demise.

As I mentioned before, the university is struggling financially, and now the faintest beginnings of plans of how to cut costs have started to emerge. And one of these plans is: changing the College of Natural Sciences into the School of Natural Sciences. That would mean merging the School of Ocean Sciences (SOS), the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy). This big school would be part of the new College of Natural and Physical Sciences, or something like that. That would include chemistry, electronic engineering, computer science, and the likes. How does this save money? Noboby knows. Could it mean that nothing changes but the name? Not likely, as there would be no point making this change. Does it matter? Well, yes, Ocean Sciences is one of the flagships of the university, and you don't want your flagship to hide behind shrouding generic names. And the university so far refusing to say how exactly this change would save money is a bit suspicious. So what's going on? I'd like to know. And with me many people.

It seems the new college would lose eight FTE in academic personnel (so that is a way of saving money, but that could have well been done without changing the structure of the college), but it's possible that happens without forced redundancies. There will be people retiring soon, and within SOS we already had two voluntary leavers. One saw the storm coming and headed elsewhere; another struggled so much with work-life balance she quit without having another job lined up. If the same thing is happening in SBS and SENRGy then we might very well have reached that number already!

So what does this mean for me? We'll have to see! The Head of School said he had a good impression of me, and had heard good things about me from others, so he would have liked to have money to keep me, but he doesn't. Once the restructuring is over, though, and the necessary cuts have been made, they would go back to a situation in which they can replace people who leave. Then opportunities may arise again. But all that is a bit vague. A position for someone like me may never come up, and even if it does; where will I be then? And who else would be applying? One doesn't know. Oh well. So far I am learning lots, really lots, so for now I'm being paid to invest in myself, and I'll keep at it while I can. But I'll have to keep an eye on job sites! There is, however, a bit of a myth that once you are in Bangor, you can never really leave (unless you're James) so who knows, maybe after this I will find another job elsewhere, but return when a position in Bangor emerges. Would fit within the history of SOS! Hopefully, even after it ceases being SOS...

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