CCW model not flawed say Deans
by Maddalena Dottori and Francesca Volpi
The deans of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon (CCW) colleges have said they strongly disagree that the three-college CCW model is flawed.
Natalie Brett from Camberwell, David Garcia from Chelsea, and George Blacklock from Wimbledon spoke in support of the centralised administration model – responding to the claims made by staff in 2009 that the CCW structure is not working.
Reaffirming that a collaborative partnership between the three institutions has been successful, Wimbledon dean Blacklock said: “Like any collective, together we can be stronger, divided we are more vulnerable”.
He believes CCW has offered Wimbledon extra visibility and more influence, aiding its bidding for resources both internally and externally to the university.
Letter to the Rector
In December Ron Todd, the University and College Union (UCU) negotiating officer for the University of the Arts London (UAL) – asked in a letter to Nigel Carrington, UAL’s rector, why one head of the three colleges was necessary rather than a co-operative model between three existing deans.
In this regard, Chelsea’s dean, David Garcia says: “Making a truly collaborative partnership between three institutions – who prize their different traditions – is a highly complex challenge. This cannot be achieved without leadership. For this, a head of college is necessary.”
The deans all agree that the CCW structure – which has been operated for nearly two years – has reduced duplication and created economies of scale.
Dean Blacklock commented that the model was “delivering economies with a lighter touch” than other educational institutions in the current economical climate.
Currently, there is just one marketing prospectus, as opposed to three.
Camberwell’s dean, Natalie Brett, said: “These are particularly good practices as the student reps can find out what happens in the other colleges and there is a much clearer parity of student experience developing.”
Back in December, Richard Osborne, chairman of the UCU’s UAL branch, suggested a group of selected staff should be designated to develop co-operation between the three colleges and to encourage them to develop new units.
Brett said: “Jim Pearson, the elective coordinator at Camberwell, has been asked to scope electives to run across the three colleges, while CCW Grad School has created many opportunities for academics and researchers to work together across CCW.
“We are developing new courses that will run across all three Colleges.”
The deans have also moved reassure staff and students that every college tradition and distinctive identity will continue to be upheld.
Garcia confirmed: “Traditions and values are vital but we should guard against institutional nostalgia whose default position is that change always erodes tradition.
“We have moved from an era of art schools into one in which we are colleges in a University of the Arts.
“This transition will test our traditions and values but we see this as an opportunity for renewal. It may not always be easy but it is no bad thing.”