11 May 2010

Otago University to disestablish design department

6:43 pm on 11 May 2010

The University of Otago Council has voted to disestablish its Design Studies Department, which has about 200 students and 20 staff.

The university has also voted to allow current design students to complete their degrees within a reasonable timeframe.

Vice-chancellor David Skegg emphasised at the council meeting on Tuesday that design studies would continue to be offered as a minor subject. The Masters of Design degree would continue.

Both would be offered through a new Department of Applied Sciences, which would also incorporate Clothing and Textile Sciences.

The university is yet to set a timetable for the changes, and it is not yet known how many staff will be made redundant.

Michael Findlay has worked in the department for 11 years and says he felt the closure was a fait accompli, despite a consultation period.

Mr Findlay says staff do not understand the haste in which the process was undertaken and the decision is a blow for them as well as students wanting to study design in Otago.