BOURNEMOUTH University is planning to close some of its best-known courses and make staff redundant under plans to grow other areas of its work.

Degrees in international hospitality, advertising, public relations, retail management, law and events management are some of those set to be axed in the review of all departments.

A report seen by the Daily Echo outlines plans to shake up the university’s structure in line with a strategy called BU2025. It is understood the report has not yet been shared with staff or unions.

The strategy says the university should “disinvest from areas that do not align with our academic principles or our BU2025 outcomes, are not sustainable academically and/or fall below expected levels of performance”.

Courses earmarked for phased closure include:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in international hospitality management
  • BA events management
  • BA retail management
  • BA sport management (golf)
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • BA law
  • Computer animation arts/animation and visualisation
  • Software development for animation games and effects.

The university will also “explore” the closure of courses with fewer than 15 students annually.

Courses identified for growth include executive education; a degree for police constables; business management; nursing and clinical sciences; visual effects; computer animation technical arts; digital creative industries; and specialist courses such as disaster and risk management.

There would be a new Department of Medical Science, and apprenticeships would be offered in partnership with Bournemouth and Poole College.

The university has around 18,000 students and its own research says it pumps £1million a day into the local economy.

Its £22million Fusion academic building opened last year and its £30m Bournemouth Gateway Building is under construction in Bournemouth’s St Paul’s area, hosting teaching in health and social sciences. The Poole Gateway, under construction at its Talbot Campus, will include facilities for media, science and technology and business management.

The university’s BU2025 strategy was launched earlier this year and emphasises “fusion” – the university’s approach to bringing together research, education and practice.

The report seen by the Echo, titled Transforming Our Departments to Enable BU2025, stresses the “need to embed Fusion within the organisation”.

It says the university will be well-placed to increase its income through “creation of critical mass around areas associated with high growth for income generation”.

It adds: “Initial modelling indicates that income lost from poorly performing courses will be negligible with new courses mitigating, and ultimately exceeding, any losses. However, a small number of courses which still represent a reasonable income stream but do not embody a fused approach are included in these proposals.”

Bournemouth’s hospitality courses have been one of the university’s strengths since its days as Dorset Institute of Higher Education.

It was rated number 12 in the world for hospitality and tourism in the Shanghai Ranking of Academic Subjects earlier this year.

Andy Woodland, vice-chairman of Bournemouth Accommodation and Hotels Association (BAHA), said hospitality management would be part of another degree rather than a subject in its own right.

“I think it isn’t the way forward. We should be looking at increasing our presence in the tourism part of the university, rather than decreasing it,” he said.

“I think it would be very much a backward step.”

He said the course had been “one of the pillars” of the institution. “I was very upset when they lost their kitchens,” he added.

“It makes the university slightly more distant from the locality and leaves it attracting foreign students and those from further afield who probably won’t stay in Bournemouth as a location for work.”

The closure would be mitigated by focusing more on tourism in other courses and exploring another hospitality course with Bournemouth and Poole College.

The cuts in events and leisure courses would also be dealt with by exploring an alternative course with the college and strengthening the business management components of other courses.

Bournemouth film producer Adam Merrifield, of White Lantern Film, welcomed the move to grow visual effects.

“I can understand what they’re trying to do. They’re modernising it and making it more applicable to what’s happening in the UK,” he said.

Mr Merrifield, currently producing the thriller A Patriot on a budget of 10million US dollars, said: “It’s really difficult to make a movie without making visual effects of some sort or another. Netflix and Sky and Disney are spending all this money, everyone’s piling money into content at the moment, and visual effects are going to grow massively.”

The restructure would also involve turning head of department roles into fixed-term posts, while two senior roles underneath the department heads would be replaced with deputy heads of departments.

A Bournemouth University spokesperson said: "It is vital that BU, like any organisation, prepares for the challenges of the future and we continually review and develop the range of courses as part of our normal portfolio management process.

"In our BU2025 strategy we are looking ahead to the next seven years.

"These working documents are part of the process of looking at what changes, including new areas of development across the university, are required to ensure that our strength and reputation develops in line with our position as one of the top 200 young universities in the Times Higher Education World Rankings.

"There are no formal proposals in place at this point, and any changes will be made through the proper consultation process, which includes trade unions."

Representatives from the University and College Union (UCU) has condemned the University's actions.

A spokesperson for the union said: “This confidential document does nothing to mitigate concerns amongst staff and students that the university is seeking to make sweeping changes without proper consultation.

"Circulating secret plans for cuts and closures during the summer holidays is not a good look and the university must fully disclose any plans for restructures, course closures or job losses.

"We are opposed to compulsory redundancies and our members will be meeting shortly to discuss the university’s response to our demands to come clean.”