Derby defends course

THE UNIVERSITY of Derby's law faculty has defended itself against an assessment report which claims the quality of its law courses is unsatisfactory.

The statement, contained in a Higher Education Funding Council for England report, was made after assessors visited the university last year.

But Derby's Dean of the School of European and International Studies, Sue Wall, says the assessment is misleading because it compares the 13-month-old Derby law division with established law faculties.

The report says the law division is “critically under-staffed” and the workload of the teaching staff, particularly for new teachers, inhibits course preparation, staff development and research.

It says that library facilities are “barely adequate” and resources allocated to meet current and planned developments are “inadequate”.

But Wall, who started at Derby in January, says the university has implemented a number of developments since the report's provisional findings were released last November.

She says staff were “surprised” and “upset” at the findings, but they are confident the next assessment will show a marked improvement.

Wall says changes at the university include her own appointment as dean, and the appointment of the Eversheds Professor of International Law, Dr Anthony Carty, who joins the faculty on 1 October.

Six additional teaching staff have also been recruited and Wall says library facilities have benefited from a “a considerable spend”.

“No university would have expected that report but, at the same time, nobody expected a law degree in its thirteenth month to be compared with an established law provision,” she says.

“But we're going to be revisited in November and I'm confident that we will have an extremely successful visit.”