University escapes censure after appeal

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The Independent Online
A FORMER polytechnic has narrowly escaped having one of its departments labelled 'unsatisfactory' under a new inspection system for universities, it emerged yesterday, writes Fran Abrams.

Inspectors who visited the mechanical engineering department at the University of Greenwich, formerly Thames Polytechnic, found that standards were unsatisfactory.

However, the university has appealed successfully and a report on Friday will say the department has been given a clean bill of health.

The mechanical engineering department at Greenwich has 110 undergraduates out of 8,500 in the university. When a team from the Higher Education Funding Council for England visited in May 1993, they reported there were too few qualified staff and that some lectures were not demanding enough.

They also said courses did not meet standards laid down, the syllabus did not meet its declared aims and objectives, and some exam questions, particularly in finals, were too easy.

Greenwich argued that the inspectors visited at the end of term when several laboratories were closed and when lectures were purely for revision purposes. The council agreed that there had been 'exceptional circumstances' and repeated the inspection in January of this year.

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