University College Dublin Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement
Peer Review Group Report Department of Crop Science, Horticulture and Forestry
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page 1. The Department 1.1 1.2 1.3 Location of the Department Staff Courses and Programmes 4 4 4
2. The Departmental Self-Assessment 2.1 2.2 The Co-ordinating Committee Methodology adopted 7 7
3. The Site Visit 3.1 3.2 3.3 Timetable Methodology General Comments 8 9 9
4. The Peer Review 4.1 4.2 4.3 Methodology Sources used Peer Review Group's View of the SAR 11 11 11
5. Findings of the Peer Review Group 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The findings of the Peer Review Group Crop Science Forestry Horticultural Science and Sportsturf Management Landscape Architecture 13 17 21 24 27 29 31
6. General Recommendations 7. Response of the Co-ordinating Committee to the PRG Report
MEMBERS OF THE PEER REVIEW GROUP
Dr Joe Brady Dr David Brayden
Department of Geography University College Dublin Department of Small Animal Clinical Studies University College Dublin Department of Industrial Microbiology University College Dublin Agricultural Research Institute Northern Ireland and Queen‟s University Belfast Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Germany University of Applied Sciences and National Research Institute for Horticulture Freising, Germany University of Reading
Dr Evelyn Doyle Dr Lindsay Easson
Professor Juergen Huss Professor Dr Donnchadh Mac Cárthaigh
Mr Richard Bisgrove
Location of the Department The main location of the Department is in the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment Building. The Horticulture sections have facilities at both Rosemount and Thornfield. The Forestry section has a laboratory in Room 2.02 and also avails of the facilities at Thornfield. The Crop Science section has field facilities and a laboratory at Lyons Research Farm. Landscape architecture also has Room 1.27. Room LG.08 is an internal room and has no natural light.
Staff The full-time teaching staff of the Department comprises the permanent posts of 2 professors, 1 associate professor 5 senior lecturers and 9 lecturers. The part-time teaching staff consists of 1 contract lecturer. The Department‟s complement of administrative staff covers 2 permanent, fulltime administrators. The Department also contains 8 permanent, full-time technical staff and one job-share, 1 research assistant and access to approximately 25 tutors/demonstrators. There is a large student-staff ratio in all sections of the Department. In Landscape Architecture it is 29:1 (See Appendix 4C of SAR). Breakdown of staff allocation between the different areas is laid out in the relevant sections of the Self-assessment Report.
Courses and Programmes The Department as a whole administers 4 degree programmes: (a ) Animal & Crop Production, (b) Forestry (c) Horticulture, Landscape & Sportsturf Management and (d) Landscape Architecture. The Crop Science Section does not deliver a specific degree programme but contributes to the following degree courses in Faculties: Animal and Crop Production (ACP), Animal Science (AS), Food and Agribusiness Management (FAM), Environmental Resource Management (ERM), Food Science (FS), Engineering Technology (ET), Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape Management and Biosystems Engineering These contributions are made by offering the following courses: 4
Introduction to Animal and Crop Production, Crop Husbandry I, Statistics, Crop Husbandry III, Professional Work Experience, Crop Husbandry IVb, Crop Husbandry Iva, Organic Agriculture, Alternative Crop Development, Developments in Cereal Production, Developments in Grassland, Agricultural Climatology and Meteorology, Weed Control, Soil Science I, Soil Science II. The Horticulture, Landscape and Sportsturf Management Section (from September 2005) contributes to the undergraduate Horticultural Science Degree through the following courses: Introduction to Horticultural Science, Fundamentals of Horticulture, Landscape and Turfgrass Management 1, Nursery and Garden Centre Management 1, Pomology 1 – Fruit Production, Protected Horticulture 1, Vegetable Crops 1, Landscape and Turfgrass Management 2, Nursery and Garden Centre Management 2, Pomology 2 – Post Harvest Physiology, Protected Horticulture 2, Vegetable Crops 2, Floriculture, Interior Plantscaping, Plant Biotechnology, Advanced Pomology, Nursery Garden Centre Management 1, Nursery Garden Centre Management 2 and Social Horticulture. The Landscape Architecture (from September 2005) Section offers the Landscape Architecture degree within the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment. The following courses are offered: Introduction to Landscape Horticulture, Landscape Design Theory 1, Landscape Studio 2A, Landscape Studio 2B, Computer Applications in Landscape Architecture, Landscape Construction, Landscape Design Studio 3a, Landscape Design Studio 3b, Landscape Design Theory II, Plant Materials A, Plant Materials B, Professional Practice and Planning Law, Urban Horticulture, Landscape Planning, Landscape Design Theory III, Professional Practice and Planning Law II, Landscape Design Studio 4a, Landscape Design Studio 4b, Landscape Research Project, Exotic Trees and Shrubs, Leisure and Recreational Activities, and Garden Restoration. The Forestry Section offers the Forestry degree including the following courses: Introduction to Forestry, Forest Mensuration and Biometrics, Fundamentals of Forestry, Silviculture I, Forest Harvesting, Computer Applications, Forest Management, Silivculture II, Wood Science, Remote Sensing and GIS, Forest Inventory and Biometrics, Professional Forestry Practice, Forest Management Plan, Forest Planning, Experimental Design, Forest Inventory and GIS, Forest Landscape Planning and Design, Forest Management Techniques, Forest Policy, Forest Roads, Forest Tree Improvement, Multiple Use Management, Physiological Ecology of Forest Production, The Biology, Silviculture & Management of Sitka Spruce, Advanced Nursery Practice I, Advanced Nursery Practice II, Agro-Forestry, The Biology, Silviculture & Management of Broadleaves, Familiarisation with Forestry, Forest Harvest Scheduling System, Forestry in Europe, Sustainable Forest Management and Forestry and the Law. The Agri-Food and Environment Faculty has being using modules for some time and the courses offered by this Department are also modularised to a large extent.
Details on the composition of the modules on each course are outlined adequately in the Self-assessment Report.
THE DEPARTMENTAL SELF-ASSESSMENT
The Co-ordinating Committee Dr. Trevor Storey Ms Valerie Guilfoyle Dr. Mary Forrest Dr. Conor O‟Reilly Mr Tom Moore Mr Kevin Keenan Head of Department/Chair Administrative Officer Horticulture Forestry Horticulture Technician Horticulture Technician
Two facilitators were appointed by the QA/QI Office to advise and assist the Departmental Committee: Dr Joe Brady, Department of Geography. Dr David Brayden, Department of Small Animal Clinical Studies. 2.2 Methodology Adopted The review was divided into the four sections of (a) Crop Science, (b) Forestry, (c) Horticulture/Landscape & Sportsturf Management, and (d) Landscape Architecture. Each Section took responsibility for a review of their area with a common primary chapter of the Report representing all four areas. These sections were written as independent chapters and bound together to make a two-volume Self-assessment Report.
THE SITE VISIT
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 17.15 19.30 PRG meet at hotel Dinner hosted by Registrar and Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Wednesday, 13 April 2005 Food Science Boardroom 09.00-09.30 09.30-10.00 10.00-11.00 11.00-11.30 11.30-12.10 12.10-12.50 12.50-14.15 14.15-15.30 15.30-16.00 16.00-16.30 16.30-18.30 19.30 PRG meet PRG meet with Co-ordinating Committee PRG meet Head of Department PRG meet Dean of Agri-Food and Environment over coffee PRG meet Forestry Academic Staff PRG meet Crop Science Academic Staff Working lunch, PRG only PRG meet Horticultural Science and Landscape Architecture Academic Staff PRG meet with Technical Staff Coffee PRG view facilities of the Department PRG only, working dinner in hotel
Thursday, 14 April 2005 Food Science Boardroom 09.00-09.30 09.30-10.00 10.00-10.20 10.20-10.40 10.40-11.00 11.00-11.20 11.20-11.45 11.45-12.10 12.10-12.35 12.35- 13.00 13.00-14.30 14.30-15.00 15.00–16.00 16.00-16.30 16.30-18.00 19.30 PRG meet PRG meet with Administrative Staff PRG meet with Crop Science Postgraduate Students PRG meet with Forestry Postgraduate Students PRG meet with Horticultural Science Postgraduate Students Coffee PRG meet with Crop Science Undergraduate Students PRG meet with Forestry Undergraduate Students PRG meet with Horticultural Science Undergraduate Students PRG meet with Landscape Architecture Undergraduate Students PRG has lunch with Graduates and Graduate Employers, Norah Greene Room PRG meet with staff not on Co-ordinating Committee PRG available for private individual staff meetings Coffee PRG available for private individual staff meetings PRG only, working dinner in hotel
Friday, 15 April 2005 Food Science Boardroom 09.30-11.30 11.30-13.00 13.00-14.00 PRG reschedule/request additional visits PRG work on PRG report Working lunch, PRG only
14.00-15.00 15.00-15.30 15.30-16.15 16.30 3.2
PRG work on PRG report PRG meet Head of Department Presentation by PRG to all Department staff (academic, technical and administrative) PRG and Department reception, Common Room
Methodology The Chair and Rapporteur, acting as facilitators, met the Co-ordinating Committee twice in the previous year. These meetings were to guide the Department on requirements for their Self-assessment Report and subsequent site visit. Other informal contacts took place between the facilitators and the Head of Department. The PRG were given copies of the Self-assessment Report (SAR) approximately two weeks in advance of the site visit. The PRG met the Registrar on the first evening in order to get a full understanding of the re-structuring process that the University is currently undergoing. Specific topics addressed included the impending division of the Faculty of Agri-Food and Environment and the likely future School location(s) of the four individual areas of the Department of Crop Science, Forestry and Horticulture. The Chair of the PRG assigned specialities to the externs in accordance with their expertise, matched to the specific areas of the Department. It was also agreed to provide overview recommendations and specific recommendations for each area, in accordance with the sections outlined in the SAR. All findings of the PRG were agreed unanimously unless stated. The entire PRG met all the individuals and groups in the Food Science Boardroom as outlined in the timetable. This room was adequate for most meetings with small groups, but was a little small for meetings with large groups. All members of the PRG were present at each meeting. Notes on all meetings were taken by the Rapporteur. The PRG had de-briefing sessions on each evening of the site visit. Visits to the Landscape Architecture ground floor studios and also the Horticulture Science laboratory were arranged. The PRG also visited the glasshouses at the local Thornfield site as well as the orchards at the Rosemount site. The Chairman presented the provisional findings of the PRG to the Head of Department prior to a general meeting of all staff. It was agreed that Professor Mac Cárthaigh would deliver the provisional findings of the PRG to the Department.
General Comments The PRG wishes to express its thanks to the staff and students of the Department for the welcome they received. In particular, the PRG wish to acknowledge the considerable help offered by the Head of Department. Meetings during the site visit were well attended and the responses to forthright questions were honest and frank. The programme for the visit was full and adequate. The PRG was available to meet all staff from the different areas of the Department. It had adequate time for discussion, for drafting its report and for preparing the Exit presentation. The PRG wishes to thank the
Administrative staff for their help in the preparation of documentation. The SAR makes it clear that the Department comprises four loosely integrated sections and all the arranged meetings with groups reflected this. While this appeared justified in respect of academic staff, it meant that the PRG had to meet up to seven separate groups of undergraduates and postgraduates, when perhaps two pooled representative groups would have yielded the same information in less time.
THE PEER REVIEW
Methodology Professor Huss was assigned Forestry. Dr. Easson was assigned Crop Science, while Horticultural Science was the remit of Mr. Bisgrove and Professor Mac Cárthaigh. Mr. Bisgrove took the additional area of Landscape Architecture as he had the relevant knowledge. This meant that these externs would lead discussions and write initial draft recommendations for their areas, supported by the rest of the PRG in meetings and discussions. The Cognate, Dr. Doyle, provided her experience of University-wide teaching and research activities for comparison in discussions. In addition, her Department currently provides service teaching in Industrial Microbiology to Agriculture undergraduates. The Chair had particular knowledge on the infrastructure of the University. The Rapporteur had the additional experience of being a member of a Departmental Co-ordinating Committee in a recent QA/QI process in the Veterinary Faculty.
Sources Used 1. The SAR of the Department of Crop Science, Horticulture and Forestry, including individual sections representing the disciplines as well as relevant Appendices. 2. Taught course modules and curricula provided at the site visit (Forestry) 3. Sample course evaluations 4. CVs and research publications 5. PRG meetings with staff and students. 6. Site visit to local field stations.
Peer Review Group's View of the Self-assessment Report The PRG appreciated the time and trouble that the Co-ordinating Committee had devoted to the Report. It is clear, however, that existing structures prevented the Report being the coherent analysis of the totality of the Department for which the PRG would have wished. This is in no way a criticism of the current Head of Department who inherited a difficult situation and deeply entrenched structures. It is clear that there was never a single department and that the integration of 1989 existed only in name. The individual units functioned as separate entities and were seen as separate by both staff and students. The SAR comprised discrete sections on the four units within the Department without any overarching analysis, though a preamble attempted to provide a context. In general, the PRG was disappointed with the limited commentary and analysis within the SAR. It feels that an opportunity was missed for the
Department and the sections within it to set out strategic objectives for themselves for which they might have sought the endorsement of the PRG. Tables and bare facts were presented without commentary or any sense of context. In mitigation, however, the PRG is entirely sympathetic with the difficulty the Department had in giving a commitment to the QA/QI process given the University-wide uncertainty over the new structures that are imminent. For example, it would be difficult to write a thorough analysis when that group was in current discussions about its future location and direction. On the other hand, the element of QA on the Department‟s performance could have been addressed in a more detailed discussion than was provided, given that the process has had a 12-month lead-in time and would be the same irrespective of the current restructuring. There was no Departmental SWOT analysis, although one area made a worthwhile attempt at analysing this bigger picture. Important sections on research and external relations were omitted from elements of the Report. There was also some concern about inaccurate citing of research publications in one or two sections. In addition, while questionnaires were provided in the appendix, there was little sense of response rates or indeed any specific comments from those to whom it was assigned. In terms of courses, while the text stated that External Examiners‟ reports were available for each area, the PRG were surprised that a selection of these objective views on how the courses are delivered was not provided in an Appendix. The PRG could get no feel of the Department‟s direction over a sustained period from the Report. A notable omission from the Report was the Soil Science group, whose work was almost completely absent from the documentation and from meetings. However, notwithstanding the limitations of the SAR, the PRG is satisfied that it obtained a clear and detailed view of the Department‟s activities. Staff engaged fully during the meetings with the PRG and it was possible to compensate for the omissions in the SAR. The discussions with staff and students were lengthy and comprehensive and were characterised by a directness and honesty which the PRG found very useful. Views and opinions were amplified during the various „field visits‟ while various members of the PRG sought, and obtained, interviews with a number of staff members.
FINDINGS OF THE PEER REVIEW GROUP
The Findings of the Peer Review Group
General findings relating to the overall Department: 1. Current Departmental structure: It is clear to the PRG that the Department of Crop Science, Horticulture and Forestry never developed a single identity, but rather maintained the character of individual departments. This was reflected in the SAR but this view also emerged in meetings with staff and students. There was no sense that people saw themselves as belonging to a larger integrated group. This sub-division into the units of Forestry, Horticulture and Crop Science occurred in 1989, when the Department was formed. The further sub-division of Horticulture into Horticulture Science and Landscape Horticulture (Landscape Architecture) appeared to evolve as the latter became a stronger discipline in the 1990s. This is clearly a case where the University failed to ensure that a restructuring occurred in more than name. As these disciplines head towards three different schools, the PRG urges all those involved in implementing the formation of such schools to make sure that the various disciplines have a shared vision in their respective units. The PRG feels that many opportunities for productive research collaborations between these disciplines were missed because they were allowed to evolve as separate entities from the outset. There is now a chance for a fresh start for each of these areas in the new schools and an opportunity to consider the many possibilities for creative collaboration in teaching and research. 2. Future structure: The Registrar asked the PRG to comment on the most appropriate locations for the four groups in this Department in the restructured University. The PRG is satisfied that the broad thrust of School and College membership is appropriate but there are issues of detail that are important to note and which will be outlined below. Crop Science should go the School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine. Forestry and Horticulture Science / Sportsturf Management should go to the School of Biological and Environmental Science. The Landscape Architects should go the School of Architecture, Civil Engineering and the Designed Environment.
The rationale for these recommendations will become apparent when the individual areas are examined later in this Report. 3. Administrative and Technical Staff: The PRG recognises the high quality of administrative support that the Department has enjoyed and it is clear that the administrators will be an asset to the new Schools in whatever capacity they find themselves. This grouping
is dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate about their disciplines. enthusiasm must be cherished and harnessed in the new structures.
We were also impressed by the level of commitment for personal and professional development shown by many of the technical staff. Clearly there are issues relating to the deployment of technical staff within the new Schools and the PRG is of the view that the resolution of these issues is crucial to the research mandate of the new Schools. The PRG recognises the concern expressed by both technical and administrative staff regarding the lack of communication about the restructuring process. Both categories of staff are central to the success of the new structures and must be seen as part of the team. The PRG was made aware of the anxiety and uncertainty of the technicians over potential closure of field units and as to what their future will be in the new schools. Technical staff foresee a need to retrain and are concerned that their current expertise might not be required. No conclusions were apparent during the site visit. It is also clear that many facilities that the technicians are working with are unsafe and require updating. It was clear to the PRG that many technicians were demoralised by restricted promotional opportunities because of their linkage to where staff are located in UCD. Current grading contains too many insignificant increments and there seemed to be little or no performance appraisal. There was also an issue of confusion over reporting lines amongst the technicians and the assignment of priorities. It was put to the PRG that access by graduate students to technical support was ad hoc and haphazard, leading to inequities. This must be addressed given the potential to damage research projects in the future. However, the PRG is of the view that the lack of an integrated Department contributed to this confusion over duties and roles. Clarity in their role and responsibility in the work of the unit(s) will be needed. The PRG noted that the technical staff interviewed show a high degree of collegiality as a group even though, like the academic staff, they are based in all four group areas of the Department. One of the aims of the new Schools is that talented administrative and technical staff should develop personally and professionally in larger schoolbased activities and the PRG feels that there is a quality support staff here that can avail of these potential opportunities for the benefit of the new Schools. The PRG noted that administration and technical staff members are due to meet a representative of the President‟s team to discuss their roles in the new Schools and would strongly encourage consistent communication with these groups in the coming months. 4. Academic Programmes The information presented to the PRG on academic programmes was useful but it would have been helpful had there been more analysis by the Department of this information. The PRG would have been particularly interested in the Department‟s view on how the programmes fitted into the general context of education in these areas in Ireland and internationally. This level of detail cannot be ascertained in meetings and should have been in the SAR. On a positive note, the major point that emerged was that courses in the Agri-Food and Environment Faculty are already modularised and that the
main job now is to work out the credit arrangement. The PRG was very pleased with the attendance by students at the sessions organised for undergraduate and graduate students. All students praised the relationship between them and the Department. They spoke approvingly of the ready availability of staff and the generally welcoming atmosphere. It was noted, however, that many students did not know that there are support services available if they faced personal problems. In addition, recognition by the Department of the need to teach transferable skills (communication; time management, report writing, literature searching, interview skills, CV writing, job applications etc) was quite limited. The Department structure seemed to lack a „Director of Studies‟ whose responsibility it would be to ensure that everything was in place to ensure a good experience for the student, to deal with student disciplinary matters and interact with the University Authorities on behalf of the Department. Students were positive in their comments about the delivery of programmes, their coherence and their overall quality. They expressed themselves satisfied with the amount and quality of informational material. Not all staff has availed of modern technology in their teaching. In particular the provision of lecture material as handouts or on-line via „Blackboard‟ appears to have been intermittent. The groupings would benefit from a more consistent policy embracing at a minimum some course guides, assignment marking schemes and on-line resources. However, the PRG recognises that e-learning is not the panacea for all teaching and would not advocate a one-size-fits-all in relation to use of technology. The students also expressed satisfaction with Computer and Library facilities. The value and importance of the First Year General Science programme was not universally understood by students. For example, we did not meet one student who could relate the study of Physics to their reasons for doing an Agriculture degree or the potential benefits that might accrue. While it is undoubtedly true that some students will often see the benefit in retrospect, it may be a barrier to the recruitment of students in the future and consideration should be given to seeing how First Year (Stage 1) can be structured to meet these concerns. Stage 1 modules should be tailored towards specific programmes while retaining the breadth of the degree. Students requested an early engagement with their particular discipline and it seems that some groups are beginning to address this, even if it is currently in the second semester. Students emphasised the importance of practical instruction. UCD students tended to be slightly in awe of the students who had joined the course from Waterford I.T., since the latter seemed to have more practical skills. It will be important to ensure that the emphasis on the acquisition of practical skills is not diminished but rather enhanced in future programme delivery. Students who have transferred from ITs commented on how much they valued the small group instruction and the practical nature of the IT programmes. The conversion of these programmes to degrees at ITs will provide attractive alternatives to those currently on offer in UCD and this is a significant threat, given the statements from Waterford IT students that they would have preferred to stay in their local educational establishment, had a full degree been on offer.
The PRG is of the opinion that a strategic analysis be undertaken of the UCD undergraduate programmes to ensure that they are best placed to attract high quality students from the general population and also from the ITs. However, it is crucial that the UCD programmes continue to emphasise their high quality Science focus. This differentiates its programmes as well as providing an important platform for high quality graduate education and research. 5. Research Although there is considerable variation in research output across the Department, it is clear that a considerable volume of international quality research is being undertaken in some but not all areas. The PRG recognises that much of the research output is directed towards applied publications for which the target market is often the particular industry. This is recognised as a valuable contribution to the discipline and the PRG is of the view that the University must recognise this in any research assessment of individual and group performance. The current choice of journals is appropriate to the individual disciplines and is in line with international best practice, irrespective of journal impact factors. However, the PRG believes that there are also opportunities to publish this material in international peerreviewed academic journals targeted to a more scientific audience. These opportunities must be exploited to the maximum degree in the future to benefit individuals and enhance the reputation of Schools. The PRG views the restructuring as an opportunity to enhance and develop collaborations in research, teaching and learning within and between schools. This will be a significant challenge to the four groups, given that this has not been the dominant culture heretofore. It is also an opportunity to develop new lines of innovative research to meet changing requirements. The PRG is of the view that these collaborations should be wide ranging and that the individual College should not be seen as the only context for this work. The focus of much research seems overly focused on Ireland and it will benefit from an enhanced international dimension. This is not to undervalue or devalue research that is concerned with issues relating to Ireland. The provision of high quality accredited physical resources must be invested in by the University and be in place if research funding is to be attracted (e.g. glasshouses for all plant work –not just glasshouse crops). The PRG noted that there was a significant botany SFI-funded plant gene expression project based in the glasshouses, so the potential for UCD in plant biotechnology is readily apparent and can bridge the themes of research in several schools. By international standards, the number of graduate students is low across the different sections of the Department. The new Schools should provide opportunities for attracting a wider range of research students. The PRG was concerned that current graduate students felt somewhat isolated from each other and from the University. They were not aware of University supports for graduate students and opportunities for training and interaction and seem not to have considered the advantages of seeing their work in a wider perspective. They had little knowledge of UCD‟s own Ph.D. student orientation course and of the graduate courses in the Conway Institute. While individual students appreciated the high level of quality supervision that they received,
the PRG advocates a more structured means of research supervision, e.g. involving other colleagues in thesis committees, journal clubs, seminars, courses etc. International postgraduate students also have particular mentoring needs, which could be met better in the graduate research programme than is currently the case. The PRG met several staff with a vocation for research and these individuals need to be nurtured better by the University by such measures as financially supporting conference attendance in a manner that recognises the real cost of travel and accommodation, and also in updating laboratory infrastructure. Complying with UCD‟s mission statement denoting a research ethos will therefore require significant investment in staff and facilities and this is what is required if the recent OECD recommendations are to be followed. Finally, the PRG found that there was a lack of clarity amongst all staff questioned on how budgeting was calculated for the Department and the four sections. Staff remained remarkably unaware of how UCD operates distribution of finance in respect of numbers of staff, undergraduates and postgraduates. Most staff felt that the Department was treated as a poor relation, at least in financial terms, in the Faculty. There appeared to be a rather paternalistic view of how the four sections of the Department received funding from the Faculty and there was a level of inertia in relation to the topic. While the PRG cannot say whether the Department and its sections were under-resourced within the Faculty, their own experiences suggest that knowledge of the budget process can only be an advantage in arguing for maximal resource allocation. This will be highly pertinent as these groups move to new Schools. 5.2 Crop Science Group details: The lack of engagement of some of the Crop Science staff in the review process due to the juxtaposition of the review and the re-structuring process, along with some imminent retirements was understandable. However, it left the SAR with significant gaps which the review team had to fill through detailed questioning. A major omission was the Soil Science group whose work was almost completely absent from the documentation. Nevertheless a substantial amount of information was gathered during interviews which allowed the PRG to develop a clear understanding of the unit. The Crop Science group is clearly in transition with pending retirements of senior academics. This will pose challenges in the new School but will also offer the chance for the group to align itself in the most effective manner with new teaching and research opportunities and groupings on offer in the new structures. Planning and Organisation: In terms of the day-to-day planning and scheduling of the teaching of Crop Science and the maintenance of the crop research programmes of the individual staff, the PRG is satisfied that this was carried out effectively.
Even without the incentive of the reorganisation, the Crop Science staff would have benefited from more regular formal inclusive staff meetings at which the direction of future research work and the opportunities for funding applications could be discussed. By having a clear picture in their own mind of where they want to be in teaching and research, their niche in the School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine would become apparent. Taught Programmes / Teaching and Learning The teaching of crop science is of an appropriately high standard and is given by staff who are respected by the industry as being leaders in their disciplines. The number of students entering Animal and Crop Production has been declining for a number of years. A significant proportion of students are entering from Waterford IT in order to obtain a Degree qualification, but even with that, there has been an overall decline that is related to the attractiveness of farming as a career. Staff were of the view that in spite of this decline there will continue to be a sufficient demand for Agriculture graduates to maintain the viability of the courses. The PRG felt that in order to maintain student numbers within agriculture courses, issues such as the relationship with IT‟s, the appropriateness of all the science teaching, the practical content of the courses and the promotion of the courses to industry, will have to be addressed. Research and Scholarly Activity Of the four academic staff, the PRG could locate just one CV with full details of research interests and publications. However, a summary of the research activity of the group was supplied and other information was supplied orally. The recent research of the group has mainly centred on applied research related to fungicide use on cereals and forage maize agronomy. This work has been largely funded by the agricultural trade. It has been highly valued by the industry and technology transfer of the results through well attended open days, meetings and press articles has been very effective. To maintain a consistent contract income in this way represents a significant achievement by this group. The PRG agrees that there is a capacity for additional research in this area beyond contract research for testing of new chemicals. The academic staff that will be going into the School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine have a track record in arable food for farm animals and the PRG sees this as a complementary fit. We would also advocate that new staff in the section should augment food-based crop research for production animals in line with the research themes of that School. The research themes of the School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine should also consider research into non-food crops, which are becoming increasingly important. The research interests of the Crop Science group have a local focus and have served the immediate needs of specific sectors of the industry. A
concern must be raised however, over the dependence of the work on trade funding which may restrict academic freedom and has prevented the investigation of topics of a more fundamental, strategic and forwardthinking nature. Much of the publication output has been in conference proceedings and includes non-refereed publications. Although this is a bona fide high quality scholarly activity and should be recognised as such by the University, there appears to have been little impetus to take all elements of this valuable applied research further into refereed publications, which unfortunately diminishes the recognition of the group within the academic circles. That is not to say that communication of the results to the target farming audience is unimportant. The question of value for money for Crop Science research at Lyons Estate arose. Crop Science researchers need to make a case for continuing at Lyons or perhaps for exploring a more local and cheaper alternative farm tailored for their needs. In view of the proximity of Teagasc Oak Park and the relatively moderate scale of arable crop farming in Ireland, a greater degree of integration with Teagasc might be considered in terms of research resources. The PRG is aware that a recent report was supplied to the President by Agriculture and Veterinary users of the Lyons Estate and will not revisit that here except to say that the full range of research options at Lyons‟ need to be identified. Crop Science should continue to carry out collaborative research with Teagasc and focus on developing strategies to meet EU obligations and thus identify new funding streams. The PRG recommends that there should continue to be a Chair in the subject, but that the opportunity should be taken to reflect the new research focus of the group in the area of specialism of the person appointed. External Relations Crop Science has good relations with the farming community, Teagasc and with other local interests. They enjoy a high reputation. However, a consequence of their focus on local matters is that they are less well known on an international stage. Opportunities that will increase their international profile should be sought and supported by the University.
SWOT Analysis for Crop Science: Strengths: Strong links with local farming community and Teagasc. Substantial contract programmes. Asset of Lyons estate. High quality research for the industry. High quality teaching programmes. income from agri-trade for some research
Weaknesses: Several Senior staff retiring and may / may not be replaced. Lack of strategic thinking and planning. Low production of academic publications from all research work. Over-dependence on trade funding of research. Short term rather than longer term focus of research. Run down facilities at field stations. Opportunities: New linkages in School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine gives opportunities to develop new research programmes in Crop Science. Appointment of new staff to fill vacancies gives opportunity to change direction of research to meet new research challenges. The obligations placed on governments by EU legislation are creating new opportunities for research programmes. Changes taking place in the industry create opportunities for research to answer new needs. Examples include: the need to evaluate how cropping practices can affect phosphate balances; crops for bioremediation; role of home-produce versus imported animal feeds; energy cropping; partnerships with other streams of biomass; marketing of heat and energy; biotechnology and novel crops; pharmaceuticals; nutriceuticals; management systems for highest environmental standards and within schemes such as the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme and Quality Assurance Schemes. Research is needed to provide the scientific basis for government policy changes in relation to agriculture, the environment, food policy etc; or to challenge or modify such policies. The PRG is of the view that, although Energy Cropping overlaps significantly with aspects of the environment and forestry, the Crop Science groups should take the lead in coordinating work on this topic. Threats: Waterford IT and other IT‟s are well placed to imitate the Crop Production degree course and attract the vocational farming students. The emphasis by UCD on science research of high international standing and the emphasis on attracting „big money‟ may be perceived as being in conflict with the service ethos of the Crop Science group for the local Agriculture industry. There is a happy medium to be found here. Not clear how new potential research areas such as energy crops/ environmental farming, non-food crops would obtain competitive funding If staff are not appointed, group may have insufficient critical mass within a large school. An over-emphasis on research reports to the neglect of peer-reviewed
academic publications may prejudice their future standing. New groupings of schools resulting in separation between production and related underlying sciences (e.g. pathology, entomology, soil science environment and between food chain and environmental aspects of agriculture / horticulture.) Schools must have permeable walls to avoid this damaging outcome. Crop Science must also retain input into the food production aspects of the horticulture group in the School of Biology and the Environment. 5.3 Forestry Group details / Planning and Organisation: The Forestry group‟s location should be the new School of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Although there is no current Chair, the group comprises an Associate Professor, two Senior Lecturers and two College Lecturers. This can be regarded as a high proportion of senior positions in what is a small group. As the name “Forestry” will not be in the title of the new School, there is concern that the minority discipline will lack a subject champion in the new School. The question of the Chair of Forestry (currently vacant) was considered by the PRG in this context. The PRG was strongly of the view that Forestry must be a recognisable entity within the new School if it is to be able to retain its profile in the industry and to the country and if it is to continue to attract research funds. It noted that the failure to appoint a Chair had already been commented upon adversely outside the University. It is a strong recommendation that Forestry be provided with appropriate status in the new School to permit it to maintain its external profile. The PRG believes that this requires an appointment to the Chair of Forestry and that the opportunity should be taken to set the new directions for the group by this appointment. Forestry has strong links to environmental aspects and there will be many opportunities to co-operate in research with biology, horticulture, rural development in the new School. However, economics and business management are also important. The Forestry Section has already good contacts with industry and might use them to develop these areas in teaching programmes. Taught Programmes/Teaching and Learning: Planning and organisation on the teaching courses is carried out well. Students identified themselves with the unit quite soon after coming to the University. Employment prospects for forestry students appear good with up to 20 graduates per annum required by the industry to meet its needs. Forestry education should remain at least as broad as today because the labour market is very diverse and requires undergraduates with this breath of education. Some elements of forestry are introduced in Year 1 and the PRG was in favour of introducing these aspects as early as possible in order to retain
student enthusiasm for the subject they came to UCD to study. Specialisation takes place in 2nd Year (Stage 2). Impressive new undergraduate modules have been developed in recent years, but a greater practical component would be welcomed by students. Forestry staff members teach 32 credits per year, each credit being 8 hours. This amounts to 10-12 hours each per week and would be regarded as relatively high internationally. The question of the heavy teaching loads on staff needs to be examined in the context of the new School, particularly given the need to pursue an enhanced research agenda. The Forestry course would benefit from better use of external experts from business, marketing, energy, recreation and conservation. This would tie the programmes better to industry and practical aspects. It would also have additional benefits of freeing up staff for research. The Modularisation initiative within the University should provide some possibilities to meet this need. The PRG recognise that the teaching load of the current staff is relatively high and that it is unreasonable to expect that the development of the wider aspects of Forestry can be met from within the unit. Research and Scholarly Activity Research is primarily in the business area of Irish forestry. Topics comprise the new rural development strategy, multi-functional forests and timber production. The PRG felt that forestry research could benefit from diversifying into recreation amenity, biodiversity and wild-life management. Significant research opportunities also lie in improving the urban environment, carbon sequestration, energy conservation and energy consumption from wood biomass. A more intensive approach to developments in international forestry could help to expand the research base. Funding is mainly from COFORD and typical grants are 0.5 million euro over 5 years. There are collaborative projects with Botany, Zoology and other groups. Three postgraduate students have been awarded Ph.D.s in the past three years. The current number of post-graduates is relatively low by comparable EU standards. Research facilities are sub-optimal and a dedicated technician appears to be required. This has also contributed to the relatively weak research output. The PRG believes that the appointment of a new Chair of Forestry would be an opportunity to set new research directions for the group.
SWOT Analysis for Forestry Strengths Well-qualified high level staff. Well-developed modules within homogenous programmes. Good research interactions with Science. Elective components of the course encourage breadth of degree and is attractive for students from ITs. Science-based education. There is a challenge to convince enough applicants for undergraduate studies that this remains high value to them. Weaknesses No Chair in the discipline. Technical supports for research appeared to be low. International dimensions of forestry could be widened. Limited emphasis on non-production aspects of forestry. No special educational programmes for master and doctor students. Small number of publications in reviewed journals. Need to become more attractive for British and overseas students. Opportunities Forestry has a long-term prospect as it is planned to increase the forest area from the current 10 % to 16 % in 2030. Most of the existing forests will be transformed into close-to-nature ecosystems. The functions of the forests will continuously further diversify. This will lead to a greater need of intensively and sophisticatedly trained experts. Thus the prognosis for academic training in the field of forestry and adjoining subjects is good. Develop modules to attract undergraduate and postgraduates from other institutions. Accentuate what differentiates a UCD graduate in Forestry from that of the ITs. Perhaps the group might look into accreditation of the Forestry course by a professional body. This would add credibility and differentiate it from ITs. More discussion of research within group and in the new wider School. Opportunities to expand research focus into new areas of forestry. Threats Uncertainty of the place of a small unit like Forestry in the new School. Concern at ITs carrying out forestry education. If Forestry looses high numbers of undergraduates to the ITs, forestry education at UCD is highly
endangered. Low numbers of postgraduates threaten viability of research programmes. 5.4 Horticulture Science Management) (Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape
Group details / Planning and Organisation: The Horticultural Scientists comprise four academic staff working in an evolving group of subject areas. The full Professor will be retiring shortly. It is recognised by all concerned that this is an area which has undergone considerable change. Commercial Production Horticulture (with some exceptions) is diminishing in importance in Ireland and this is reflected in the University where annual student enrolments have dropped gradually from a peak of 25 in the 1970s to ~5 in 2004. In response, the academic staff members have moved into Landscape Horticulture and hence Landscape Architecture (see 5.5 below). In recent years the horticultural aspects of Sportsturf Management have also been identified as a topic of special significance for Ireland. The PRG is of the view that the focus on Landscape Horticulture and Sportsturf Management is highly appropriate. This is a growth area in the economy, there is student interest and there are good research possibilities. Graduates in the area of Landscape Horticulture/Sportsturf Management will have good job opportunities. However, it should not be the only area of research in the future. The PRG considered how best the current unit should be accommodated in the new School / College structure. It approves of the decision to locate the Horticulture/Sportsturf Management group in the School of Biology and the Environment. It is also strongly of the view that the current complement of staff should be retained as a unit within the new School irrespective of existing teaching and research interests. The group should not be split and it is the view of the PRG that any such dilution would irreparably damage the subject area. The PRG feels that the area of Production Horticulture (including fruit and vegetables) should be located within the School of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Medicine. The School should be free to decide the appropriate resources for this area, for example, in the course of making new appointments in Crop Science. However, the PRG is also of the view that those in the Horticulture/Sportsturf area in the School of Biology and the Environment should be encouraged to contribute to modules in the area of Production Horticulture. Fruit Husbandry is unlikely to continue as a core area within either School. The ITs offer courses in nursery management, fruit and vegetables. These are likely to meet demand, especially once these programmes attain degree status. Students stated that they would have stayed in the ITs if full degrees in Horticulture were on offer. It seems increasingly likely that the degree in Horticulture may be given by Blanchardstown IT, while the horticultural content will be taught exclusively in Warrenstown.
Taught Programmes/Teaching and Learning: A new course in Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape Management will be introduced in the academic year 2005-06. The PRG consider the name Horticulture in the title in this course might be limiting and suggest that it might be changed to Environmental Horticulture. New modules in Landscape Horticulture, Sportsturf Management and wider aspects of Social/Environmental Horticulture can be successful and will generate student interest and be a basis for further development. Research and Scholarly Activity Publication in peer-reviewed journals is a strong feature of this group. Research publications were citeable, and in appropriate journals. The PRG was not overly concerned with publishing in journals of low impact factor since they were the right locations for the appropriate readership. There were also many short diverse publications. Again, this is acceptable if it is reaching appropriate target audiences. The PRG noted that the research productivity from Horticultural Science was predominantly from one or two individuals. The efforts made by some academic staff to publish Final Year undergraduate student projects were laudable. The numbers of postgraduate students were adequate for the size of the group. To date, there was a certain focus in specific areas. With the limited staff and facilities there is not much room for diversification and staff should focus in one or two areas eligible for funding and consistent with their current skills. The PRG noted that Horticultural Science had evolved as a rather solitary discipline and urges the staff to collaborate more with Forestry, Botany and other environmental-based disciplines in the new School and elsewhere. For example, Urban Forestry is set to be a major growth area and Horticulture staff should have the skills to collaborate in this. Other examples include Social Horticulture/Horticultural Therapy and staff can also make important contributions to Landscape Architecture and plantbased/alternative medicines. Research areas of Social Horticulture and Non-food Horticulture should be basis of focus and any new staff appointments should reflect increasing critical mass in this area. Research facilities at Thornfield and Rosemount are in need of refurbishment and upgrading for potential use by a whole range of plantbased research groups. Some equipment was more than 25-years old. In addition, the laboratory in the Agriculture building was small and appeared poorly maintained. Horticulture staff require a safe, clean and basicallyequipped controlled environment for the growth of non-food crops. Postgraduate students of Horticulture expressed frustration at the level of technical assistance they received, but it was also apparent that technicians were unclear on priorities of the group and the reporting lines.
SWOT Analysis for Horticulture Science Strengths The highly dedicated staff have demonstrated the ability to attract funding and produce quality research in this area. A clear view by staff of the possibilities in Amenity Horticulture. New appointments should reflect this focus and boost critical mass in research. Weaknesses A lack of research interactions with Urban Foresters, Crop Scientists and Soil Scientists. The Horticultural Scientists need to broaden their network of collaborators in Plant Science and this should be possible given the fresh start and stability that the new School offers. Opportunities Appointment of an international expert on Turf Management to a Chair (perhaps in Environmental Horticulture) would demonstrate the importance of sportsturf within the EU. Ireland could be the leading centre of research in this area for Europe. In co-operation with Soil Science and Botany Plant Protection, a world centre of excellence could be established. This group might consider exploring formation of a teaching or research alliance with an IT on an experimental basis to see if there are specialist themes and concentrations that might be capitalised upon. This arrangement might lead to the best students enrolling for the UCD degree and, to this end, a co-ordinated linkage might be possible. In the new School of Biology and the Environment, Horticulture should foster teaching and research links with groups interested in plant physiology, genetically-modified plants and science-based botanic groups. This group needs to maintain linkage with the Landscape Architects in modular teaching in the School of Architecture, Civil Engineering and the Designed Environment and to emphasise the plant aspects of courses in Landscape Architecture. There is value in continuing interest/collaboration with Production Horticulture. For example, there could be novel methods of turf production for amenity use exploiting vegetable plug technology to produce speciesrich meadow turf as well as more conventional amenity turf. Threats The Horticulturists will be a relatively small grouping in a large school and may have difficulties in maintaining a profile for their subject. The PRG is concerned that if there is no senior member of staff to “fight” the horticultural corner, the subject could disappear in time.
Landscape Architecture Group details/ Planning and Organisation: Landscape Architecture has evolved from a minor component in Horticulture to being a significant subject in its own right. Recent staff appointments have emphasised this evolution so that the group is now staffed by accredited Landscape Architects. There are three academic staff, of whom two are full-time. The PRG concurs with the decision to place Landscape Architecture in the new School of Architecture, Civil Engineering and the Designed Environment. However, the PRG is strongly of the view that firm links should be maintained with Horticulture. It is most important to ensure that Landscape/Environmental Horticulture remains part of the Landscape Architecture programme in a manner that emphasises its relevance to Landscape Architects. The mutual respect and combined expertise which will result from this continuing partnership will make a major contribution to the profession of Landscape Architecture internationally and will be a major strength of graduates from the Landscape Architecture/Landscape Horticulture programmes. There are resourcing issues that must now be resolved before the new School structure is finalised. The University needs to ensure that this discipline is put on a firm resource footing prior to its move. Taught Programmes/Teaching and Learning: The PRG recognised the efforts that have been devoted to improving the teaching and learning facilities of students. However, it is of the view that these programmes are now at a stage at which they must be professionally accredited. This will require that resources be increased, particularly in relation to studio provision. There will also need to be an investment in staffing. The PRG is of the view that the minimum requirement is for five academic staff. We understand that there is a post that has been approved but deferred during the current restructuring. We recommend that this post be filled as a matter of urgency. The PRG strongly urges retention of a Horticultural component in the Landscape Architecture curriculum and that the Landscape Architecture staff present it as being an important component. The significant current contribution of a Horticulturist to the teaching programme was acknowledged by the staff and students. While Horticulture will be going to another School, strong linkage must be retained and this should be promoted through modularisation. Research and Scholarly Activity There is a need to develop a research culture in the group. However, the PRG recognises that the nature of research and the modes of publication must follow international norms for Landscape Architecture and that this will not necessarily be the same as for other (especially science-based) disciplines.
SWOT Analysis for Landscape Architecture Strengths Highly committed staff in Landscape Architecture. Growth in student numbers. Potential for accredited courses for professional degree. Weaknesses Low number of full-time academic staff. Staff have little time for research. Design studios are inadequate for needs of increasing student numbers. Opportunities Opportunities for strong growth and the development of a professional discipline. Can retain Horticultural Science input to courses by modularisation. Linkage with architects will forge common areas of research and teaching. There is an opportunity to go into a new School with major issues resolved. Threats Minority discipline in the new School, which will be run primarily in a different location. Head of Group must make impact on governance committees and make sure subject is visible. Landscape Architecture will continue to be located in the Agri-Food and the Environment Building, at least for the time being. The PRG is of the view that this continuing arrangement may not be the most comfortable for them, especially with regard to resource sharing, where it occurs. This will need careful monitoring and management.
The PRG has made a number of recommendations throughout its analysis of each section within the Department. Here it draws together the main recommendations but it will be important to read this section in conjunction with section 5 to obtain the full range of the PRG‟s comments. School Structures and Staffing 1. The PRG agrees with the new School locations of all four groupings. 2. The Horticultural Science group should stay as a unit within the School of School of Biology and the Environment and not split across two Schools. 3. There should be chairs in Forestry, Crop Science, Environmental Horticulture/Sportsturf Management, but these should ideally be people with research complementary to that of the staff in the current and future new School groups. 4. Impending staff appointments and replacement of retirees should take in to account the new research remits of the groups in their new schools. 5. The resourcing issues, both staffing and physical, in Landscape Architecture must be addressed before they join their new School if they are to develop as the PRG believes they should. Teaching and Learning 6. There should be a review of the Science content of the early part of all programmes to ensure that the relevance of the material taught is clearly apparent to students. It is important to engage students with their specialist subject to some extent in the first semester of Year 1 and tailor courses accordingly. 7. Implement best practice procedures for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. 8. The recruitment of a greater number of graduate students must be a priority. 9. Measures must be taken to reduce the isolation experienced by many graduate students. Research 10. Strategic research links should be formed with relevant groups in the new Schools. Cross-disciplinary research should be encouraged between former sections of the Department in the increasingly important areas of Environmental Management. 11. The research facilities at Lyons, Thornfield and Rosemount require upgrading. There have been several reports for the University that require acting upon with regard to their future. 12. The four sections of the Department have been doing very well in some aspects for a sustained period and the majority of staff are highly motivated, especially in relation to their commitment to teaching. Wellfunded research contracts and peer reviewed papers in high impact journals are indeed very important to UCD, but they are not the only measure by which the success of the University, these academic areas, or the staff within them should be measured. 29
13. Publication strategies need to be tailored to best international practice within the disciplines. These groups should aim to demonstrate excellence in their niche of community and industry-related research, and in achieving a balance between effective teaching and provision of a satisfying experience for their students.
Response of the Co-ordinating Committee to the Peer Review Group Report
The following members of the Committee met to discuss the Report. Dr Trevor Storey, Dr Mary Forrest, Dr Conor O‟Reilly and Mr Tom Moore. Ms Valerie Guilfoyle was on sick leave and Mr Kevin Keenan was on holidays. 1.3 Courses and Programmes The list of courses on Page 5 while it gives a good indication of the courses offered is not entirely complete. It also it should be noted that particularly in the Horticulture area, a number of courses are common to both degree programmes. Page 14 “It was put to the PRG that access by graduate students to technical support was ad hoc and haphazard, leading to inequities” also Page 25 “Postgraduate students of Horticulture expressed frustration at the level of technical assistance they received . . .” The Committee feels these statements are not a true representation of the excellent assistance and co-operation given by the technical staff, but are more a reflection of an isolated incident. Page 15 “In addition, recognition by the Department of the need to teach transferable skills . . . was quite limited” The committee feels that staff are fully aware of the importance of teaching transferable skills and that students are informed of their importance. Some new course modules have already been introduced. “The value and importance of the First Year General Science programme was not universally understood by students” The Committee would acknowledge that while this had previously been the case, it would like to emphasise that great efforts are being made with the introduction of the new programmes to correct the situation. Page 21 “Crop Science must also retain input into the food production aspects of the horticulture group in the School of Biology and the Environment” Crop Science did not previously have any input into the food production aspects of the Horticulture degree programmes. 5.3 Forestry “This can be regarded as a high proportion of senior positions in what is a 31
small group” The Committee feels that this comment is open to different interpretations. It could infer that in any department there should be a particular distribution of grades. In fact with the introduction of benchmarking this is not the case e.g. all staff in a department could be at a senior level provided the required benchmarks have been met. Page 22 “Research is primarily in the business area of Irish Forestry” “The PRG felt that research could benefit from diversifying into . . .” These points are not fully accurate as research is already underway in several areas listed under the second point. “Research facilities are sub-optimal and a dedicated technician appears to be required. This has also contributed to the relatively weak research output.” The Committee feels that the words “relatively weak research output” if taken in isolation may give a false impression of the research output. Consideration must be given to the generally high teaching loads of the group and that research output from individual staff members may be variable as was noted in the other sections of the Report. 5.4 Horticultural Management) Science (Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape
“In response, the academic staff members have moved into Landscape Horticulture and hence Landscape Architecture” This statement is not correct as no movement of staff has taken place. “The PRG is of the view that the focus on Landscape Horticulture and Sportsturf Management is highly appropriate” The committee feels that the use of the term “Landscape Horticulture” in this context and also elsewhere in the Report will create a lot of confusion with the term “Landscape Architecture”. It should be noted in Ireland, where the profession is relatively new, the study and practice of Landscape Architecture has traditionally been known as Landscape Horticulture. The profession of Landscape Architecture is recognised internationally by that name and UCD will from September 2005 adopt the name change from Landscape Horticulture to Landscape Architecture. It should be noted that this is a name change only and that the core content of the education programme remains unchanged. The statement above is therefore confusing in that the PRG are of the opinion that the focus on Landscape Horticulture within the programme Horticulture Science (Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape Management) is highly appropriate. The Committee feels that any change of the Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape Management programme title or programme content should consciously avoid confusion with the programme Landscape Architecture (formerly Landscape Horticulture).
“Fruit Husbandry is unlikely to continue as a core area within either school.” Fruit Husbandry is a component of the new Horticulture, Sportsturf and Landscape Management degree programme. Page 25 “In addition, the laboratory in the Agriculture building was small and appeared poorly maintained”. While the facilities are not modern by comparison with other laboratories and taking into consideration the high number of postgraduate students working in the “small” laboratory and that no attempt was made to have the laboratory ultra clean solely for the purpose of the visit, i.e. it was presented as a working laboratory, the Committee feel that the statement that it “appeared poorly maintained” is not correct. 5.5 Landscape Architecture “Recent staff appointments have emphasised this evolution so that the group is now staffed by accredited Landscape Architects” This statement infers that prior to “recent” staff appointments the group was staffed by non-accredited Landscape Architects. Depending on what is meant by “recent”, the staff have been accredited for at least a decade. Re 4th and 7th Bullet Points “The PRG is strongly of the view that firm links should be maintained with Horticulture . . .“ Paragraphs 4 and 7 further emphasise the confusion between Landscape Architecture and Landscape Horticulture. Landscape Architecture is not a new course but only a change in degree title and it is not intended to reduce the horticultural content of the programme. The importance of horticulture remains unmodified by the name change to Landscape Architecture and the continued contribution from horticulturalists from other Schools will be assured by the “permeable walls” of the new structures. “. . . will be a major strength of graduates from the Landscape Architecture/Landscape Horticulture programmes.” The confusion that might arise from the use of “Landscape Architecture” and “Landscape Horticulture” has already been referred to.