Translation Unit decision delayed

Staff left in limbo as they await the decision

Tim Arbabzadah

News – Friday March 1, 2013


The decision on the fate of the Translation Studies Unit (TSU) has been delayed until June leaving all involved uncertain about their future. The Management Board of Imperial College London met on Friday 22 February to review the feedback gathered from staff, students and external interested parties on the future of the TSU. They decided that new research activities in the TSU will not be started, and that new students will not be admitted to the MSc or PhD courses until after the final decision is made. It is also understood that they will have to try to find a new home elsewhere themselves.

The TSU started a campaign against being closed or moved. A petition was created, which has over 6,400 signatures at time of going to print, and is steadily gaining more. The signatures come from all areas of the globe, including academics at a wide variety of institutions. The Union supports their campaign, after a paper was brought to Union Council about the issue. The paper stated that the Union wants further clarity over why the TSU is being closed and how students would complete their degree if the TSU is closed. Thus far, the only statement from College is that “the activities carried out by the TSU are not considered core to the College strategy”.

In a statement to Felix, a College spokesperson said: “The Board reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the position of students currently registered in the Unit and agreed to commission a review including an external adviser and student input to consider the current portfolio of PhD research.” They went on to say that this review will “recommend how the studies of individual students may be best supported to conclusion.” The Board also agreed to gather further information and options for the activities carried out by the TSU. The results of the review and any additional information will be considered by the Management Board in June. No further decisions on the future of the TSU will be made until that point.”

The TSU was founded in 2001 and specialise in scientific translation; they currently consists of around 100 students and staff. The last teaching review described them as excellent. The TSU strongly believe that they do have a place at Imperial. The TSU remains profitable and financial considerations are understood not to have played a part in the decision.