A leading Glasgow university has shelled out more than £200,000 on a new timetabling system that inflicted chaos on classes at the start of the academic year, The Journal can disclose.
A number of students at the University of Strathclyde faced upheaval in the first few weeks of term after introduction of the new room-booking operation.
Students at the city centre institution suffered the interruption of certain classes while other sessions were relocated with the University forced to rely on the Students’ Association to limit the disruption.
And The Journal can now reveal that Strathclyde bosses spent £205,913 – less current costs of the previous system in place – on the initial purchase, development and implementation of the software since the decision to back the roll-out in 2008.
A total of £70,816 has been spent in the space of two years to cover the costs of ‘ongoing consultancy’, while £64,084 was used for original purchase of the software and licensing costs in 2009-10. Almost £30,000 was required for initial consultancy and training.
The figures come four months after president of the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA), Charandeep Singh, slammed the institution’s failure to deliver a smooth transition as an “outrage” amid fears ahead of the arrival of thousands more students this summer once the City Centre and Jordanhill campuses are merged.
However, the USSA leader has voiced more optimism in the wake of ongoing discussions with staff over the merger.
He said: “There have no doubt been issues with the timetabling system at Strathclyde but I am confident that the University will be able to deliver in the next academic year as the Jordanhill campus locates to the city centre.
“USSA is a member of the group which is dealing with the move and we are ensuring that the team at Strathclyde put sufficient safeguards in place to ensure a seamless transition, with the student experience in mind.”
Under the new system, academic staff are able to select teaching space online according to resource requirements and appropriate dates. However, it is understood failure to confirm requests together with a lack of communication culminated in the likes of rooms being doubled booked and insufficient facilities provided last semester.
A University of Strathclyde spokesman said: “The new timetabling system will enable better and more flexible use of teaching space and will allow us to use our facilities more efficiently. We are confident that it will continue to be effective when the students and staff from Jordanhill relocate to the John Anderson Campus later in the year.
“Ensuring that our students have a first class student experience during their time at Strathclyde is at the heart of what we do. Investment in the timetabling system is our latest commitment to support that goal.”