When the coronavirus pandemic struck the UK, the University of Southampton sprung into action to protect and keep its community safe and healthy. As one of the universities on the frontlines of the race to develop tests and treatments for the virus, Southampton was only too aware of the seriousness of the risks posed by this new strain of coronavirus.
It was no mean feat to keep over 22,000 students and 5,000 staff up-to-date with the latest developments, so the university launched a comprehensive web page dedicated to real-time up-to-date information on its response to the public health crisis. From services to health to research, staff ensured all grounds were covered. Information was crucial at the height of the virus crisis and the university made sure every student’s question was answered whether via its website or through other channels.
Wide-ranging and in-depth — the University of Southampton’s approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic reflects its commitment to its students during these uncertain times. The mission is clear: ensure minimal disruption to studies and offer more support than ever before.
Learning went online, exams took place and support services became available via phone, email and online chat. When campus reopens on Sept. 28, 2020, the wellbeing of staff and students will continue to be top priority.
To help manage the number of students on campus, and ensure all face-to-face classes can be taught with the correct physical distancing measures in place, the university has delayed the start date of some courses to January, while others will begin as originally scheduled in September. By carefully monitoring the number of students coming to the university at any one time, Southampton will be able to provide more in-person teaching, and ensure that this vital part of the academic experience is not lost.
President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith said, “We are aiming to provide a significant face-to-face component to your education as prevailing conditions at the time allow, combined in our new blended approach with active independent and group online learning.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, the university will continue to tweak the balance between face-to-face and online education. “Our commitment to you is that whatever the balance, we will be supporting you as you learn and giving you the best possible opportunities to enjoy and benefit from your experience as a Southampton student,” Smith said.
Far or near, the university plans to take care of all its students. After all, this is a university that beat many in the categories of “International Students” and “International Faculty” in the QS World University Rankings 2021. Professor Jane Falkingham, Vice President, International (interim) and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences says, “We strive to provide a world-class education to excellent students drawn from across the globe … We are committed to ensuring all students maximise their potential during their time at Southampton and take pride in educating tomorrow’s global citizens and leaders.”
A leg up in English and academic study skills
International travel has been disrupted by the pandemic, but that should be no obstacle for Southampton students to get ready for their study abroad adventure in the UK. The university is launching two new pre-sessional courses this fall which will help international students with their English and study skills.
Online and taught by designated staff and English language coaches, it prepares students with the academic and language skills they need to give them a good grounding for further study. All aspects of academic English — reading, writing, speaking and listening — will be covered. Who says you can’t get a leg up during a pandemic?
Pre-sessional courses A and B will run for 10 weeks and eight weeks respectively — timed perfectly for students intending to start their studies in January. Additional language learning opportunities will also be available after these end.
Designed for international and EU students wishing to progress to undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, this full-time programme will place students in subject-specific study groups with peers from similar degree programmes. Tutors and advisors can refine the courses to be as bespoke as possible to each student’s individual needs and academic choices.
Music, fashion and more
During the months of lockdown in the UK, a Southampton lecturer brought music to homes all over the world. It started when Associate Professor of Composition in Music Dr Matthew Shlomowitz started composing for his own family. Then he offered to create bespoke compositions for others through a website “Music for Cohabiters.”
He’s produced “a very hard duo” for a mother to challenge her two sons playing bassoon and trombone. Another thought-provoking piece was for two professional recorder players in Amsterdam and their daughter, Bodil, who just turned two years old. “We see all over the place that the lock down is leading both to social kindness and new forms of creative projects that make sense at this time,” added Matthew.
Such ingenuity reflects the calibre of lecturers at Southampton’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The faculty brings together the specialisms of Archaeology, Art and Design, Brand and Media Management, English, Fashion and Textiles, Film Studies, History, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Music, Philosophy and the Academic Centre for International Students. With its facilities and expertise, to study here is to receive the best in arts and humanities education in the UK.
The following programmes will be offered with January 2021 start dates:
- MA Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching
- MA Communication Design
- MA Design Management
- MA ELT/TESOL Studies
- MA English Language Teaching TESOL
- MA English Literary Studies
- MA Fashion Design
- MA Fashion Management
- MA Fashion Marketing and Branding
- MA Film and Cultural Management
- MA Film Studies
- MA Fine Art
- MA Global Advertising and Branding
- MA Global Literary Industries Management
- MA Global Media Management
- MA International Music Management
- MA Luxury Brand Management
- MA Textile Design
- MSc Business and Heritage Management