University College London is set to merge with the Institute of Education, University of London, Times Higher Education has revealed.
Staff at the IoE were informed of the plans by its director Chris Husbands at a faculty briefing on 5 February.
The link-up is believed to have been approved by the IoE’s council on 4 February, with UCL likely to rubber-stamp the deal at its council meeting on February 11, THE understands.
According to one person who attended today’s meeting, Professor Husbands told staff that the merger was “everything but a done deal”.
“There were a lot of questions about the loss of our degree-awarding powers and surrendering our university charter,” said the source. “People are also worried that we will be asset-stripped and we’ve only had very weak reassurances about whether jobs will be protected.”
The proposed merger, which would mean the IoE becoming UCL’s largest faculty, follows the start of a strategic partnership between the two universities in October 2012, which involved the merging of administrative and professional services as well as research collaboration.
An IoE spokeswoman told THE that “the IOE and UCL have been reviewing progress on their strategic partnership”. “The findings of this review are being presented to the next meetings of the IOE and UCL councils over the next week,” she added.
UCL confirmed that a decision on the partnership is due to be made by its council on 11 February.
News of a potential merger with the IoE, which has around 7,000 students – mainly postgraduate, follows UCL joining with the School of Pharmacy in January 2012.
It is believed the IoE merger would enable the small institution to grow thanks to economies of scale with UCL, while its research focus is a good match for its larger neighbour.
Commenting on the two institutions’ strategic partnership in 2012, Professor Husbands said the “potential synergy between our two institutions is enormous”.
“Our geographical proximity, complementary missions and range of intellectual and academic resources offer rich opportunities for collaboration,” he added.
Reporting done by Jack Grove