After the loss of their lecture hall in 2020, the Land Economy Department failed to find alternative lecture spaceVarsity

Land Economy students are “disappointed and disheartened” at the news that a failure to find lecture space has forced the Department to commit to online learning for the first four weeks of Michaelmas term.

Though not the only department to carry out lectures online, Land Economy students are particularly frustrated because their cohort is small, meaning that in-person lectures could go ahead safely.

However, following the loss of their lecture hall, acquired by Pembroke College in February 2020, the Land Economy faculty has struggled to find alternative lecture space that is large enough to accommodate the cohort and is Covid-safe.

In an email sent to students (sent 20/9), Director of Teaching Martin Dixon said that “the Department has decided that for at least the first four weeks of MT, all Department teaching will be online.” The decision, he said, was “driven by practicalities” and a “reflection of the space we have been given.”

Dixon said that because the “Department currently has no lecturing spaces,” they were reliant on space allocated by the University. However, since none of these met the “applicable standards for lowering the risk of Covid-19 transmission,” the Department was forced to put learning online.

Dixon added that a review will take place on 4th October, as “we want to return to in person teaching across the Department as soon as practically possible.”

But students remain skeptical. An anonymous student told Varsity that she was “disappointed” that the department had “failed to secure contingency plans” for in-person teaching. She said it made “our students feel under-prioritised by the University,” given that “other subjects with a similar cohort size (History and Politics)” are receiving in-person lectures.

Though the Department will conduct a review on the 4th of October, she said “we do not believe the situation will change for the better.”

According to Dixon, supervisions would be left to the discretion of individual colleges. However, due to the small cohort size, students book supervision slots together meaning that “supervisions are not a college, but a department matter.” To the anonymous student, “it feels like they are creating a myriad of excuses just to put the absolute minimum effort into teaching.”


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An anonymous student told Varsity that the decision “takes away from the cambridge experience” because “a huge part of learning should be about collaboration and interaction.”

The Land Economy announcement comes amidst several other departments announcing their plans for teaching this term. For example, while the Law, Mathematics, History, Geography, Architecture and Natural Sciences departments have committed to in-person lectures for most modules, lectures for Medicine, Engineering and Economics will stay online.

Varsity has contacted the University and Land Economy Department for comment.