Dear Professor Juster,

We are writing on behalf of the British Sociological Association, to express our very deep concern about the proposed redundancies that affect sociologists within the School of Social and Political Sciences. We understand the financial difficulties that many universities are facing in the context of inflation, fixed tuition fees for Home students, and the differential effect of the removal of the cap on student numbers. However, we believe that the University of Lincoln’s reaction to reduce Sociology staff, especially most of their senior staff, with limited planning for their impact upon specific research and teaching programmes, will be highly detrimental for the university and local community.

We are in no doubt that this move will have profoundly negative consequences for sociological education and research at the University of Lincoln. Sociologists within the School of Social and Political Sciences are highly regarded subject specialists and contribute significantly to the research culture of Sociology both nationally and internationally.

Their contribution emerges from a mutually supportive ecosystem that has led to the School attracting substantial UKRI funding, leading to the creation of The Centre for Innovation in Fatherhood and Family Research and the editorship of an internationally rated and ranked journal: Sociological Research Online. The journal plays a crucial role in the dissemination of social research that informs the discipline of sociology as well as the wider public and practice and policy communities. We also recognize that interdisciplinarity provides an important and defining element of the School with Sociologists heavily involved in interdisciplinary research contributing to The Politics of (Dis)order, and Violence in Society research groups.

Any loss of staff within the Sociology section would therefore undermine those achievements with all the consequences that may entail for REF, future research, and teaching at the University of Lincoln, in addition to the University’s stated aim of contributing to the United Nations Sustainability Goals and interdisciplinary research and teaching. It is especially noteworthy that in REF2021, submissions from the Sociology team to UoA 20 (Social Policy), placed the University of Lincoln third in the UK for the ratio of four-star outputs out of 76 institutions submitting in this Unit of Assessment. The ability to achieve such an outstanding achievement will be put under significant threat in the next REF.

Sociology as a discipline is an essential part of any vibrant University portfolio of teaching and research. It plays a vital role in the formation of, for example, policy at local and national levels. It also equips students with the flexible, creative and analytical skills necessary for employment in the workplace of today and the future. Losing key staff who provide those skills would therefore affect student employability in the medium and long term.

On behalf of the British Sociological Association, we ask you to reconsider this deeply damaging decision and to urgently examine how to protect and promote the valuable contribution made by Sociologists and colleagues across University of Lincoln, to students and the wider communities that benefit from their teaching expertise and research excellence. We urge you to consider alternative ways of addressing the financial constraints that you face.

Professor Rachel Brooks
President of the British Sociological Association

Professor Chris Yuill
Chair of the British Sociological Association

Letter sent via email to:

Professor Neal Juster, Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln


Professor Gary Rawnsley, Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences
Professor Abigail Woods, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Rachel Chrispin, Senior Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor