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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE. University of Surrey Roehampton is a separately funded HEI within the Federal University of Surrey. This title dates from 1 January 2000, but under its previous title of Roehampton Institute London it had gained research degree awarding powers in 1998, and entered the RAEs of 1992 and 1996. The institutional structure of the new USR ensures that research activity is both encouraged and monitored, while leaving considerable autonomy to academic units. A simple structure of research committees at University and School levels determines policy and allocations. The Senior Pro-Rector chairs the Research Committee, and there is a central Research Office, which supports, administers and monitors research income and research student registration and progress. The Learning Resources Centre includes as part of its current university-wide provision dedicated work-space with computers for research students, and the university’s Estates Development Project includes a purpose-built Graduate Centre within 5 years. While 20% of HEFCE research income contributes to the wider research infrastructure and to matched funding for external grants, the remaining 80% is devolved to the appropriate Faculties, to be spent on specialist research activity and infrastructure where it has been earned against the Faculties’ strategic plans for research.

The Spanish Unit was established in 1991 with one member of staff, and has gradually built up to 3 full time members. It is a small but active team with potential for expansion. It was a considerable achievement for the Spanish Unit to enter the RAE for the first time in 1996, as part of the submission made to the French Unit of Assessment. The achievement of a 3a on that occasion was a very creditable success, especially at a time of major changes of staffing during the preceding year. Following reorganisation of the university’s internal structures in September 2000, Spanish now forms part of the School of English and Modern Languages, within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The growing achievements of the Spanish Unit justify a separate submission (with a 100% return). As well as being represented on the School Research Subcommittee, Spanish holds regular Research Meetings, in which individual and collaborative projects are discussed, and the Unit’s research funds are allocated strategically.

The RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT of the Spanish Unit is naturally partly dependent on USR’s wider research structures. All three members of the Spanish Unit are actively engaged in research, and are benefiting from and contributing to the research ethos of USR. Spanish continues to collaborate closely with French through the ‘Centre for Research in Modern French and Spanish Studies’ created in 1994. This provides an overall framework of interdisciplinary and internationally collaborative research that has proved increasingly successful in attracting external funding. The Centre hosts approximately six meetings of the ‘Modern Languages Research Seminar’ and two Study-Days or Colloquia per year, where members of staff, research students and academic visitors present and discuss issues directly related to their areas of expertise. Integration in the School of English and Modern Languages is already resulting in new collaboration with the English sections of the School (e.g. a joint day on English, French and Spanish postcolonial studies is scheduled for May 2001). Beyond the School, Spanish also forms an integral part of a variety of cross-disciplinary, cross-Faculty research groups.

CURRENT RESEARCH PROFILE. The two members of staff entered in the 1996 RAE, Melcion and Díaz-Cintas, have successfully completed their postgraduate degrees, while carrying out their research output in various other ways. The addition of Dr Isabel Santaolalla to the Unit in February 1998 contributed to the enhancement of its research profile, both through her publication record and through her involvement in international conferences and collaborative research projects. Until recently, the size of the Spanish Unit and the junior nature of most of its members had made the provision of a postgraduate programme of studies impossible. This situation has significantly changed: the Spanish Unit is now in a position to offer teaching and supervision at all postgraduate levels, and has recently recruited two research students, who together with an Associate Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Dr J. Figuerola, U. Autónoma de Barcelona) contribute to the Unit’s research profile.

Research currently focuses on two areas of expertise:

a) Applied linguistics, especially lexicography (Melcion) & screen translation (Díaz-Cintas).
b) Cultural and textual studies, more specifically contemporary Spanish cinema (Díaz-Cintas and Santaolalla) and history (Melcion), ethnicity and gender in the Hispanic and English-speaking worlds and postcolonial critical practice (Santaolalla).

· Items listed in RA2 form represent only a sample of the staff’s research output in the last six years. Beyond these, their completed work includes: a) one single-authored book (Díaz-Cintas); b) five further dictionaries and glossaries (Melcion and Diaz-Cintas), c) fourteen chapters in books (e.g. Díaz-Cintas’ contributions to El contacto lingüístico en el desarrollo de las lenguas occidentales [Aleza, ed, 1999] or Santaolalla’s chapters in Nationalism vs. Internationalism [Zach & Goodwin, ed, 1994, Stauffenburg Verlag] and Terms of Endearment: Hollywood Romantic Comedies of the 1980s and 1990s [Deleyto and Evans, eds, 1998, Edinburgh U.P.], among others; d) six articles in academic journals (e.g. Díaz-Cintas’ 'El subtitulado de Hamlet al castellano' [Sendebar, 1995] or Santaolalla’s 'Bodyscapes of Silence: the Figure of the Mute Woman in the Cinema' [Journal of Gender Studies, 1998] and 'East is East and West is West? Otherness in Capra's The Bitter Tea of General Yen' [Literature/Film Quarterly, 1998]; e) five articles in conference proceedings (Díaz-Cintas [2], Melcion [2], and Santaolalla [1]); f) one book translation (Santaolalla); g) contributions to encyclopaedia (Santaolalla’s nine entries in Encyclopaedia of European Cinema [Vincendeau, ed, 1995]); h) book reviews [2]; i) web site page (Díaz-Cintas, for the British Centre for Literary Translation).

· In addition to invitations to give lectures/papers (see RA6), staff have actively participated in academic events delivering papers (36), chairing panels (11) and attending conferences (27) in UK and Spain, as well as in Ireland, Jordan, Germany and Ecuador (Díaz-Cintas); Portugal (Melcion); and France, Austria, Italy, Jamaica, Argentina, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia (Santaolalla).

· All three members of staff have firm ongoing links with scholars and departments in over fifteen institutions, including Birkbeck College London, Nottingham U., the Institut Supérieur de Traducteurs et Interprètes in Brussels, U. Autònoma de Barcelona, U. de Valencia, U. de Zaragoza, U. of Canberra, U. Federal de Minas Gerais, and Fundaçao Getulio Vargas.

· The Spanish team’s eagerness to network and foster collaborative research is also reflected in the fact that all three members of staff have been involved in organising conferences and colloquia both within and outside USR. Santaolalla has (co)organised six academic gatherings during the census period, among them the 'Changing Frontiers: Latin America and Europe I' (Saõ Paulo, Brazil, July 2000) and, with Díaz-Cintas and colleagues at Queen Mary U. of London, 'Buñuel 2000' (IRS, London, September 2000), an international conference attended by some of Buñuel’s collaborators and over one hundred scholars from all over the world, which attracted over £14,000 funding from private as well as official bodies. Melcion collaborated in the latter, and acted as programme organiser for the annual ACIS Conference (Northumbria U., September 2000).

CURRENT MECHANISMS FOR PROMOTING RESEARCH in Spanish include:

· The provision of a weekly research day for every member of staff.

· A system of rotating sabbatical leave. Díaz-Cintas (Spring semester 2000), Santaolalla (Autumn 2001-02, plus Spring funded by the AHRB), and Melcion (Autumn and Spring 2002-03).

· A long-term—but annually-revised—strategy for the allocation of the unit’s research funds: the major part of the HEFCE research funding has been used for funding research appointments, graduate bursaries and established research projects. Instances of these arrangements include: a) the creation in Sept 1999 of a post of Associate Postdoctoral Research Fellow; b) the subsidising in part of two PhD students, one awarded a three-year £4,000+ p.a. bursary from competitive institutional funds, and the other a fee-waiver in exchange for limited support for the academic activities of the unit (free research skills courses at USR and the IRS are available to them); c) funding of the activities hosted by the 'Centre for Research in Modern French and Spanish Studies'; d) institutional membership of professional bodies like Canning House, Instituto Cervantes and Institute of Romance Studies for staff and students (in addition to these, staff are members of over fifteen other professional associations).

· The allocation of smaller sums to specific on-going research projects—research-related travel (for both staff and research students), conference organisation, publishing projects, joint research projects.

STAFFING POLICY. The University operates a School-based annual staff review and an appraisal scheme in which individual members’ research plans are scrutinised. The School Research Committee has introduced a new research-mentoring scheme for new junior members of staff. Research is one of the key performance criteria in all appointments and promotions. USR has recently recognised the work of the three members of staff by promoting them to higher posts: Melcion was promoted to Principal Lecturer in January 1998, and Díaz-Cintas and Santaolalla to Senior Lecturer in September 1998, their fixed-term contracts replaced by permanent ones. The continuing rise in recruitment for the Spanish Programme at USR over the last few years is undoubtedly partly a reflection of the Unit’s growing reputation. This has meant, however, that the teaching and administrative loads have increased in the last three years, while the number of full-time staff has remained unchanged. Permanent staff have been supported, nevertheless, by a number of Visiting Lecturers who, as well as teaching on the Spanish BA programme, have been involved in its research culture. The Unit hopes to expand, by attracting academics at the early stage of their career.


Users of this website should note that the information is not intended to be a complete record of all research centres in the UK

Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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