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AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.10

AUS website
MINISTER TO ADDRESS MASSEY STAFF AND STUDENTS TODAY
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey will speak at Massey University at lunchtime today about the Government's plans for tertiary education.
The invitation from the Association of University Staff (AUS) comes in the wake of Massey representatives’ meeting last week with the Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard.
Massey staff and students are particularly interested to know how Massey fits into the wider tertiary vision in light of recent comments made by Steve Maharey, speaking as the local MP.
“The restructuring presently underway risks an erosion of capacity. The Palmerston North campus is perfectly situated to take the lead in meeting the tertiary education needs for 550,000 people in the central North Island.”
Following last week’s meeting with Trevor Mallard, AUS Acting National President, Professor Jane Kelsey, sent a letter to the Minister calling for a halt to any further tertiary changes until the initial recommendations of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission have been made.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. TEAC Begins Work
2. Victoria Alumni Seminar Begins
3. Radical Conservative Conversion
4. New Staff in AUS National Office

TEAC BEGINS WORK
The Tertiary Education Advisory Commission meets for the first time on 1 May. Its task is to advise the Government on how it can ensure tertiary education provision meets New Zealanders' needs in the knowledge society.
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary), Steve Maharey said he was pleased the Government had been able to bring together such a strong Commission with considerable expertise and knowledge of the tertiary education environment.
"(This) first Commission meeting signals the start of a new focus on a quality, accessible tertiary education system. Last year we said we would commit this Government to reinvesting in excellence and focusing on our ability to build the skills of New Zealanders.”

VICTORIA ALUMNI SEMINAR BEGINS
A seminar entitled “What does New Zealand want from its universities in the new millennium?” organised by Victoria alumni, begins today. An address by Associate Tertiary Education Minister, Steve Maharey, kicks it off and Saturday will see addresses from the research, business and Maori communities. A feature of the seminar will be an interactive teleconference with a number of expatriate New Zealanders who are working as academics or scientists overseas.

RADICAL CONSERVATIVE CONVERSION ON THE ROAD TO WONDERLAND
Alliance education spokesperson Liz Gordon said this week it was like falling down a rabbit hole to Wonderland to hear Wyatt Creech say that National might support universal student allowances.
“When Mr Creech was Minister of Education he positively sneered at any suggestion that a universal student allowance would be either fair or affordable,” Dr Gordon said. “Now that he is in opposition he appears to have changed his mind.”
Dr Gordon said the Alliance had for years been a lonely advocate for universal allowances based on the principles of natural justice: that one group should not be treated differently to another because of its status.
Liz Gordon, who chairs the Education and Science Select Committee, says she will welcome a submission from Mr Creech to the committee's inquiry into fees, loans and allowances which is taking place in the second half of this year.

NEW STAFF IN AUS NATIONAL OFFICE
Huhana Naomi Miller has been appointed to the newly created part-time position of Te Awhina Arahi and will facilitate the work of Te Kahurangi Whaiti for the remainder of this calendar year. Part of Naomi’s role will be to identify the servicing needs for Te Kahurangi Whaiti’s operations so we can explore a possible job-sharing arrangement with ASTE from the beginning of 2001.

Monica Zhou has commenced as Administrative Assistant/PA replacing Jan O’Neil. Monica comes to AUS from a similar position with the Red Cross.

WORLD WATCH

 NEW AGENCY TO ASSESS AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
Agreement has been reached to establish Australia’s first agency to determine the quality of higher-education institutions. The new Australian Universities Quality Agency, to be in operation by August, will start auditing institutions next March. At a time when Australian universities are facing intense competition from those in other countries, the agency is intended to establish a national system for assuring colleges' quality.

 ACADEMIC FREEDOM PROTEST IN VERMONT
Professors from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and other states will converge today on Bennington, Vermont, to protest faculty firings and curbs on academic freedom at Bennington College. The American Association of University Professors will sponsor the event.
“This event will call national attention to the collapse of basic academic values that occurs when faculty voices are silenced,” says Mary Burgan, general secretary of the association.
Mary Burgan comments that in the six years since tenure was abolished “the college has experienced not only a continuing onslaught against the faculty, but also a disregard for the faculty's role in academic decision making, increasingly centralised control of the campus, and an atmosphere that stifles constructive criticism.”

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AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Fridays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: . Direct enquiries to Rob Crozier, AUS executive director. Email: rob.crozier@aus.ac.nz.

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