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AUS Tertiary Update Vol 3 No 18

AUS website
The AUS gained support from the Palmerston North City Council at a meeting earlier in the week, including a resolve to ‘invite’ the University to delay the ‘repositioning’ until after TEAC’s report.
A delegation of Association of University Staff (AUS) members, led by National President, Neville Blampied, Massey Branch President, Tony Lewis, and a large number of Massey staff attended the Council meeting.
Five resolutions were passed, all indicating concern with the social and economic impact of the ‘repositioning’, and committing the Council to express its concerns directly to Massey University Management and Council.
Speaking to the Council, Neville Blampied said, “Any city or region which wished to prosper in the knowledge society/information economy of the 21st century needs to build deep and wide links with their local university.” He pointed out that both were public institutions, with clear responsibilities to their communities.
After the meeting, Neville Blampied said it was a great opportunity for the two organisations, each with a vital role in their communities, to work together long-term for the good of the city, the region, its economy, university staff and students.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Student Investigates Legal Action Against Massey
2. Banners Overhead!
3. National’s Debt Chickens Continue Coming Home to Roost

A Women’s Studies doctoral student at Massey is investigating legal avenues in response to the proposed disestablishment of the Women’s Studies programme.
Craig Young said he had had no firm word from the administration about how he was supposed to continue his studies.
“They have said we should wait until the repositioning is finalised before they offer alternative study arrangements. I'm sorry but that's not good enough. This university has accepted fees. It has enrolled me as a student and suddenly this happens.”
He said the Women's Studies programme had met with concerned community groups and planned a protest meeting at the end of next month.
The AUS Status of Women Committee has also raised concerns about the Women Studies programme being disestablished.

“VC FOR FIJI is probably the most popular yet,” Dr Graeme Basset says of his banner-flying protest on the overbridge out to Massey.
The popularity of each message, changed morning and night three times a week, is gauged by car toots and gesticulations from commuters.
It’s media studies senior lecturer Graeme Bassett’s way of expressing his feelings that after 30 years of work, including establishing programmes at Albany and Wellington, his job is under threat.
Slogan ideas come from AUS members, with the AUS paying for banner materials.
Dr Bassett says the banners keep the issue in front of people and help marshall support to fight the staff-cutting plans.

“National's student debt mountain is having serious effects on the lives of borrowers, with an unknown impact on New Zealand's future economic and social circumstances,” said Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey upon the release of a recent report.
The new report from the Controller and Auditor-General is heavily critical of the previous Government's failure to investigate the economic and social impact of the student loan scheme.
“What little evidence the Office of the Auditor-General was able to assemble suggested that borrowers are delaying starting families and entering relationships, taking on mortgages and saving for their retirement, and increasing their fees for the professional services they now provide,” said Mr Maharey.
He says the Education and Science Select Committee will run an inquiry this year into the effects of the loan scheme.


A dramatic decline in job satisfaction among academics in the past five years and a surge in competing demands on their time have sparked calls for a reassessment of academic work roles.
A new national study shows overall job satisfaction has plummeted from 67 to 51 percent in what has been a turbulent period for Australian universities.
The level of work-induced stress has risen, along with the proportion of academics who think young people should not pursue an academic career.
Forty percent of academics are working more than 50 hours a week, spending less time on teaching and more on administrative work, which takes up the equivalent of one working day a week.
But despite those gloomy indicators, the proportion of academics looking for a change of job has remained stable during the five-year period. Their level of commitment also remains high: 75 percent are more motivated by intrinsic interests in their work than by material rewards.
The report’s findings were based on a 1999 survey of 2609 academics from 15 universities across five states. The survey replicated one held five years ago and received an unusually high response rate of 58.4 percent.
One of the most significant changes in the past five years has been a 7 percent increase in the proportion of academics indicating a much stronger career interest in research than in teaching.
Most still see research as dominating the promotion and reward system and want teaching given equal status.
The full text of The Work Roles of Academics in Australian Universities is available at the following web address:

A group of young expatriate New Zealand graduate students and researchers who commented on some key problem areas in tertiary education during last year’s election campaign have made a submission to the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission. The group is currently planning to conduct a survey of ex-pat New Zealanders in order to get more data on the brain drain.
The submission can be downloaded at
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:

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