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Lincoln Chancellor Calls For Funding Certainty

Lincoln Chancellor Calls For Funding Certainty From Government - Graduation Address

The time has come for the Government to give certainty to the tertiary education sector about the “quantum of funding” it is to receive and that the funding formula developed by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission will be implemented, said Lincoln University Chancellor Margaret Austin in her capping address in Christchurch Town Hall today. (12 April)

“Only when we have those certainties can we plan for the future,” she told the 500 assembled graduands, their families and friends.

Lincoln, like other tertiary institutions in New Zealand, had a “social contract” with New Zealanders and its students, said Mrs Austin, and it took that contract very seriously.

“We do not have a problem with Government setting the parameters on behalf of the people in our open participatory democracy and Lincoln does not see this as a threat to either its autonomy or its academic freedom.

“We know we are charged with contributing to the knowledge economy, of engaging in knowledge transfer and strengthening New Zealand’s position as a good global citizen.

“The Minister for Tertiary Education has charged New Zealand to become a nation of innovators, risk takers, savers and investors, marketers as well as traders.

“Lincoln graduates will respond positively to that challenge as they contribute to New Zealand’s biologically based economy, applying new technologies including genetic technologies.”

Mrs Austin said that only with certainty over funding - both the amount and the formula - could Lincoln look ahead to securing its “enviable place” as a leading educational institution.

Pleading poverty was not going to persuade Ministers or Parliament, she said.

“Our argument must be based on what we offer, quality assurance, how we would improve quality with greater support and how we would add value to New Zealand’s economic and social goals.

“The three great concerns for us are institutional funding, student finance and academic pay. We will collaborate with other institutions but only if our ability to respond is not constrained.

“Lincoln has a proud tradition of innovation which we are determined to preserve.”

Five hundred degrees, diplomas and graduate certificates were awarded in person at the ceremony and 150 in absentia. Honorary doctorates were conferred on agricultural leader Sir Peter Elworthy and landscape architecture pioneer Charlie Challenger. Meat New Zealand Chief Executive Neil Taylor received the University’s Bledisloe Medal.


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