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AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 5 No. 34, 19 September

In our lead story this week…..
Staff at the University of Otago are to meet this week to consider a new salary offer from their employer of 3%, up from an original 1.5% over a 12-month period. Changes to conditions included in the new offer will also be discussed. Combined Unions' spokesperson Dr Shef Rogers says the increased offer and the removal of some employment claims was sufficient to warrant taking the offer back to members for consideration. Dr Rogers says industrial action affecting the setting of exams will continue until members vote to end it.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. NZ Govt & VUW partners in ANZ School of Government
2. Signing on the dotted line
3. New Pro Vice-Chancellor for Victoria
4. ATSA survey 'women and student debt'
5. UNSW pay offer proves controversial
6. TUC signals opposition to GATS
7. Retired academics targeted to fill Commonwealth vacancies
8. Review of 9/11 impact on academic freedom
9. UCLA entry tougher for foreigners

The Prime Minister, Helen Clark has announced that the New Zealand government will be a partner with Victoria University in a new Australian and New Zealand School of Government. Also involved are the state governments of Victoria and Queensland, the Commonwealth of Australia government and the universities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. The new school will offer masters degrees in public administration as well as executive development courses. A small full-time teaching faculty will be based at Melbourne, with other teaching done by faculty at the other partner universities.

Palmerston North-based tertiary institution UCOL has signed a community charter to provide tertiary education and training in Wanganui. The signing follows the merger at the end of last year of the Wanganui Polytech with UCOL. And the New Zealand International Campus has signed a lease formalising its tenancy of the former Central Institute of Technology campus at Heretaunga in Upper Hutt. The campus became vacant when CIT merged with Hutt Valley Polytechnic to form the Wellington Institute of Technology. Other international education providers are also expected to set up bases at the Heretaunga campus.

Professor Pat Walsh has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University. He replaces Professor Neil Quigly, who competes his term in the position at the end of this year. The Pro Vice-Chancellor is a member of the university's senior management team with responsibility for the schools of accounting and commercial law, economics and finance, information management, marketing and international business, and the Victoria Management School.

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) has surveyed 338 women as part of a study of the impact on women of student debt. ATSA president Julie Pettett says the organisation decided to do the survey because the majority of tertiary students at all levels except doctorates are women. "The focus of the research has been on the lived experiences of women and how they perceive the benefits and deficits which have flowed from their student loan debts after they have completed study,” she says. ATSA will release the findings to government next week.


An offer by the University of New South Wales of a total 12% pay rise over three years for academic and general staff and a AUS$3000 a year living allowance for academics has upset both general and academic staff unions. The union representing general staff has rejected the offer because of the extra loading for academic staff. The academic staff union is unhappy with parts of the offer that broaden the categories of staff that could be employed on contract and casual basis. President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Carolyn Allport saying more flexibility in hiring casuals will have disturbing implications for entry jobs and the career paths for young academics. The level of the pay offer is expected to have a flow-on effect on the coming round of enterprise bargaining and could add AUS$500m. to university staff costs by late 2005.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers wants the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to persuade the British Government to stop supporting the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The Association says the GATS erodes the working conditions of public sector employees and is also "a challenge to democratic policy."

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is setting up a database of retired academics from around the world who are willing to take up short-term contracts at universities in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The scheme – known as the Retired Academics Database or RAD – is prompted by shortages in key areas such as business and accounting, mathematics, computing, medicine and the sciences. ACU envisages putting the retired academics into vacant posts for between two months and two years, allowing the universities time to find a permanent person. For more information, visit the RAD website at

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has set up a committee to review academic freedom in the wake of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, saying it is concerned at an array of recent events suggesting limits may be being set. The review will include responses by academic leaders and politicians to controversial speech and teaching, restrictions proposed by the federal government on university research that is considered sensitive but not classified, and restrictions on foreign scholars and students.

The University of California, Los Angeles says it will scrutinise foreign applications to its biomedical and life-science programme after some Chinese students submitted fraudulent application documents. In future, no foreign students will be accepted until faculty members have independently verified the accuracy of documents. The programme will also only accept students from top institutions in China - Fudan, Tsinghua and Beijing universities - and will require documentation to be sent directly from the universities, rather than from the students themselves. "The message we're sending out is that if you're on our short list, and you're sending a fraudulent transcript, you'll be found out," a UCLA spokesperson said. The university had initially threatened to suspend all admissions of Chinese students, but later softened its stance. After some admissions officials and students complained that Chinese students were being unfairly singled out it was decided to expand the verification rules to include all foreign students. However, officials said the initial efforts would focus on applicants from China.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website:

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