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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEThis is the final issue of Tertiary Update for 2002. Publication will resume in February 2003. The AUS national and most branch offices will close for the Christmas break on Friday 20 December and re-open on Monday 13 January. For urgent enquiries over this time please call the National Office (04) 915 6691 as the phone will be cleared on a regular basis.

In our lead story this week . . . . .
PBRF panel nomination deadline extended
Dr Andrew West, Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), has advised that the deadline for nomination for the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) peer review panels has been extended to 31 January 2003, from the earlier date of 3 January.
Eleven multi-disciplinary peer review panels will be established in 2003 to advise the PBRF of the research contribution made by each of New Zealand’s degree-granting institutions as part of the changes to the funding mechanisms for tertiary institutions, arising from the tertiary reforms. It is expected that about 160 people will be appointed to serve on the panels, of which about 25% will be drawn from overseas.
The earlier closure date for nominations has been extended following feedback to TEC that the initial timeline was insufficient to ensure that suitably qualified people have sufficient time over the Christmas break to consider the Working Group report and the role and commitments arising out of panel membership.
Updated information, including nomination forms, can be found at http://www.tec.govt.nz/pbfaq.html
AUS comment on the PBRF can be found on the AUS website following the link to professional issues.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Governance review reference group named
2. Lincoln University Staff Settle Collective Agreements
3. Otago Polytechnic head resigns
4. Brain-drain linked to student debt
5. UK academics get $1.5b pay boost
6. Italian university heads resign en-masse

Governance review reference group named
AUS National President, Dr Grant Duncan, has been named as a member of the reference group for the Government’s review of public tertiary education institutions’ governance. The reference group is made up members nominated after consultation with tertiary sector groups, business and unions. It will provide a New Zealand context for the external reviewer, Professor Meredith Edwards, of Canberra.
The review will look at how modes of governance can be developed that best reflect the character and contribution of tertiary institutions while ensuring that governance and management still conform to best practice.
Other members of the reference group are Chris Kirk-Burnnand (Whitiera Community Polytechnic chair), Jonathan Boston (Victoria University staff member), Dr Graeme Fogelberg (University of Otago VC), Jim Doyle (Executive Director of the Polytechnics’ Association), Forde Clarke (Wellington College of Education chair), Turoa Royal (Te Wananga O Raukawa Council chair), Fleur Fitzsimmons (NZUSA), Jeremy Baker (Business New Zealand), Ian Paterson (nominated by the Council of Trade Unions) and Sarah Jane Tiakiwai (Waikato University staff member).
The reference group will meet at least twice with the reviewer and provide comment on the draft report which is expected to be completed in March 2003.

Lincoln University Staff Settle Collective Agreements
Lincoln University staff settled their academic and general staff collective employment agreements earlier this week. Both groups will receive a 3% salary increase, effective from 1 March 2003 for general staff and 1 April for academic staff. Academic staff will also receive a previously negotiated increase of 2% from 2 January 2003.
Lincoln Branch President, Dr Walt Abell, said that Lincoln staff were relieved to have reached a settlement before the New Year. “Academic and general staff have worked hard together throughout the year to ensure that the salary settlement reached at Lincoln was in-line with other New Zealand universities”, he said.
The University had initially offered 1.5% for academic and 2% for general staff but increased the offers during subsequent negotiations.
In an attempt to rejuvenate stalled negotiations at Canterbury, AUS representatives have written to the University advising that negotiators would recommend settlement on a package based around a 3% increase to salaries and allowances from 1 January 2003. Canterbury staff rejected an earlier offer of a 2% increase to salary rates.

Otago Polytechnic head resigns
The Head of Otago Polytechnic, Wanda Korndorffer, has resigned with immediate effect following an Audit New Zealand investigation into what has been described as a “botched” redevelopment of the polytechnic campus. Dr Korndorffer has been the focus of an Otago Polytechnic Council investigation into the $2.5 million budget blow-out on the re-development, with her resignation coming on the day in which it was expected the council was due to decide matters related to her continued employment. Details of discussions, reported to have taken place between the Polytechnic and her lawyer over the past few weeks, have not been released but it is understood Dr Korndorffer has received a confidential settlement.

Brain-drain linked to student debt
The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is describing news that New Zealand graduates living overseas have much bigger debts than those at home as major evidence linking student loans to a brain drain of our best and brightest. “The $7000 average gap in debt between those who have left and those who have stayed shows that big debts are a factor in driving much needed graduates overseas”, said 2003 NZUSA President Fleur Fitzsimons.
Overseas borrowers owed an average of $19,880 compared to $12,980 for resident borrowers, according to figures released by Statistics New Zealand.
“Successive governments have tried to deny that the loans scheme contributes to workforce shortages,” said Fitzsimons. “This new information from the Data Integration Project shows that government needs to come out of denial and start fixing this major problem.”
“With higher borrowing in post-graduate study, it looks likely that the big debtors leaving New Zealand are the ones most needed to drive the knowledge economy that the government wants us to become”, she said.

Worldwatch
UK academics get $1.5b pay boost
Academics are set for a three-year catch-up pay deal as a result of a £1.5 billion funding boost for universities which will be unveiled in the United Kingdom next month. The cash injection will pave the way for a deal for academics linked to modernising the way they work. It will see the higher education budget rise from £5.3 billion a year to £6.8 billion over the three years of Chancellor Gordon Brown's comprehensive spending review settlement. The deal is separate from any long-term review of student finance. The money was cautiously welcomed by unions representing academics as it is well short of the £10 billion university vice-chancellors say is needed to bring restore satisfactory funding levels.

Italian university heads resign en-masse
The heads of Italy's universities all announced their resignations earlier this week in protest at funding cuts in next year's budget, which they claim threaten the entire future of higher education. The unprecedented move by all 77 university rectors is an embarrassment for the government which is struggling to deliver tax cuts in the face of a declining national economy.
The resignations were announced by the chairman of the association of university heads, Piero Tosi, after a meeting in Rome. He said the universities could not survive for more than two or three years at the current level of funding. "This year we have reached breaking point," Professor Tosi, who is also the head of the University of Siena, said. "We can't draw up a budget that meets our needs and provides services without which the universities have no sense." The budget bill before parliament cuts university funding by more than £120m to a total of £3.8bn.

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AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: http://www.aus.ac.nz. Direct enquires to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: marty.braithwaite@aus.ac.nz


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