Tertiary governance review cautiously welcomed
The Association of University Staff (AUS) cautiously welcomed the call, made in an independent review of tertiary education governance, for a new framework to achieve good governance practice in universities.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, said that while he supported many of the recommendations of the review it did, however, open the way for a requirement that student and staff representatives blindly support Council decisions once they are made.
“While we agree that all Council members should be seeking the best institutional outcome, there will be genuine differences of view on important issues, and debate on those issues should not necessarily stop once a decision is made,” Dr Rosenberg said. “Such gagging strikes at the very heart of academic freedom.”
The review was undertaken by Professor Meredith Edwards, Director of the Australian National Institute of Governance assisted by a reference group of tertiary education stakeholders.
A key parameter of the review was to guarantee continued stakeholder representation which means ensuring that students and staff remain on Councils. Dr Rosenberg said while it was comforting to note that student and staff representation would remain, it would be a loss if they did not bring to the Councils the views of the groups who elected them, particularly when the Minister has stakeholder representation. Dr Rosenberg was also disappointed that problems concerning the appointment of Council of Trade Unions representatives had not been adequately addressed in the review
Dr Rosenberg said he supported the general thrust of the review, particularly the recommendations for a National Protocol for governance, individual Tertiary Education Institution (TEI) Codes of Conduct, national conferences of TEIs and an Association of Chancellor and Chairs. “It is heartening to see a review stating that governance works best when there is a trust amongst those who need to work together to achieve common strategic objectives for an institution,” he said.
For further information or comment please
Dr Bill Rosenberg
National President, Association of University Staff
Ph (03) 364 2801 (work) (03) 332 8525 (home)
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