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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEHood appointed to head Oxford University
Current University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Hood, has been appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of England’s Oxford University. He is the first person in the 900 year history of the University to have been selected from outside the institution and will take up his appointment on 1 October 2004. The initial period of appointment is five years with the possibility of renewal for a further two years.
Dr Hood will remain in his current position until “close to that time”, and in the interim the University’s Council will undergo a process to appoint a successor.
Dr Hood’s appointment was approved by the University of Oxford Congregation, a committee of around 3,000 academic, senior research, library, and administrative staff which has the final say on all legislative decisions at the University.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Fee and course costs maxima – the debate continues
2. Course support for aviation students
3. Otago student numbers to be restricted?
4. Teaching awards on Monday
5. AUS leader on pay equity taskforce
6. AUS Council supports Iraq children
7. Australian government misrepresents funding gain

Fee and course costs maxima – the debate continues
The government has received a steady stream of submissions following the announcement of proposed fee and course-cost maxima in the May Budget. Indicative schedules of the maximum fees that can be charged from 2004 until 2006 have prompted fifty five submissions from all areas of the sector. They will be analysed and considered as part of the process of finalising the fees and course-cost maxima, due to be completed by the end of July.
Associate Education Minister, Steve Maharey, said that the Tertiary Education Reform Act which Parliament passed in December 2002 required the indicative fee and courses-cost maxima to be gazetted so that comment from interested parties could be received prior to them being finalised.
“The government has a statutory period, through to July 22, to consider the submissions on the proposed schedule. I will finalise the fee and course-costs maxima after that,” Mr Maharey said.
Education Review reports that the New Zealand Vice Chancellor’s Committee (NZVCC) is saying that university leaders are concerned that increases to the fee maxima beyond 2004 will be restricted to the level of inflation. NZVCC has questioned whether the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the right measure for controlling the level of increase, saying that some course costs could easily rise at a greater rate that the CPI. It has also asked government whether it would allow increases which are higher than the level of inflation in order to improve the quality of tertiary education.
NZVCC Director Lindsay Tairoa drew specific attention to the pay aspirations of staff and questioned whether they would be happy with pay rises limited to the rate of inflation.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, reinforced this view, saying that staff would need to gain salary increases at rates considerably higher than the rate of inflation over the next few years to regain ground lost over the last decade.
The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) has argued that the fee maxima will result in considerably higher fees for students. NZUSA Co-President, Roz Connelly, said she was not optimistic that government would listen sufficiently to student concerns and predicted that it would now be politically difficult for it to go back on the proposal. She said there was no justification for the introduction of new maxima bands for commerce and law as they were no more expensive to teach than other humanities subjects.

Course support for aviation students
Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) officials met with sector representatives involved with aviation training in Wellington last week for consultation around the government’s decision to provide funding for a limited number of aviation students with their in-flight training costs. The government proposes to spend $0.477 million in 2003/4 and $0.957 in each of the two subsequent years to support this initiative.
Aviation training programmes have experienced significant growth in the last decade, increasing from around 200 EFTS in the early 1990’s to 850 last year. As reported in Tertiary Update last week, aviation course costs are high and there is already concern that some programmes may be at risk with the implementation of fee maxima.
The TEC is preparing a paper for the Associate Minister of Education, Steve Maharey, looking at the broader issues of aviation training. It will include details on current provision and costs, industry needs, graduate employment, capacity, and the impact of such factors as SARS and terrorism on the growth of aviation.

Otago student numbers to be restricted?
The Otago branch of the AUS has given qualified support to suggestions by the Vice-Chancellor Dr. Graeme Fogelberg that Otago University needs to consider restricting student numbers, but it warns that this must not be at the expense of poor students. The University’s roll has grown by more than 1,000 equivalent full-time students this year, to 15,787, leading to Dr Fogelberg’s statement that numbers may need to be restricted to ease pressures on the university’s infrastructure and to ensure academic excellence. The Otago Daily Times reports the Vice-Chancellor saying that if Otago is to stand equal to the best in the world, the University needs to “set certain standards of academic excellence”.
AUS Branch President, Mark Peters, said that the rapidly increasing role had created heavier workloads and put greater pressure on student resources. He said any system of restricting student growth needs to be fair and equitable, but equally could not disadvantage students on academic grounds either.

Teaching awards on Monday
This year’s annual tertiary teaching awards will be presented at an awards dinner hosted by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, at Parliament on Monday night. The awards aim to recognise and encourage excellence in tertiary teaching and provide an opportunity for teachers to further their careers and share good practice with others. The purpose of the awards is to recognise and encourage excellence in tertiary teaching, encourage and promote good practice, and enhance career development for teachers by valuing and rewarding excellent teaching practice.
Awards for excellence are considered in three categories. There are up to 9 awards of $20,000 each and a supreme award, the Prime Minister’s Award, of $30,000. The selection process is undertaken by a Tertiary Teaching Awards Committee and is supported by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

AUS leader on pay equity taskforce
AUS General Secretary, Helen Kelly, has been elected as the education sector representative for the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions to the Government’s Pay Equity Taskforce. The Taskforce will advise the government on how the factors that contribute to the gender pay gap apply in particular parts of the public service and public health and education sectors, and on a five year plan of action to address pay and employment equity. The Taskforce is required to report to a Ministerial Reference Group by 1 December 2003.
Ms Kelly has also been appointed to the NZCTU Appointments Committee whose job it is to oversee appointments to tertiary institution councils.

AUS Council supports Iraq children
AUS has supported a request from Education International, the international education union federation to which AUS is affiliated, to contribute to an appeal for children in Iraq. $500 has been authorised for donation by the AUS Council and another $500 by two branches.
Care is being taken to ensure the money will be used in a legitimate way and will be channelled through reliable independent agencies to ensure the money goes directly to intended recipients.

Australian Government misrepresents funding gain
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has accused the Australian Government of substantially misrepresenting the funding gain to universities from its higher education reform package announced recently in the Australian Budget. It says that only $753 of the $1.46 billion announced in the Budget is genuinely new money.
NTEU President, Dr Carolyn Allport, says changes to the system of funding student places will see Canberra “claw back” $584 million, much of which will be returned to universities s conditional funding. She said the government had also failed to acknowledge that it will save $128 million on payments for over-enrolments which are being phased out by 2005.
Dr Allport said that the Federal Government is proposing to allow universities to increase the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), student fees, up by 30%

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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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