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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEMinister outlines charter expectations
Associate Education Minister, Steve Maharey, has told tertiary education organisations (TEOs) that the government expects them to set out their special character and mission in charters currently being written. The Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act introduces a system of charters and profiles for all TEOs, and they have until 30 September 2003 to submit draft charters to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Each organisation must then have its charter approved by the Associate Minister by the end of the year in order to receive public finding from 1 January 2004.
Steve Maharey described the process of drawing up charters as one of the most important tasks in the tertiary education reforms. “Charters, along with profiles, are the tools that will bring the Tertiary Education Strategy alive, and bring about much needed change in the tertiary education system,” he said.
Mr. Maharey described the charters as the fundamental documents for TEOs and said they will take time and involve consultation to get them right. “They are the only documents that directly connect me, as responsible Minister, with individual TEOs. I want to be sure they make a genuine contribution to building quality and a more stakeholder-focused tertiary education system, able to meet New Zealand’s knowledge and research needs,” he said.
Charters will require an outline of the mission and special character of TEOs; a description of how they will make a contribution to New Zealand’s identity and economic, social and cultural development; and identify how individual TEOs intend collaborating and cooperating with other TEOs.
While agreeing with the thrust of the reforms, concern has been raised by the AUS and other tertiary organisations about the expanded assessment criteria for charters. It had been earlier understood that they would be brief documents setting out the broad goals and strategies of an organization while profiles would provide the detail against which each organisation would be measured. AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, said that the revised assessment criteria will give little time for tertiary organisations to complete draft charters, particularly if they were to consult properly with staff in the process.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. TEC to review Auckland’s tertiary education needs
2. PBRF commitment demanding
3. Big shake-up predicted at Oxford
4. Universities fail to make pay offer
5. Education companies move on American market

TEC to review Auckland’s tertiary education needs
Following reports of prospective mergers and strategic alignments between competing tertiary education providers in the Auckland region, the Tertiary Education Commission has decided to review tertiary education provision there. It aims to provide a report by the end of the year so that the region’s institutions can have better information around which to develop charters and profiles for 2005.
Education Review reports TEC manager of tertiary collaboration, Max Kerr, saying the review would provide an understanding of tertiary education needs in Auckland for the next ten years. He said that one third of New Zealand’s tertiary education spending and provision was concentrated in Auckland and a consideration in the decision to conduct a review was the complexity of Auckland’s needs due to the high numbers of young people, Maori and Pacific peoples, and migrants. Mr. Kerr said that TEC planned to consult with Auckland tertiary institutions as part of the review, but as yet there was no timetable. A starting point would be the work of the Auckland Regional Development Strategy.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, welcomed the review saying there had been a number of media reports this year giving rise to speculation about potential mergers and the development of new campuses in the region. “Waikato University’s recent announcement that it was the preferred provider for a new university campus in Manukau was a case in point”, he said. “After intervention by TEC the process was slowed down and the Manukau City Council is now assessing the education needs for the city and examining the impact on other providers before making a final decision.”

PBRF commitment demanding
The steady stream of TEC draft consultation papers on the PBRF implementation process is finally coming to an end. The regular release of the papers for comment, which began early this year, has required a significant time commitment on the part of AUS National Office and the AUS Professional and Education Policy Committee - with over 20 papers being circulated for response from sector groups. Meanwhile, the implementation process is far from over for university staff, with institutional deadlines for individual evidence portfolios due and processes for their assessment underway. Reports are that the PBRF process has had a major impact on staff workloads - at a particularly busy time in the university calendar - and will be reported on more fully in the next issue of the AUS Bulletin.
AUS submissions on the various aspects arising from the implementation of the PBRF can be found on the AUS website, following the “professional” link.

Big shake-up predicted at Oxford
Oxford University could shed its Brideshead Revisited image and become more like Ivy League universities with a major review of its size and shape, and the appointment of an entrepreneurial vice-chancellor from New Zealand, according to the Times Higher Educational Supplement.
THES reports that new vice-chancellor, Dr John Hood, campaigned for higher fees in New Zealand and has long argued that universities must better exploit intellectual property. His appointment comes at a time when Oxford is contemplating cutting undergraduate numbers in favour of postgraduates. Reform of the collegiate structure and a centralized administrative system are also on the cards. An increase in graduate numbers would bring Oxford more in line with US Ivy League universities which are dominated by postgraduates, led by faculty rather than colleges, and aimed at being better able to compete for research funding.

Universities fail to make pay offer
University unions, AUT and NAFTHE, were angry after the first round of pay talks in the UK after vice-chancellors not only failed to put a pay offer on the table, but demanded concessions on reformed career structures. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association said it wanted to modernize academic’s job-grading structure and pay scales.
The unions are seeking a 28% salary increase, saying that since 1981 UK's average full-time earnings have risen by 44% over inflation since 1981, yet average pay for university academic and related staff has risen, at most, by just 7% over inflation.
In 1999, a major independent review of higher education pay and conditions made many key recommendations concerning pay levels and grading structures, and the need to improve pay levels. In 2002, a report into the supply of scientists and engineers confirmed that higher education is facing major recruitment and retention problems, due to low pay levels as well as the over-reliance on fixed-term contracts. There is also a significant difference in the average pay for males and females, and for white and non-white staff. In January 2003, the Government announced substantial increases in funding for higher education over the next few years. “We are pressing very strongly to make sure that a significant proportion of this money is used to address our members’ poor salary levels,” said AUT General Secretary Sally Hunt.
Two further days of negotiation are scheduled in July.

Education companies move on American market
US company Education Management Corporation will pay $US112.5-million to buy 18 junior colleges with locations in eight US states and a total enrolment of 5,800 students. The colleges offer programs at the associate-degree level and below in a variety of health-care fields, as well as programs in business, computing, and criminal justice.
It is the third purchase announced by the Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporation in the past two months. In late April, the publicly traded company announced plans to pay $US50-million to buy South University, an operator of four medical-oriented colleges with a total enrolment of about 1,500. South now offers master's, bachelor's, and associate degrees. Earlier this month, the company also announced plans to buy a 115-student culinary school in Vancouver.
Another company, Corinthian Colleges Inc., has announced the acquisition of CDI Education Corporation which operates 45 colleges with a total enrolment of about 6,100 students in Canada. Corinthian said it would pay the equivalent of about $US37-million to acquire the stock of CDI Education Corporation. It marks Corinthian's first foray outside the United States.
CDI, which is based in Toronto, has two divisions. Its postsecondary division offers nondegree programs in allied health, business, and information technology. The company, which now trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, also operates 15 corporate-education centres that are part of its corporate-training division.

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: Direct enquires to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email:

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