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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEStep Up scholarships announced
Around 500 students will be eligible next year for new Step Up tertiary scholarships as part of the move to improve participation by low income people in tertiary education and the retention of skilled graduates in New Zealand.
The bonded scholarships scheme, worth as much as $43,000 over 6 years for some students, was announced today by Associate Education Minister (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, and Health Minister Annette King.
The Step Up scholarships are being piloted with low-income students studying human and animal health degrees in 2004. Those who receive a scholarship will pay a flat fee of $2,000 irrespective of their chosen course, with the scholarship paying the remainder of the tuition fee. The scholarships will be awarded for the full duration of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory academic progression. Students receiving a Step Up scholarship will be required to work and remain in New Zealand for up to four years after graduation.
It is expected that around 500 scholarships will be awarded in 2004, with funding of $15.9 million being invested in the scheme over the next four years.
Steve Maharey said the Step Up scholarships are designed to ensure that people from low-income backgrounds are not deterred by cost from beginning tertiary study. They will be available to those students eligible for a student allowance who are about to leave school or within a year after leaving school and will be awarded on grounds of academic merit.
“These scholarships will result in reduced levels of student debt for health professionals, a factor that has been identified as an important one in the decision of New Zealanders to head overseas after qualifying,” Annette King said.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg said he welcomed the introduction of the scholarships which were an important move in improving access for students from low income families into high cost university courses such as medicine. He said the retention of qualified health professionals in New Zealand was an important issue being addressed through health workforce planning and he expected similar planning to occur with the recently announced tertiary sector workforce review.
Dr Rosenberg also said that while scholarships would (rightly) assist a number of individual students, the overall levels of funding to Universities needed to be lifted significantly to ensure that students continued to receive a high quality of education in the long term.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Waikato expansion moves frustrated
2. Research consultation proposal rejected
3. Lincoln, Massey talks resume
4. Degree online for global university
5. Cambridge to extend rights to academic research
6. UK battle to stave off fees defeat

Waikato expansion moves frustrated
Several attempts this year by Waikato University to expand into new centres have been frustrated by delays and changes of mind by potential partners. In the latest move, the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has pulled out of talks about a possible merger.
AUT Chancellor Wyn Hoadley said that after spending the past six weeks considering the academic and business case for a merger, the Council had decided it was not compelling enough to come ahead of the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor. “We know from the investigative process we have worked through that to remain on our own path of consolidation and individual development is a strong and a viable one. We have confidence in our own capacity to grow and succeed into the future,” she said. “The AUT Council now intends to proceed with the appointment process of a new Vice-Chancellor prior to Christmas”.
Waikato University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bryan Gould, said he remains open to holding further discussions with AUT about a closer relationship.
An earlier proposal in March by the Manukau City Council, to establish a “leading university campus” in the city with Waikato as the “preferred provider”, was delayed after competing proposals by other tertiary providers led the Council to seek advice from the Tertiary Education Commission. It is unlikely there will be a decision until early next year after the completion of a $30,000 study to identify the tertiary education needs of the city.
Another plan, by the Lake Taupo Development Company to develop a tertiary education facility in Taupo, into which Waikato University would provide the teaching staff, has been delayed until a strategic review of Taupo’s airport is completed. It was proposed to build the facility on a leased 50 hectare block of Council-owned land near the airport, but submissions to the Council have questioned both the lease and the impact it would have on airport development.
Waikato remains in discussion with the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic about an “integrated relationship” in Tauranga.

Research consultation proposal rejected
Plans at the University of Otago to introduce a requirement for consultation with Maori over research failed to get support after a passionate debate at the University Council meeting this week. The recommendation, which had come from the University’s senate, was referred back for further consideration.
Under the proposal any planned research would be scrutinised by a Maori research facilitator. If the facilitator decided detailed consultation was needed a Ngai Tahu committee would comment on the plan before it was approved by the University. Ngai Tahu would not have the right to stop research it did not approve.
Vice Chancellor, Dr Graeme Fogelberg, said the recommendation had been supported overwhelmingly by senate, a senior academic advisory board where it had been fully discussed. However one staff representative on Council attempted to confine the consultation to topics directly involving Maori, while another said there was no legal obligation for the University to consult.
In response to claims that such consultation would curb academic freedom, Edward Ellison, a Council member and Te Rununga O Ngai Tahu deputy chairman, said Ngai Tahu wanted to add value to the research process and strongly supported academic freedom.

Lincoln, Massey talks resume
Lincoln and Massey University have resumed discussions about a merger or alignment. A discussion paper has been released outlining the rationale for talks and the benefits both institutions see in collaborating in scientific areas. The two universities have previously held informal talks but they had not progressed after what was described by Lincoln’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Frank Wood, as “unfortunate speculation”. Dr Wood told the University Council this week that the universities had resumed discussion, but stressed that these were still informal.
Dr Wood said that any merger would require the support of government and industry, and would require financial support similar to that obtained for the Auckland School of Business.
Associate Education Minister (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, welcomed the talks and said government was keen to encourage the kind of partnership envisaged.

Degree online for global university
Students in India and China are the primary target of an on-line MBA course being launched by Universitas 21 Global, a joint venture between Universitas 21 and a US company, Thompson Learning. U21 Global is aimed at making university education accessible to students unable to study at traditional universities, with students and lecturers communicating through email, on-line chat, and threaded discussions.
Following the establishment of the on-line MBA, U21 Global hopes to offer a Masters of Business Information Systems next year.
Universitas 21 is a network of 17 universities worldwide, part-owned by the University of Auckland and chaired by its Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Hood. Auckland University sources say that New Zealand students are not a target for the on-line university, but it was not impossible they could enroll.

Cambridge to extend rights to academic research
Cambridge University will extend the rights to ownership of intellectual property generated by researchers under proposals published this week. If accepted by the university's ruling Regent House, the blueprint could underpin the generation of billions of pounds worth of commercially exploitable intellectual rights in coming decades. The new agreement specifically leaves the ownership of copyright with the academic - covering books, teaching materials, databases and even software. While the university would have the ownership of patents, the proceeds from them would be shared with academics, and other partners, on a formula basis or through specific negotiations.

UK battle to stave off fees defeat
The UK government and universities will join forces to save Labour's plans for top-up fees from the growing prospect of defeat this autumn. Ministers, desperate to build support for £3,000 top-up fees in the face of a threatened rebellion by Labour backbenchers, have found natural allies in universities' leaders, who see higher charges as their only realistic chance of increased income.
Writing in the Times Higher Education Supplement, Philip Cowley, an authority on backbench rebellions, says fee legislation could produce the government's first parliamentary defeat. In a fight for the hearts and minds of Labour MPs, ministers and universities will be competing against the National Union of Students and trade unions, which will be lobbying backbenchers to vote against top-up fee legislation due to be introduced in the autumn.

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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