AUS Tertiary Update
Restructuring plan unveiled
34 staff positions will be disestablished and 46 new ones created as part of the University of Canterbury’s plan to restructure its 36 academic departments into four new colleges. The new colleges of Arts, Business and Economics, Engineering, and Science are expected to be in place for the beginning of 2004. The School of Law will remain outside of the new college structure.
The plan, which was released to staff on Tuesday, outlines new academic processes and reporting lines, reviews university committees, updates business processes, and sets out procedures for affected staff.
In a statement released by deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Bob Kirk, and restructuring project leader, Dr John Vargo, they said the reasons for the changes were to provide a strong leadership structure to take the university into the future, and to enable resources and efforts to be put into the core business of research and teaching. “We also have to move decision-making closer to where decisions will actually be implemented and to establish a new management structure where all staff have clear responsibilities and accountabilities”. Advertising for new pro vice-chancellors and managers to lead the new colleges will begin soon.
Those staff whose positions are being disestablished have been given formal notice of redundancy, but some may be appointed to newly created positions in a selection process which is to start this week. It is expected to be completed by late November.
AUS Canterbury Branch President, Jane Guise, said that while the number of staff positions being disestablished was fewer than originally expected, there were still a number of issues to be dealt with. “In addition to the 34 positions disestablished, a further 15 staff are in a selection pool for 8 available positions, which gives the potential for a total of 41 redundancies,” she said. “Some others have been told that while they have retained their jobs, their positions are being downgraded”.
Jane Guise said many staff were disappointed that the vice-chancellor was out of the country, leaving the deputy vice-chancellor to make the announcement to staff. “It was interpreted by some to be a lack of recognition or appreciation of the contribution made by those staff to the university”.
Also in Tertiary
Update this week
1. Freeloading part of ERA review
2. Wananga or university?
3. Waikato VC to step down
4. Amalgamation approved by university and college
5. Keep panels but scrap grading system
6. International action spreads
of ERA review
Labour Minister Margaret Wilson has told delegates to the biennial conference of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) that proposals to deal with “freeloading” would be introduced as part of the review of the Employment Relations Act. Speaking at the conference in Wellington this week, Margaret Wilson said the government would seek to ensure there was no automatic passing-on of new terms and conditions of employment, negotiated by unions in collective bargaining, to non-union members on individual agreements. She noted the lack of genuine negotiation where freeloading occurred and said the Act needed to contain much clearer guidelines about what was acceptable practice.
In response to a question about bargaining in the tertiary sector, Margaret Wilson said it was currently too easy for employers to say no to multi-employer bargaining, or simply to exhaust the bargaining process. She said that multi-employer bargaining would be “incentivised”, and good faith and dispute resolution processes improved.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, welcomed the comments saying that the ease with which non- members had picked up the benefits of union negotiations had long been a cause of frustration for union members in the university sector. “Most university employers made it too easy for non-members to receive the benefits obtained by union members and any move by government to redress this would be welcome”.
Dr Rosenberg also said he hoped university employers would take a lead from the Minister’s comments about multi-employer bargaining in the current negotiations.
Margaret Wilson said that the review of the Employment Relations Act would strengthen arrangements around collective bargaining and provide greater protections for vulnerable workers.
The review of the Act will be introduced to Parliament before Christmas and any amendments are expected to be in force by the middle of 2004.
Wananga or university?
The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC) has taken issue with a statement by Progressive MP Matt Robson that Te Wananga o Aotearoa is the “University of New Zealand”.
The issue stems from reports that Te Wananga o Aotearoa is working with the Cuban government to offer a Cuban-developed distance learning literacy programme in New Zealand. The development has drawn criticism from ACT MP Rodney Hide to which Mr Robson responded by defending the wananga’s choice of programme to combat illiteracy among Maori. It was in this context that Mr Robson referred to Te Wananga o Aotearoa as the University of New Zealand.
“There are five types of tertiary education institution recognised in the Education Act: universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wananga and specialist colleges. A wananga is just that, not a university, polytechnic, college of education or specialist college,” said NZVCC Executive Director Lindsay Taiaroa.
“Te Wananga o Aotearoa concentrates its teaching efforts at lower levels of the National Qualifications Framework whereas universities teach mainly at degree level,” Mr Tairoa said.
Cuban Education Ministry officials have been at the Taumarunui campus of Te Wananga o Aotearoa preparing for the project which is expected to be running next year. Cuba has an international reputation for success in literacy, after improving its adult literacy rate from less than 50 per cent in the 1950s to 96 per cent today.
Waikato VC to step down
Waikato University has announced that its vice-chancellor, Professor Bryan Gould, will step down by the end of 2004 after a decade in the job. The university council has established a sub-group to start the process of appointing a replacement.
Professor Gould’s announcement brings to 5 the number of vice-chancellorships either vacant or about to become vacant. Auckland’s Dr John Hood is to take up the position of vice-chancellor at Oxford University in the UK, AUT’s John Hinchcliffe is to retire, Lincoln’s Dr Frank Wood has recently resigned because of ill health and Otago’s Dr Graeme Fogelberg is stepping aside. It leaves Victoria’s Professor Stuart McCuthcheon, with 2 years at the helm, as this country’s most senior vice-chancellor.
approved by university and college
The respective councils of The University of Auckland and the Auckland College of Education have approved a proposal to amalgamate the two institutions.
The case for the amalgamation will now be submitted to the Tertiary Education Commission and the Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit for government approval.
The amalgamation, if approved by government, would see the creation of a Faculty of Education within the university, incorporating the university's School of Education and the Auckland College of Education. The Faculty would be based at the college's current campus in Epsom.
Keep panels but scrap grading system
UK universities and academics want their work to continue being judged by expert panels in research assessment exercises, according to their responses to a proposed reform of the system, but they say the present grading scheme should be scrapped.
Officials at the Higher Education Funding Council for England have been analysing responses to proposals about the future of the RAE, the four-yearly assessment on which research funding is based.
It said there was broad agreement that the core of future assessments should be judgements of research quality, not just measurements of citations or grants and contracts income. Scrapping the expert panels had been an option considered by the review as a way of reducing the cost and time involved.
Respondents also wanted assessments on the basis of the work of a complete department, unit or group rather than on individuals.
The council found strong support among universities for the plan to scrap the present 1 – 5 grading system and replace it with a "score" based on all the work the department performs.
Australia: Strikes virtually shut down the entire public university system in Australia last week as staff protested against a government proposal to deny universities $404 million in funding unless they adopt a series of hard-line industrial reforms
At least 10,000 general and academic staff, students and members of the public attended rallies and public meetings that were held in all major capital cities in a show of strength against government requirements to break down collective bargaining in universities and force staff onto individual employment contracts.
Not affected was the Australian National University (ANU) where the university struck a deal with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), in defiance of the government, which gave a 17.5% pay increase over three years, recognises the significance of intellectual and academic freedom, provides 26 weeks paid parental leave and has a strong recognition of the union in the university's life, as well as limiting very strictly the use of casual and fixed-term employment.
United Kingdom: Higher education unions are preparing for industrial action in the face of the failure to agree on new salary rates in the UK. The Association of University Teachers (AUT) voted, at a special meeting last week, to prepare for industrial action, while continuing to negotiate with employers, while the university and college lecturers’ union (NAFTHE) have begun balloting on whether to remain in the talks, or to move straight to “serious and sustained” industrial action. The ballots will run until 3 November.
West Africa: The only universities in Niger and Mali were shut down indefinitely last week after students and lecturers went on strike to demand the payment of government stipends and salaries, promotions to senior ranks, and improved learning and working conditions.
In Niger, university lecturers and researchers stopped teaching because they had not been paid their salaries for September and at the University of Mali, more than 300 lecturers stayed home from work, demanding that the government review their salaries, pay salary arrears, and evaluate other working conditions. They are also demanding grants and allowances to enable them to conduct research, attend international conferences, and publish their work.
Canada: Professor and librarians at Carleton University stopped work on Monday after a 94% vote in favour of strike action over salary levels. Carleton faculty salaries are the lowest of all the comprehensive universities in Ontario.
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