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Staff want involvement in appointment process

Association of University Staff - Media Release

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

University staff call for greater involvement in appointment process

University staff have called for increased involvement in the appointment processes for new vice-chancellors after the Association of University Staff (AUS) was excluded from any participation in the selection of a new vice-chancellor for the University of Auckland.

It is understood that interviews for the vice-chancellorship have been completed and an offer of appointment made to one of the applicants.

The National President of the AUS Dr Bill Rosenberg said that university councils are empowered by statute to seek advice from relevant parties and may invite appropriate people to be involved in either an examination of the applications or in the Council's deliberations for such an appointment.

AUS Branch President Associate Professor Wills said the University of Auckland Council had only allowed the involvement of a small group of staff after its initial process had failed to find any suitable candidate for the position. It then restricted staff participation to those on the University Council and few others who have only now been identified after the event. "The secrecy surrounding this appointment process is unacceptable," he said. "It is extremely disappointing that, despite numerous attempts to raise the issue with the Chancellor, the AUS has been prevented from briefing candidates on staff concerns at a time when a delicate industrial situation exists and Auckland staff have not yet ratified a collective employment agreement with the administration after backing down from a national strike."

"It is both logical and reasonable to consult widely and involve staff in such an appointment, given that the vice-chancellor is to be the university's senior academic leader and senior manager," said Associate Professor Wills. He said a vice-chancellor requires the confidence and support of all staff, and it had been the usual practice in New Zealand universities to involve staff and AUS widely in the process.

The appointment process at the University of Auckland can be contrasted with that at Oxford University in England, where Dr John Hood is soon to take up the Vice-Chancellorship . His appointment was subject to ratification by the staff.

Dr Rosenberg and Associate Professor Wills called on the Chancellor and University Council to consult with staff and the AUS to establish a policy on future appointment processes for new vice-chancellors.


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