AUS Tertiary Update
New funding welcomed by university staff
The announcement yesterday by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, that universities will receive a funding boost of $26 million over the coming year has been welcomed by the Association of University Staff (AUS). The new funding follows tripartite discussions involving the Government, vice-chancellors and unions over the past year and a report prepared earlier this year by the accountancy firm Deloitte, which showed that New Zealand universities are under-funded and that salaries are inadequate as a result. The report also indicated that universities in New Zealand do not have the internal capacity to increase salaries to the required level.
It has been agreed between the unions and vice-chancellors that the additional funding will be immediately used to enhance salaries, which are seen as a priority area in terms of ensuring the long-term sustainability and international competitiveness of the sector.
AUS General Secretary, Helen Kelly, said that meetings would be now be convened with union members at the universities to determine the bargaining process for this year, and for the continuation of tripartite discussions. “The tripartite process has proved to be a successful way of identifying and addressing issues within the university sector,” she said. “It is our expectation that the second stage of the tripartite process, already in train, will now build on the collaboration among the parties.”
Dr Cullen said that the new funding package would help ensure the long-term sustainability of universities. “We need to retain and recruit the best teachers and researchers if universities are to continue to deliver high-quality tertiary education. If we are to transform this economy it is vital we maintain the quality of teaching and research and ensure our universities remain internationally competitive,” he said. “The $26 million is an initial injection of funds to address immediate issues. Future funding will be determined by the proposed tertiary reforms.”
The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) has also welcomed the announcement by the Minister, saying that staff have been fighting for adequate salaries for a long time, and that it is great that the Government has finally recognised this. “Students have consistently supported staff in their quest for adequate salaries and recognise the hard work of the university unions,” said Joey Randall, NZUSA Co-President. “The university sector is significantly under-funded by international standards and this funding boost will go some way towards addressing this. Institutions often use low staff salaries as an excuse to increase student fees but now there will be no excuses for student-fee increases for 2007.”
Starting next week, meetings will be held with union members at the seven universities involved in the national bargaining process to discuss the impact of the new funding on this year’s bargaining round. The unions’ bargaining newsletter with details of the meetings can be viewed at:
in Tertiary Update this week
1. Millions spent on tertiary-education marketing
2. Honours for top tertiary teachers
3. Financial concerns for many tertiary institutions
4. Lincoln posts good surplus
5. Judge orders decision on visa application
6. Greek professor turned away from US
7. Protecting the Australian student experience
8. Young people “immature because of university”
Millions spent on tertiary-education
Research released yesterday by the New Zealand University Students’ Association reveals that public tertiary-education institutions spent an estimated $28 million on advertising and marketing in 2005, a 6 percent increase on the 2004 figure of $26.6 million.
Top spender was the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, which paid out an estimated $3 million, with Auckland and Massey Universities each spending more than $2 million. Ten other institutions each spent in excess of $1 million. Nineteen of the thirty-five institutions increased their spending in the last year.
The data, compiled for NZUSA by AC Neilson, estimate that more than $11 million was spent on newspaper advertising and marketing, $7.6 million on television and $4 million on radio. Not taken into account in the estimates are marketing “giveaways” and gimmicks increasingly used by tertiary-education institutions over the past few years.
Five institutions, including Massey and Auckland Universities, did not reply to requests for information from NZUSA made under the Official Information Act and seeking the total amount of money spent by the institution on public relations, external consultancy and related advice from external organisations.
NZUSA Co-President Conor Roberts said that students would be outraged that, in 2005, public tertiary institutions had wasted over $28 million on marketing and advertising campaigns that have proven to be useless in helping students make decisions about their tertiary-education studies. “NZUSA received figures from AC Nielsen that reveal how much student and public money has been wasted on these campaigns,” he said. “We found that expenditure on marketing has increased by 117 percent on the 1999 figure of $12 million.”
Mr Roberts said that tertiary institutions are spending increasing amounts of public and student money on advertising themselves and competing with each other at the same time as they are raising student fees. “The extra revenue gained from raising fees last year is close to $20 million, meaning that wasteful marketing and advertising spending sprees are being funded through student-fee hikes,” he said.
The full report, including a campus breakdown is available from:
Honours for top
Eight university staff were named among the top ten New Zealand tertiary-education teachers at the annual Tertiary Teaching Awards ceremony held in Parliament on Monday night. The awards, which were established to encourage excellence in tertiary teaching and help teachers further their careers and share best practice, recognise exceptional teachers who show outstanding commitment to their subject and demonstrate knowledge, enthusiasm and a special ability to stimulate learners’ thinking and interest.
The Prime Minister’s Supreme Award, worth $30,000, was awarded to Karl Dodds, the Principal Lecturer in Maths, Physics and Computing at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. The other recipients, each of whom were awarded $20,000 for sustained excellence, were Professor Rick Bigwood from the University of Auckland, Drs Mark Brown and Juliana Mansvelt from Massey University, Professor Tânia Ka’ai and Dr Lesley Proctor from the University of Otago, Dr Steven Lim from the University of Waikato, Peter Murphy from the Universal College of Learning, Dr Warwick Murray from Victoria University and Dr Roger Nokes from the University of Canterbury.
Presenting the awards, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, praised the winners for their outstanding skills and teaching excellence. “It is wonderful that we have such inspirational teachers and it is important to recognise them, not only for their own achievements, but also as examples to the rest of the education sector,” he said. “The great challenge of teaching is to be able to help students reach their full potential. Each of these teachers has shown the capacity to do that in a way that goes far beyond the ordinary skills of teaching and they all deserve the highest acclaim for that,” he said.
Dr Cullen said all awardees were recognised by both their students and their peers within the profession for their innovative teaching methods, their original thinking and their outstanding commitment. “The depth of teaching talent amongst them confirms that our tertiary sector is increasingly well served by sophisticated teachers of the highest calibre,” he said.
concerns for many tertiary institutions
Universities and polytechnics will spend $87 million more than they earn this year, four tertiary institutions expect to run out of cash and two others could get into trouble, according to a report in Education Review. Ministry of Education papers provided under the Official Information Act show a sharp decline in performance for universities, wananga and polytechnics in the past three years, and also show how costs have outrun both inflation and revenue increases in all sectors.
The papers, obtained by Education Review, include a Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit (TAMU) briefing to tertiary-institution chairs in April, which say that only eleven of the country’s public tertiary institutions “look ok, relatively”. The papers say that the operating surpluses generated by tertiary institutions are “now inadequate to sustain any of the sectors’ capability.” Those institutions reported having a “difficult outlook” had falling equivalent full-time student numbers and low operating cash flow, but might have cash reserves, or were likely to benefit from the Government’s Quality Reinvestment Programme, which pays polytechnics and wananga to realign their courses with government priorities.
The papers said polytechnic revenue, excluding income from community-education programmes, had increased by five per cent since 2000, while that sector’s personnel costs had increased 17 percent. The difference was less severe in the university sector, where personnel costs had increased 26 per cent against an increase in income from government subsidies and student fees of 21 percent. Inflation had increased by about 16 percent during that period.
Education Review reports that TAMU has warned tertiary institution councils that a lot is expected of them this year given the challenges facing the tertiary sector. In its presentation, TAMU reminded council members that they were responsible for the oversight of half a million students, $3.3 billion of income and $6 billion of assets.
Lincoln posts good surplus
Lincoln University has reported an operational surplus for 2005 of $3.8 million on an income of $82.9 million from its core activities of teaching and research and its trading, contract and other commercial activities.
Lincoln’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roger Field, describes the result as steady and encouraging, but adds that there is no room for complacency. “The tertiary sector is subject to numerous external pressures and, even though Lincoln University has a strong asset base, good cash flow and virtually no debt, we have to exercise the utmost prudence in managing our finances now and into the future,” he said. “We cannot anticipate the situation getting any easier. For example, international enrolments, which have been positive for New Zealand’s tertiary institutions to date, are now changing in number and country of origin and that’s an issue the sector as a whole has to face.”
Professor Field said it was positive that the Government had signalled a new look at the way the tertiary sector is funded, and that ultimately this might be advantageous to universities in terms of a more realistic acknowledgement of operating costs.
The contribution from Government to Lincoln University’s income for teaching (based on equivalent full-time student returns) was 21.2 percent of total income, the lowest of any of New Zealand’s eight universities. “The University has consistently increased external research revenue every year for the past eleven years and earnings in the past five years have more than doubled,” said Professor Field.
Judge orders decision on visa application
A Federal judge in the United States has ordered the Bush administration to decide by September whether to approve an entry visa for Tariq Ramadan, a prominent but controversial European Muslim scholar. In 2004, the Government revoked a work visa for Dr Ramadan, a decision said to be based on unspecified public-safety or national-security interests, preventing the Swiss citizen from taking a tenured teaching position at the University of Notre Dame.
Acting on behalf of a number of groups, including the Association of American University Professors, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has challenged a provision of the USA Patriot Act used to justify the visa revocation. The provision allows the Government to deny a visa application to anyone who it believes “endorses or espouses terrorist activity” or “persuades others” to do so.
The ACLU has accused the Government of using the provision to deny entry to foreigners whose political views it does not like. Dr Ramadan, a scholar of Islamic studies and philosophy, is known as a forceful advocate on behalf of Muslims in Europe and elsewhere.
Since the revocation of his work visa to enter the United States in July 2004, Dr Ramadan has worked as a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford, and at a research foundation in London.
In a decision released last Friday, the judge ruled that, if the Government has a legitimate reason for excluding Dr Ramadan, it may do so, but only by acting on the current visa application and “not by studying Ramadan’s application indefinitely.” The judge noted that the Government has had all of 2004 and since September 2005 to consider Dr Ramadan’s application, a timeframe he described as “more than adequate”.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education
Greek professor turned away
In a similar instance to that of Dr Ramadan, a professor from Greece on his way to an academic conference at the State University of New York was detained on his arrival at a New York airport, questioned for several hours about his political views and then put on a flight back to Athens.
The incident has drawn protest from the American Association of University Professors, which called the expulsion “one more instance” of the Bush administration’s “seeming disregard for our society’s commitment to academic freedom”.
Professor John Milios from the National Technical University of Athens, who specialises in political economy and the history of economic thought, was scheduled to present a paper at a three-day conference attended by some 200 scholars from various countries and organised by the University’s Center for Study of Working Class Life. When he arrived at the airport, Federal officials denied him entry, saying his visa was cancelled due to technical difficulties.
Prior to the conference Professor Milios entered the United States without incident on five separate occasions to participate in academic meetings.
An American consular official in Greece has subsequently told him the reason his visa had been canceled was not known, but it might have been connected with his public support of an appeal for the release, on health grounds, of a seriously ill convicted terrorist being held a Greek prison.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education
Australian student experience
Protecting the “student experience” has been described as the new competitive frontier among university chiefs as they “fork out” out millions of dollars for campus services, according to a report in The Australian. With the abolition of voluntary student unionism, the Vice-Chancellors of Melbourne and Griffith Universities and the Australian National University (ANU) have highlighted the need to safeguard core student services, including sport, clubs, dental, legal and advocacy services as well as student representation which, they say, are being seriously threatened.
In what The Australian describes as the scramble to compensate for the loss of compulsory levies for student services, the University of Melbourne appears to have trounced its rivals by committing $A6 million to maintaining student bodies and campus services, followed by Monash with a promise of at least $A4 million.
Griffith University has promised more than $A2 million over the next year to its clubs, societies and advocacy officers, an amount which covers only one-third of its loss of $A6 million in student fees. Griffith Vice-Chancellor, Ian O’Connor, said maintaining an adequate level of campus facilities and services was essential.
ANU Vice-Chancellor, Ian Chubb, described countering the effects of VSU as “seriously important” and said that it would need investment for facilities, services and the provision of additional support. ANU had budgeted an extra $A1 million to ensure the future of its student union and a number of services, including legal representation.
people “immature because of university”
Young people are becoming increasingly immature because they are staying on so long in higher education, according to new research published this week. It says that some students are left with minds which are effectively “unfinished” because formal learning now extends well past physical maturity. Dr Bruce Charlton, Reader in Evolutionary Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, claims that increasing numbers of people are suffering from the condition, known as psychological neoteny. Dr Charlton, whose theory features in the journal, Medical Hypotheses, said that formal education requires a childlike stance of receptivity to new learning, and cognitive flexibility.
The Daily Mail
AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Association of University Staff and others. Back issues are available on the AUS website: www.aus.ac.nz. Direct enquires should be made to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org