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AUS Tertiary Update

Few surprises in funding announcement
The long-awaited details of new funding arrangements for the tertiary-education sector which were released last Friday contained few surprises. Universities will receive an additional 5.4 percent, or $60 million, in funding next year while polytechnics will receive an additional 1.2 percent, or $6 million, and wānanga an additional 8.7 percent, or $11 million.
The funding deals, most of which will cover a three-year period, were part of investment plans negotiated between the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and 110 tertiary-education organisations, including all of the country’s universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology, wānanga, industry training organisations, some private training enterprises and other tertiary-education providers.
The investment plans outlined how each institution will meet the education and training needs of students, employers, iwi and community groups and deliver on the country’s development priorities. In addition, each organisation has included information on how it will continuously improve the quality of its teaching and learning.
The TEC says it will no longer fund most of the education and training that some institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) have been offering outside the region in which they are based. TEC says that, often, such provision is “cherry-picked”, resulting in a negative impact on the viability of the local ITP. TEC also says that having ITPs focus on their home region will improve the quality and relevance of the education and training and provide students with real choice.
Association of University Staff National President, Professor Nigel Haworth, said it is encouraging that, in its broad overview, the TEC says that high-quality tertiary education is vital for New Zealand’s economic transformation and social development goals, and that universities will be expected to provide a broad mix of education.
Professor Haworth said that staff would be particularly pleased that the Government has set out its clear intention that students who want to go to university can continue to do so. “Given recent speculation that enrolments may be limited at some universities, it is heartening to see that they are being required to look at ways to increase the participation and achievement by under-represented groups, particularly Māori and Pasifika,” he said. “An enrolment-management process will be put in place which will not permit equity programmes to be compromised.”
Details of the investment plan announcements can be found at:
http://www.tec.govt.nz/templates/NewsItem.aspx?id=2701

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Shadbolt versus the Government over SIT funding cut
2. Union tells Mayor to get facts right
3. New Director for NZVCC, and other prominent changes
4. Overview of Māori education released
5. TEC Annual Report for 2006/07 published
6. Israel strike rolls on
7. Donations roll in from academe for presidential campaign
8. Support for women academics
9. Get PhD or be demoted, Nigerian academics told
10. Chronicles from beyond the grave

Shadbolt versus the Government over SIT funding cut
Invercargill’s Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, has threatened to campaign to bring down the Labour Government over the decision by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to cut the public funding of the Southern Institute of Technology by $6.2 million from next year. Added to that, the celebrity Mayor says he will spend up to $300,000 on anti-Government advertising, meaning that he will breach the new Electoral Finance Act, thereby risking imprisonment.
The cut in funding to SIT relates mainly to the provision of out-of-region courses, in particular for its trade-training programme in Christchurch where it competes with the Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology.
Mr Shadbolt is reported as saying that the funding cut is a direct attack on everything that had been done for and everything achieved by SIT in the last five years. “There’s an election coming up and we’ll be doing everything we possibly can. We’re going to launch a campaign to bring down this Government if they are going to launch a campaign to bring down our province,” he said.
Commenting on the limit of $120,000 on election-year spending, Mr Shadbolt said he had been to gaol twice before, spent five years doing periodic detention and had been arrested thirty-three times. “I’m not going to be intimidated at this stage of my life,” he told The Press.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Helen Clark has said that there will actually be more student places funded in Southland next year under the new arrangement. “I think it's important that the facts go on the table,” she is reported in The Press as saying. “The issue for [SIT] was out-of-area provision and it was able to compete in the Christchurch market against the polytechnic there with zero fees with support from Southland community capital. Now, in essence, [SIT] is being told that its prime responsibility is to Southland.”
Miss Clark said the TEC had written to SIT in 2006 and advised it not to pump up numbers in 2007 because funding decisions would be based on the 2006 numbers. “Notwithstanding that, [SIT] did bump up numbers considerably, including through an internet-based course. So it's quite clear that [SIT] has behaved in a way that is not consistent with the advice that it received.”

Union tells Mayor to get facts right
The National Secretary of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa, Sharn Riggs, says that it is time Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt got his facts right about funding changes for the Southern Institute of Technology and the effect of those cuts on the Southland Province.
Ms Riggs said that enrolments for SIT’s Invercargill campus courses have fallen, rather than grown, as the institution had increased its focus on distance learning and out-of-region activities. “Very few, if any, of those out-of-region students will ever end up contributing to the Invercargill economy because they will never even go there, and claims to the contrary by SIT Chief Executive, Penny Simmonds, are simply nonsense,” she said. “The plain fact is that more students are being funded to attend SIT in Invercargill and that will benefit the regional economy.”
According to Ms Riggs, the failure of SIT management to respond to changes foreshadowed for the tertiary-education reforms and accept a tertiary-education model based on collaboration and cooperation rather than competition and unjustifiable growth was demonstrated by Ms Simmonds refusal to open SIT’s books to the Tertiary Education Commission. “This is taxpayers’ money that the polytechnic is refusing to be accountable for and it is not acceptable that a public institution funded from public money should be allowed to conduct its business in secret,” she said.
Ms Riggs said that, while the union is obviously concerned about the job security of its members across the whole of the polytechnic sector, it had been saying since 2000 that, until the sector adopted a more collaborative and strategic approach, the quality of programmes and the reputation of the sector would be at risk. “These reforms should have been brought in years ago, and chief executives like Penny Simmonds and mayors like Tim Shadbolt should support them,” she concluded.

New Director for NZVCC, and other prominent changes
In what will be a major change for the tertiary-education sector, the long-serving Executive Director of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, Lindsay Taiaroa, has retired after a thirty-three-year career with the organisation. He was farewelled with cocktail and dinner functions last week - and a most illuminating interview in Education Review in which he disarmingly rated his “best education moment” as teaching a student to swim. He will be replaced by Penny Fenwick.
The Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, Professor Roger Field, will be Chair of the NZVCC for 2008 and 2009. He takes over from University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Sharp, who will serve as Deputy Chair for 2008.
At Massey University, Professor Ian Warrington will take up the position of Acting Vice-Chancellor from 3 March 2008 when the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Kinnear, retires. That University’s Chancellor, Nigel Gould, has told staff that it has not been possible to finalise the starting date for incoming Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey. Although he has relinquished his Cabinet duties, Mr Maharey remains a Government Member of Parliament at present.
Robin Hapi (Ngati Kahungunu) has been named by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Pete Hodgson, as a new Commissioner of the Tertiary Education Commission. He will fill the vacancy created by outgoing Commissioner Tina Olsen-Ratana for a term of three years. Mr Hodgson says that Robin Hapi has a strong knowledge of tertiary education needs for Māori: “His input will serve the education and training aspirations of Māori, which are important to the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy and the tertiary reforms,” he said.
Overview of Māori education released
In probably the last of its reports to be published this year, the Ministry of Education has released Ngā Haeata Mātauranga – the Annual Report on Māori Education, which provides an overview of Māori education, including the tertiary-education sector.
The report reflects on the policies, programmes and initiatives with particular significance for Māori learners in a given year. Statistical analysis is included and several case studies provide readers with tangible examples of Māori educational success. It is apparently the only report in which readers can find such a range of information on Māori education in one place. As such, the report provides the sector with an important resource for tracking the education system’s performance for Māori and will be an important touchstone in the future of progress against the goals and targets outlined in the draft Māori Education Strategy, Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, due to be implemented in 2008.
Included in the key findings of the report are that participation by Māori in formal tertiary education remained higher than for other populations, despite a 5.4 percent decline in 2006; that, in 2006-07, the percentage of Māori aged fifteen years or older in formal tertiary study was 20.3 percent compared to 13.7 percent for all New Zealanders; that the proportion of Māori student moving directly on to higher-level study the year after completing a level one to three certificate was 25 percent compared to 18 percent for all students; and that wānanga and universities had the highest qualification-completion rate between 2002 and 2006, with 47 percent of all students completing qualifications over this period. The completion rate for all Māori was 47 percent compared to 44 percent for all students.
The report can be found at:
http://educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz/rss_feeds/rss_manual_update/16867

TEC Annual Report for 2006/07 published
The Tertiary Education Commission Annual Report for 2006/07, which charts progress on implementation of the tertiary-education reforms and the new way of investing in tertiary education, is now available on-line. It can be found at:
http://www.tec.govt.nz/upload/downloads/annual-report-tec-2007.pdf

Worldwatch
Israel strike rolls on
The presidents of Israel’s public universities met early this week with that country’s Finance Minister, Ronnie Bar-On, to try to bridge the differences between the Finance Ministry and the Senior Lecturers’ Union (SLU), whose members have been on strike for ten weeks.
The meeting came after Committee of University Presidents Chair, Professor Moshe Kaveh, told the Prime Minister’s Office that, if the strike wasn’t over by the end of this week, the entire academic year may be lost, resulting in billions of shekels forfeited from the economy due to the gap of an entire class of trained professionals.
On Sunday, the SLU expanded its strike to include not only formal courses and extra-curricular activities in the country’s eight universities, but also the participation of professors in renowned Israel Defence Force courses such as the Israel Airforce pilots’ course and the naval ship commanders’ course.
The SLU, with the support of the Committee of University Presidents, is claiming that academic salaries have been eroded by 35 percent but Treasury officials say that wages have lost only 3 percent of their value.
The last collective employment agreement expired in 2001.
From the Jerusalem Post

Donations roll in from academe for presidential campaign
College administrators, faculty members and other educators have donated more than $US6.2 ($NZ8.2) million to presidential candidates in the United States so far this election “season”, with more than three-quarters of the donations going to Democrats.
Senator Barack Obama is the clear favourite of academics, receiving about one-third of the total or slightly more than $US2.1 million, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. The amount donated to Mr. Obama is nearly 30 percent more than the $US1.6-million received by the second-ranked recipient, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and the top Republican on the list, has raked in close to $US564,000 from higher-education sources.
If recent trends in political giving among academics continues into the rest of the 2008 campaign season, fund-raising strategists for presidential campaigns may need to get more comfortable among the tweed jackets of the professoriate. During the last presidential election year, in 2004, college professors and administrators gave nearly $US37 million in donations to all federal campaigns, which include candidates for president and for Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That amount was more than double the level in the previous presidential election year in 2000.
By institution, the employees of Harvard, Stanford and Columbia Universities top the list of total donations to current presidential candidates. Harvard’s employees were the top donors to Mr Obama, Ms Clinton and Mr Romney. Mr. Obama is also drawing a significant amount of support from the nation’s historically black colleges, including the presidents of Hampton, Howard, and Norfolk State Universities.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education

Support for women academics
The German Government is to create 200 additional positions for women university professors over the next five years from a new allocation of €75 million ($NZ143 million) of funding. Universities which receive a positive approval of their approach to equity issues will be able to create up to three positions for women professors. An approved university will receive up to €150,000 a year over a five-year period for each position created.
Announcing the new scheme, the German Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavaan, said that, under the new programme, the country would be able to increase significantly the number of women professors and to provide young women scientists with models for their own careers.
Positions for women professors may be either entirely new posts or openings where a current professor, either male or female, is approaching retirement over the next five years, in which case a woman would be appointed to take over in due course. In all, a maximum of three positions can be applied for by women.
Only 14.3 percent of professors in Germany are women, compared to 49.5 percent of graduates.
University World News

Get PhD or be demoted, Nigerian academics told
The National Universities Commission (NUC) in Nigeria has warned that university teachers who fail to bag their doctorate degrees before 2009 may lose their positions as lecturers and cease to exercise full rights over their students’ course work.
The warning came on the heels of the submission of a policy document by the International Labour Organisation to guide the introduction of entrepreneurial studies in institutions of higher learning to ensure a reduction in graduate unemployment in Nigeria.
NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okojie, who gave the warning, said there would be no further compromise on the issue of minimum academic qualifications for teaching in the nation’s ivory towers. Okojie stated that, although the non-possession of a doctorate degree will not be the end of the teaching career of such academics in the universities, his organisation may resort to the American model where such teachers are graded as tutors and their authority over academic programmes restricted to an auxiliary level. Okojie added that the requirement and the directive that lecturers acquire doctorate degrees to boost their capacity to impart knowledge have been in the statute books since 1989 and added that those who had failed to heed the warning will have themselves to blame when the hammer falls.
From This Day, Lagos

Chronicles from beyond the grave
The “glittering achievements and charmed lives” of the twentieth century’s academic elite were laid bare last week in a study of recent obituaries entitled Dead Academics. The author of the research paper, Malcolm Tight, a professor of Higher Education at Lancaster University, said he was “awestruck” by the achievements of those deemed worthy of posthumous celebration.
The paper, presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education conference, looked at 100 obituaries published in the first nine months of this year. Most of the academics commemorated were men, their average age was seventy-nine and almost half had studied, and a quarter had worked, at Oxford or Cambridge Universities.
Professor Tight said the sheer quantity of obituaries illustrated the “high regard” in which academics are held. The majority, eighty-one, had been professors; six were vice-chancellors; there were five Nobel laureates and six had been knighted. In addition, twenty-five had chaired academic societies, eleven had edited journals and at least thirty had served in the Second World War.
Noting the monastic origins of academia, the study revealed that thirteen had never married and a quarter had had no children - although one made up the numbers with seven offspring.
From The Times Higher Education Supplement

More international news
More international news can be found on University World News
http://www.universityworldnews.com/

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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: marty.braithwaite@aus.ac.nz


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