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Uni job cuts a return to “bums on seats” model

Association of University Staff

30 January 2008

Latest university job cuts a return to “bums on seats” model

A proposal to cut more than twenty jobs from the University of Canterbury’s College of Arts have been labeled by staff as disappointing and possibly damaging to the long-term viability of the College.

Among a number of measures revealed in a restructuring plan released today, the University will axe Theatre and Film Studies and American Studies in a bid to cut more than $2 million from the College of Arts budget.

Association of University Staff (AUS) Canterbury Branch President, Professor Jack Heinemann, says that successive rounds of staff cuts, interspersed with hiring freezes, is pushing the University to a tipping point. “The decision to cut staff numbers appears to be largely based on the former bums-on-seats funding model despite the new tertiary education strategy which takes a more considered approach, allowing for additional funding for strategically important areas,” he said.

“University management needs to assert the case for better funding to government and society in general instead of taking the easy option of cutting staff numbers to save money. For example, American Studies is unique to Canterbury. There must be a case for the strategic value of our Arts Faculty to be made to Government. That is the kind of vision and leadership our campus needs.”

Professor Heinemann said that the AUS would be supporting affected staff and fighting to maintain a strong College. “AUS will be arguing that management needs to take a long-term approach and reflect on the implications of disestablishing entire academic programmes and courses,” he said.

“If Canterbury it is to maintain a position as a leading and academically vibrant university, then senior management need to inspire funding reforms both locally and nationally rather than simply balance the books.”


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