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TEC leads review of tertiary education

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NZVCC Electronic News Bulletin     Vol. 8  No. 10                9 July 2008


TEC leads review of tertiary education for Greater Auckland


A review of the key requirements that will contribute to the development of Greater Auckland  as a globally competitive city and identification of the response required from the tertiary education system to support that development, was announced by the Government last week.  Greater Auckland is defined as the area within the boundaries of the Auckland Regional Council. The announcement coincided with the launch of a new Auckland University of Technology campus in Counties Manukau through a $25 million capital investment from the Government. 

Led by the Tertiary Education Commission, the review will work closely with the Government Urban and Economic Development Office for Auckland.  The review will recommend an appropriate TEC investment strategy beyond 2010 with a report to Cabinet and the TEC Board of Commissioners due by July 31 next year.  Draft terms of reference are currently being circulated to tertiary education institutions for comment.

Other items …

Canadian university system undertakes international comparison

The findings of a study comparing funding of Canadian higher education with that in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are covered in the latest issue of VC Net, an Association of Commonwealth Universities news service.  Undertaken by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the study found that the per student funding gap between Canada and the United States is growing.  US public universities received annual per student funding at around C$8000 more than Canadian public universities.  However, overall funding per student in Canada, the UK and Australia in 2006 was very similar at around C$20,000, although the UK figure would have increased since then due to student tuition fee increases.

The NZVCC published a similar university funding and income comparison involving New Zealand and the same four countries in its 2006 publication An Investment Approach to Public Support of New Zealand’s Universities.  Its executive summary contains the following statement:  “Well resourced systems such as those in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom are recognised internationally as being of high quality and have a greater proportion of universities ranked as among the best in the world. That they do so is no accident, for income per student is positively correlated with overall university quality, staff research impact and low student: staff ratios.”

VC Net notes that the general theme of the AUCC study report is to emphasise the inter-relationship between funding of teaching and research and to highlight the fact that in all four countries under examination, universities are seen as key contributors to social and economic well-being.  “It is an interesting feature of our times that almost every higher education policy paper now includes comparative analyses of competitor countries,” the news service comments.

Chilean delegation visits

NZVCC and education export industry representatives were among those who met with a visiting Chilean delegation in Wellington last week  Led by Gabriel Rodriguez, Director of Energy, Science, Technology and Innovation for the Chilean Foreign Ministry, the delegation also included officials from the National Commission for Science and Technology (CONICYT) and the Chilean ministries of education and finance.

The Chilean government recently announced a series of education measures with implications for this country.  Among these measures are a US$6 billion Bicentenary Fund for Human Capital which includes funding for scholarships for Chilean students and professionals to study abroad in strategic sectors of the Chilean economy.  The identified sectors include technology, engineering, tourism, energy, public health, mining, environment, agriculture, vocational training and English language.  Students will be encouraged to attend leading study programmes available in a range of countries including New Zealand.

Fund scholarships are scheduled to total 2500 next year, reaching 6300 by 2012.  Chile is currently developing the quality of its human research resources and physical research infrastructure.  Through CONICYT, it is investing in research centres and seeking to train more students at doctoral level overseas.

New Zealand Universities Human Resources Conference

The annual NZVCC Human Resources Conference was held in Wellington on June 26 and 27, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington. More than 70 university HR practitioners participated in the programme focussed around the themes of employee engagement, leadership and succession, corporate collaboration and technology.

The keynote speakers were Liz Baré, Vice-Principal and Head of University Services at the University of Melbourne, Paul Leitch, Principal at Mercer (Australia), John Barclay, Head of Group Human Resources at ASB and Professor Paul Callaghan, Director of the MacDiarmid Institute at VUW. Workshops included presentations from the NZ Police on their Leadership and Development programme and a panel on “Sustainable Behaviour Change” with Greater Wellington Regional Council and Climate Change Research Institute representatives.

The next conference will be hosted by the University of Auckland in 2009.

New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme (NZ WIL)

A further NZ Women in Leadership programme was held last  week. This is the third programme in the series designed to recognise and enhance women’s leadership capabilities and potential, and increase their status and influence within the New Zealand universities.

Twenty senior academic women attended the week-long programme which included presentations by Professor Eleanor Ramsay (former Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of South Australia), Hon Steve Maharey (Vice-Chancellor designate at Massey University) and eight women Professors from the New Zealand universities.

The “alumni” of the NZ Women in Leadership programmes now numbers around 60 senior university women. Representatives from the NZ WIL Alumni take the opportunity to join the current programme participants during the week. The NZ WIL Alumni are planning to hold a conference on November 27 and 28 in Auckland.

A NZ Women in Leadership programme for senior female general staff will be held on October 13 to 17, 2008 and nominations are currently being sought for this programme.

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