Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Tertiary Train-Wreck - Unitec Design

Tertiary Train-Wreck

Since the social reforms of the 1980s, tertiary education institutions have engaged constantly in steady rounds of restructuring. One of the outcomes is to dismiss academic staff, and that's what Unitec management is doing to 50 academic staff in the Department of Design and Visual Arts.

Unitec plans to replace these staff with industry providers in part-time and itinerant positions. The remaining 17 staff will be turned into "managers," charged with delivering up to $30,000 per year from industry.

Consider what will be lost. Unitec will lose highly experienced and qualified staff, skilled in academic, teaching and professional settings. It will lose a swathe of institutional knowledge. It will lose a host of institutional investment: Unitec has rightly invested in higher qualifications and professional development for its staff. It will lose a significant sector of its research culture, its scholarship, its critical thinking. It will lose institutional integrity. As a result, it will lose reputation and standing as a leading school of design, greatly respected throughout the country. To compound the problem, it will lose potential employment for its graduates, who have consistently benefited from all these factors.

What it will gain is a massive burden for remaining staff. The new depleted force will be expected to cater to over 500 students in different levels and years. Ominously, it will also gain an eager audience of other tertiaries keen to do the same sort of thing.

Why is this happening? It's because Unitec management has bought into the ideology of corporate colonising that has characterised NZ life since the 1980s. This business-first mantra is simply at odds with enlightened education. Tertiary education differs from industry training because the tertiaries build on a culture of scholarship, inquiry, research and knowledge creation. It enables teachers and learners to operate collectively and individually as knowledgeable and informed critical thinkers.

Unitec's ideology is also an embarrassing contradiction. For years it has insisted on its staff being able to span industry, academe and pedagogy. It has energetically pushed staff to gain and upgrade formal academic and professional qualifications. It has called repeatedly for staff to perform well on research, for the institution to score well on rankings in the Performance-Based Research Fund.

Now Unitec is willing to sweep away a culture that has taken years to construct, in order to carry out the current initiative. Its proposal relies on casual labour that is unprepared for tertiary teaching, thereby undermining and weakening the teaching profession.

Unitec is receiving some very unwelcome notoriety for its proposal. The best thing it could do at this stage is to dump the plan and restore trust in its current staff and structure. It could then pour its management resources into supporting and encouraging staff and programmes.


David Cooke, PhD
Senior Scholar, York University, Toronto
former staff member, Languages, Unitec


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news