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Auckland University and Auckland College to merge

28 July 2004

Auckland University and Auckland College of Education to merge

The proposed merger of the Auckland College of Education with the University of Auckland will go ahead from 1 September 2004, Education Minister Trevor Mallard and Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

Trevor Mallard said the merger had clear educational benefits which would flow onto students in schools.

"By combining Auckland University’s research focus with the college’s professional practice focus we will be able to train high quality teachers that are better suited to New Zealand’s needs than can be trained by either institution operating independently," Trevor Mallard said.

"The Labour-led government is committed to lifting educational standards and reducing the disparities between our best school students and those who do not perform so well. We need highly-trained teachers because we know that it is the quality of teaching that is the single greatest influence on students' achievement within the classroom. Combining the strengths of these two institutions will help us in delivering on this goal.

"The merger will: build the professional capability of teachers to meet national educational priorities and support high quality educational leadership; create a world-class centre for teacher education research which will underpin and support educational policy and development; and produce graduates with the research, subject expertise and educational understandings to enable them to teach in ways that reduce current disparities in educational achievement."

Steve Maharey said public submissions were predominately supportive of the merger.

"There are substantial benefits to the college of partnering with a research-led institution such as the University of Auckland. For example, the business case submitted by the merger partners outlines plans to develop a world class institute of educational research with a view to becoming a Centre of Excellence that will make a significant impact on educational policy and practice. Post merger, the university plans to invest the merger’s efficiency gains into more research and more scholarships.

“This merger is consistent with the approach proposed in the Tertiary Education Commission's Distinctive Contributions of Tertiary Education Organisations consultation document which looks for ways to ensure pre-service teacher education and professional development is enhanced by research.

"We congratulate the university and the college for having the vision and strength of character to put the proposal together. The logic of the proposal was compelling," Steve Maharey said.

The university and the college have been assessing options for greater collaboration since 2002, culminating in a joint merger proposal to government in October 2003. It is expected that the combined institution will have a total roll of over 30,000 students. In 2003 the university enrolled 27,205 equivalent full-time students (including 837 EFTS at its School of Education) and the college enrolled 2,962 EFTS.

The college’s Epsom site will become the primary home of the new Faculty of Education, but it will retain the current college’s outlying campuses at Kaikohe and Whangarei and the university’s programmes at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

At the point of merger, all college students will become university students. The university intends to employ all the college staff on the conditions and terms of employment existing at the point of merger.

Contact: Astrid Smeele [Trevor Mallard’s office], (04) 471 9080 or (0274) 664 438 email:astrid.smeele@parliament.govt.nz

Michael Gibbs [Steve Maharey’s office], (04) 471 9154 or (021) 270 9115, e-mail: michael.gibbs@parliament.govt.nz, www.beehive.govt.nz/maharey.

A fact sheet with more information about the merger is attached.

Reporters: please see also separate joint statement issued by the University of Auckland and the Auckland College of Education. The university should be contacted for further implementation details.

The two institutions The University has seven faculties offering general and professional qualifications to undergraduate and postgraduate students at five campuses. The School of Education is part of the Faculty of Arts. In 2003, The University had a total of over 27,200 Equivalent Full-time Students (EFTS), with 707 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) from the School of Education on the City Campus and another 130 EFTS studying at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

The College of Education offers tertiary qualifications in pre-service and postgraduate teacher education for early childhood educators, primary, secondary, kura kaupapa Maori, Pasifika early childhood and special needs teachers, and in social work, human services and training and development. In 2003 it had 2,962 EFTS enrolled. Teaching is provided on the College’s Epsom campus and also at Whangarei, Kaikohe, Kaitaia and Rotorua.

Size of the New Education Faculty The new faculty would have a total of just over 4,000 EFTS in 2005, rising to just over 4,500 by 2010. This would make it the fourth largest faculty in the University. The new faculty would provide approximately 5 per cent of the nation’s graduates in early childhood education, 24 per cent in primary education and 20 per cent of those in secondary education.

No redundancies are expected as an immediate result of the merger. Full-time equivalent staff will number about 500 in 2004 and will remain at this number as academic and administrative efficiencies are achieved over time.

Current collaboration The University and the College currently collaborate through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2002. Under this Memorandum of Understanding, an Institute of Education manages a limited range of collaborative projects.

Timeline of merger development In December 2002, the University and College started assessing options for greater collaboration. This process gained momentum in January 2003, with a joint taskforce established to oversee the assessment. The University and College evolved this work into the proposal for merger, when they assessed that a merger offered the greatest educational benefits of the options examined.

On 31 October 2003, the merger case was submitted to government. Additional information was supplied in February 2004. In March 2004, the government put the case to public consultation. Submissions closed on 28 May.

Public Submissions A total of 27 public submissions on the merger proposal were received. The public submissions were predominately supportive of the merger. Why 1 September The two institutions asked for this date. It is the closest possible date following the Ministers' decision. Implementation before 2005 allows for more effective communication with current and prospective students.

Location of the New Education Faculty The Faculty will be primarily based at the Epsom Campus, although academic activities will take place on a number of sites, including Tamaki, Kaikohe, Tai Tokerau, Whangarei, MIT. The date by which the University’s School of Education will be relocated to the Epsom campus, will be determined by the institutions but it does require the construction of additional buildings.

Structure of the New Education Faculty The Faculty will be lead by a Dean, who, in the first instance, will be the current Principal of the College. The Dean will report to the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

A Faculty Advisory Board will be established, from the College’s current Council and other key stakeholders, with the role of advising the Dean on Faculty development.

Educational benefits of the merger The educational benefits of the merger are numerous, but the key proposition is the integration of the research focus of the University with the professional practice focus of the College. This will allow the institutions to move to evidence-based teaching.

A goal of the merger is to have, by 2006, a suite of new teacher qualifications, including early childhood, primary and secondary pre-service qualifications, which utilise evidence-based teaching.

Teachers trained in this approach will know how to gather evidence about the impact of their teaching on their students and how to use that evidence to improve their teaching and student achievement.

The merger makes this possible because their will be many more staff available who have the required research training and experience needed to offer this type of teacher education. Internationally, evidence-based teaching is highly regarded.

The business case targets the development of a world class Institute of Educational Research with a view to becoming a Centre of Excellence. The purpose of the Institute will be to have a significant impact on educational policy and practice. Post merger, the university plans to invest the merger’s efficiency gains into research.


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