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Lincoln University Makes Cost-Saving Decisions

Wednesday 7 August 2002

Lincoln University Makes Cost-Saving Decisions

The shortening “shelf life” of university programmes and Government failure to fund the “real cost” of tertiary teaching related to the biological and land-based industries and to natural resources management, has forced Lincoln University to modify a number of its offerings.

As a result, 13 to 16 academic positions will be lost, mainly in three areas - valuation and property management, horticulture and natural resources engineering.

The changes will sharpen the focus in important areas such as horticulture while eliminating some uneconomic programmes, says Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Roger Field.

“We recognise the need to re-focus horticulture, with a stronger scientific context to keep pace with the requirements of the industry.

“Overall it will lead to a reduction in costs.

“Naturally, as with any decision affecting staff positions, the University regrets being forced into this situation.

“It was however important to make decisive changes in areas that had become uneconomic through an erosion of funding levels and changing enrolment patterns.

“Naturally the University will ensure that the interests of existing students are met, which means that there will be a phased exit from any degree courses affected by reductions in staff.

“We are continuing to enhance our performance in areas such as horticulture by the growth in application of new technologies and the enhancement of research linked to postgraduate students.”

The changes at Lincoln University were consistent with a continuing sector-wide re-evaluation of academic programmes, said Professor Field.

“Such on-going re-evaluation makes change inevitable as universities struggle to keep pace with the changing expectations of students and the requirements of industries and employers.

“The changing needs of both have led us to seek an improved alignment between the two in terms of our academic programmes.

“The shelf life of academic programmes is becoming shorter and regular review a necessity.”

Lincoln’s overall situation was made more difficult by the limited level of funding in many applied programme areas and the lack of appropriate funding increases to meet escalating costs, said Professor Field.

“There is an on-going concern that the Government has failed, in particular, to recognise the real costs of delivering teaching programmes related to the biological and land-based industries and in natural resources management.

“The only prudent approach left to institutions is to cease offering uneconomic programmes,” he said.

“It is with considerable regret that Lincoln University is forced to make these decisions.”

End

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