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AUS Tertiary Update

McCutcheon top paid VC
The University of Auckland’s Professor Stuart McCutcheon was New Zealand’s highest-paid vice-chancellor last year with a remuneration package worth between $410,000 and $419,999, around five times more than the salary of career-grade senior lecturers. Last year’s top earner, Professor Judith Kinnear of Massey University, dropped into fourth place with a remuneration package of between $320,000 and $329,999. Professor Kinnnear’s reported remuneration for 2005 was well short of her 2004 package of between $360,000 and $369,999.
The figures, released in the State Services Commission Annual Report, also reveal that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, Professor Roy Sharp retained his spot in second place with remuneration worth between $360,000 and $369,999, significantly up from between $310,000 and $319,999 in 2004.
In other universities, Otago’s Professor David Skegg received between $330,000 and 339,999; AUT’s Derek McCormack between $310,000 and $319,999; Victoria’s and Waikato’s Professors Pat Walsh and Roy Crawford each picked up between $300,000 and $309,999; and Lincoln’s Professor Roger Field received between $260,000 and $269,999.
Vice-chancellors fared well by comparison with others in the wider public sector, with the chiefs of large organisations such as Treasury, Inland Revenue and Foreign Affairs receiving $450,000. Six more heads of large ministries each received more than $400,000.
The highest payment in the tertiary-education sector was $430,000 made to the controversial former head of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. That figure includes all contractual entitlements such as performance bonuses, severance and the payment of unused leave. Remuneration paid elsewhere in the public tertiary-education sector ranged from $270,000 for the head of the Christchurch Polytechnic to $120,000 for the Chief Executive of Te Wānanga o Raukawa.
Association of University Staff General Secretary Helen Kelly said that university staff would be concerned to learn that some vice-chancellors’ salaries had increased at a rate higher than those of their staff, particularly at a time that institutions were cutting staff and axing courses on the basis of a shortage of funding. “Union members will find it both ironic and hypocritical that salaries of this level are being paid to vice-chancellors at the same time as restructuring and consequent job losses are occurring in some universities,” she said. “Much of that restructuring is a direct result of poor planning and performance at senior management levels, for which vice-chancellors appear not to take responsibility.”
Remuneration packages listed in the State Services Commission Annual Report include base salary, the value of a motor vehicle, superannuation and any performance-related payments.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Big increase in tertiary qualifications, student debt
2. Call for Māori strategy in TES
3. NZ education system among best in OECD
4. New international doctoral scholarships
5. VCs press for more money, fewer rules
6. Tuition fees on front line of election campaign
7. Iran bans politically active students from university
8. “Loopy left” blamed for resignation

Big increase in tertiary qualifications, student debt
The number of New Zealanders with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification has grown by more than 140 percent in the last nine years, from 195,000 in 1994 to 471,000 in 2005, and the number of students engaged in tertiary education has almost doubled, from 254,100 to 504,400, according to figures included in the Student Loan Scheme Annual Report tabled in Parliament last Thursday.
The report shows, however, that student-loan borrowing was $971 million in 2005, bringing the total loan balance to $8.37 billion. It projects that the student-loan balance will blow out to almost $13 billion within the next ten years. Since it began, 665,900 people, or 20.4 percent of the population aged fifteen and over, have used the student-loan scheme, and 154,411 students, or 40 percent of those eligible, took out a loan from the scheme in 2005. There were 154,411 new borrowers last year.
Other key findings in the report include that, in the nine year period reported, the percentage of New Zealanders aged fifteen and over who have participated in tertiary education has increased from 8.9 to 14.2, enrolments by women in public tertiary education have increased by 84 percent and enrolments by Māori and Pasifika peoples have increased by 177 percent.
According to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, the report showed that students’ loan borrowing has tended to reduce over the past four years, with the average time taken to repay a loan dropping from ten years to nine. “This shows that the student-loan scheme is making higher education available to far more people,” he said. “The Labour-led Government has made tertiary education more accessible and more affordable. The interest-free policy introduced in April builds on that. It has been designed both to further cut the cost to students of tertiary study and to encourage students to invest their skills in the New Zealand economy.”
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says that the report highlights the ongoing impact of high and continually increasing tertiary-education fees in New Zealand. “The annual report shows the median student-loan balance climbing from $10,404 in 2004/05 to $10,652 in 2005/06,” said Conor Roberts, NZUSA Co-President. “Low public funding of tertiary institutions and high fees are only going to see this amount increase. The Government is projecting that in 2014/15 students will owe an astonishing $12.7 billion. We need urgent action on fees and funding if we are going to avert this debt tragedy.”
The Student Loan Scheme Annual Report can be found at:

Call for Māori strategy in TES
An on-line “email postcard” calling on the Government to include a specific Māori component in the Tertiary Education Strategy has proved to be a hit, with hundreds of messages being sent this week to the Tertiary Education Commission and the Minister for Tertiary Education. The Government is currently consulting on the draft Tertiary Education Strategy and Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities, documents which will set the direction for tertiary education in the next five years. Māori staff and students, however, say that they have been shocked that the Māori component in this process, the Māori Education Strategy, was not initially intended to be included in the next TES.
Association of University Staff Māori Officer, Naomi Manu, said that the TES needs to include, from the outset, a strategy to address the tertiary-educational needs and priorities for Māori that shows a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. “Māori staff and students are concerned about the omission of Te Tiriti o Waitangi from the discussion documents around the development of the second TES, and are campaigning to ensure that concerns around the inclusion of both this and a Māori tertiary component in the TES would be acted on,” she said.
Mrs Manu says that Māori members of AUS had met with the Associate Minister of Education, Parekura Horomia, late last week and were confident that their concerns would be acted on. She said, however, that it was still important to ensure that the agencies, such as the Tertiary Education Commission and Ministry of Education, did not overlook ensuring that Māori-specific priorities are included in the TES. “Our campaign to make sure this happens includes an email hikoi with a brief submission outlining the concerns around Te Tiriti and the Māori content in the TES,” she said.
The email postcard can be found at:

NZ education system among best in OECD
The Ministry of Education Annual Report 2006, which has also just been released, shows New Zealand’s education system performing well over all in relation to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, according to the Secretary for Education, Howard Fancy. He said that New Zealand’s participation rates in tertiary education had risen after already being high in relation to other countries, and that there is a growing proportion of our population with tertiary qualifications.
This was Mr Fancy’s last annual report. He will be standing down as Secretary for Education at the end of this month after more than ten years in the job.
Noted elements in the report relating to tertiary education include that participation in tertiary education is at one of the highest rates in the OECD; enrolment in doctoral degrees has increased by 33 percent since 1988 and completion rates have increased by 37 percent over the same period; tertiary education is becoming more affordable; and strong working relationships are being developed among the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
The report says that the development and launch of the next stage of the tertiary-education reforms will look to align the system more closely to government economic and social goals and increase the focus on quality, relevance and value for money.
The Ministry of Education Annual Report 2006 can be found at:

New international doctoral scholarships
Students from countries as diverse as Estonia, Belgium, Jordan and Cameroon are to come to New Zealand as a result of forty new International Doctoral Research Scholarships. The students will be involved in a vast range of disciplines, ranging from bio-control of insect pests through to three-dimensional medical imaging.
According to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, the scholarships attract some of the finest academics in the world and that intellectual injection is a huge benefit to our own scholars. “They are also an important way of showcasing the abilities of New Zealand’s tertiary institutions to the world and that will attract interest and enrolments well beyond the scholarships themselves,” he said. “The Government wants New Zealand tertiary institutions to actively participate in the international academic community as it helps businesses and communities gain access to international research and technology.”
Dr Cullen said that, if New Zealand is to be transformed into a higher-wage, knowledge-based economy, this kind of engagement is vital.
The scholarships provide full funding for course and living costs while undertaking PhD work in New Zealand for up to three years, with the latest recipients receiving funding of about $3 million.
The international doctoral-scholarship programme began three years ago with the intention of enrolling 100 students. This year 537 applications were received for the scholarships, over 200 more than in 2005.
The scholarships are open to students from all around the world. Students from twenty different countries were selected and will be joining the sixty current scholarship students spread across the eight universities.
Further information relating to scholarships can be found at:

VCs press for more money, fewer rules
Australian vice-chancellors are reported to have turned up the heat on the Government, signaling they will not only continue to lobby for less government intervention but will press for more public money in next year’s budget.
The report comes as new figures show that direct government funding accounts for only 41 percent of university revenue, twenty percent less than ten years ago. Revenue from student-tuition fees has escalated to plug the funding gap.
Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Gavin Brown described the present situation, in which the Government urged universities to chase other funding sources yet regulated them more, as a paradox. “What happens is that, as the Government forces us to go out and be more entrepreneurial, they get more and more nervous about what we might do, so they increase the regulation,” he said.
University of New South Wales Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer wants the Government to lift the 25 percent cap on student-fee increases so that universities are able to compete on price in a true market system.
Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor Steven Schwartz said the Government’s agenda for universities could not be achieved as long as it controlled price and supply. “I can see the huge amounts of benefit if we said to universities: ‘Have as many students as you like, charge them whatever you like so long as they’re willing to pay it and you can collect it through the [tuition-fee] system, and we'll subsidise the students’,” he said. “From a competitive point of view that would really change the system.”
The Australian

Tuition fees on front line of election campaign
The cost of higher education has become a major issue in next month’s congressional elections in the United States, with the Democrats blaming the Republicans for cutting Federal financial aid and allowing interest rates on tuition loans to rise.
The Democrats have promised to restore government grants for tuition fees, cut interest on student loans and allow more tax deductions for families of university students. Democrat leaders have promised to raise the maximum individual government tuition grant by 25 percent, to $US5,100, while halving interest rates on student loans.
Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, told students at Georgetown University in Washington that their dreams should not be weighed down by debt. “Your education is not only important to your self-fulfillment, it is important and essential to the competitiveness of our country,” she said. Ms Pelosi criticised Republicans for cutting student-aid programmes by $12 billion and raising interest rates on student loans. She added that the Democrats would work to increase the number of university graduates in science, mathematics and engineering by 100,000 over the next four years and to increase government spending on stem-cell research.
Meanwhile, the Republicans have said that Federal financial aid to students was at nearly unprecedented levels, and that the real problem was the high tuition fees charged by universities. Howard P. ”Buck” McKeon, the Republican Chairman of the House Education Committee, said that Republicans were working on requiring universities to disclose their costs and theoretically embarrassing universities into moderating tuition-fee rises.
Times Higher Education Supplement

Iran bans politically active students from university
The Iranian Government has barred at least seventeen students from pursuing graduate studies this year because of their political activism and beliefs, and fifty-four more students have been required to sign statements that they will observe political and ideological regulations, according to a paper released by Human Rights Watch.
The paper, Denying the Right to Education, calls Iran’s restrictions on the students a “blatant violation” of the Government’s “international human-rights obligations”.
The paper names six students who were informed that they would not be allowed to continue their studies, and eleven more who were not allowed to register this year. The human-rights organisation has determined that all but one of those students were barred because of their political activism. Another student was barred because her father, a “persecuted writer”, was considered a security threat.
All of the banned students had already been accepted into graduate programmes through competitive entrance examinations.
Human-rights officials said the tightening grip on activism would significantly impede political activity in Iran and that universities in that country have been a key locus for critical thinking and for political activities critical of the government or protesting government actions.
Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, recently called on conservative students to oppose liberal and secular faculty members and forced the retirement of faculty members at the University of Tehran for their opposition to the country’s conservative Islamic authorities.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education

“Loopy left” blamed for resignation
A conservative legal academic in Australia, Dr James McConvill, has quit his job at Melbourne’s La Trobe University in the face of what he claims is a campaign of persecution designed to appease the “loopy Left”.
McConvill says he was hired as part of a campaign to “shake things up” and “clean out the postmodernists and feminists”, but now claims the head of La Trobe's Law School (and former University of Canterbury academic), Gordon Walker, has “been turned”.
McConvill has complained to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, providing it with emails that he says suggest a censorship campaign. “There is evidence ... that senior management of La Trobe University have been concerned about my writings … which either criticise left-leaning government officers ... or adopt a right-wing conservative or libertarian position,” he told the Commission. He said that Professor Walker also complained about articles he had written on his web log.
The University is understood, however, to have raised concerns about Dr McConvill’s teaching and about “unusual activity” at a conference in Rio de Janeiro. It is also believed to be awaiting details from Dr McConvill about a claim for reimbursement of conference expenses, including a gold bracelet.
From The Australian

AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Association of University Staff and others. Back issues are available on the AUS website: Direct enquires should be made to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email:

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