Lincoln University decides not to decide
To All Education Reporters
Media Release: Lincoln University decides not to decide
13 November 2006
Paul Rutherford, the President of Lincoln University Students’ Association today said that Lincoln University had effectively ‘decided not to decide’ in response to the changes proposed in its Review of Academic Delivery.
While, the original proposals had called for complete withdrawal from a number of programmes and removing parts of others. Most of the proposals had been softened with further reviews to take place instead. Proposals still to go ahead include the phasing out of the Bachelor of Maori Planning and Development and the disestablishment of the distance learning unit, Regional Education.
“The process of performing a full review for each division should have been followed from the outset,” Mr Rutherford said. “By engaging stakeholders in the process, better perspectives and more informed decisions can be made. Instead, the process to this stage has placed undue burden and placed stress on students and staff. It has severely dampened morale."
Mr Rutherford commented that the proposed changes would have done little to make Lincoln University more distinctive. “Some of these changes did not lend to the multi-disciplinary study that has developed at the University such as the distinctive, well-rounded and flexible graduates that employer’s value”
“In addition, some exceptional, widely-recognised and well-respected staff would have been lost in the process," Mr Rutherford said.
Mr Rutherford commented that students and staff did their best to engage with the University over the changes, despite the limited time and opportunity to make considered responses.
“We are glad that many of the stakeholders concerns have been taken into account and hope that some positive steps forward can be made in the subsequent reviews,” Mr Rutherford said.
Benita Wakefield, Tumuaki of Te Awhioraki, the Lincoln University Maori Student Association is disappointed with the decision to withdraw the Bachelor of Maori Planning and Development degree (BMPD). Te Awhioraki challenges the consultation process used by the University.
“As the representative of all Maori students, Te Awhioraki was never consulted over the withdrawal of the BMPD degree,” Ms Wakefield said.
Te Awhioraki argues that the University has never made a committed effort to attract Maori staff and students to Lincoln. There is evidence to show the University has never marketed this degree in a culturally appropriate way to attract Maori student participation. For this reason Te Awhioraki challenges the rationale for withdrawing the BMPD based on low student enrolment.
Ms Wakefield said that Te Awhioraki will continue to demand that the University continue with the BMPD degree. “Te Awhioraki wants the University to market the BMPD programme and to do so in a more culturally appropriate way that will attract Maori students to the University.”
The Bachelor of Maori Planning and Development was a refinement of the original Maori Studies degree and was developed through consultation with Te Tapuae o Rehua, the Maori Education development consortium, Ngai Tahu Development Corporation, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Christchurch College of Education. Iwi representatives were also involved in the development of the degree.
Regional Education has been a successful venture both in terms of its ability to attract students and also the results that those students attain. Regional Education has engaged schools and communities with Lincoln University, helps potential students get past perceived barriers and into higher education, and provides a comprehensive and coordinated response to distance education. It is bewildering that the University should choose to dispose of such a successful unit.