AUS Tertiary Update
University staff to vote on pay offer
University staff will vote over the next two weeks to determine whether to accept new pay offers which, if accepted, will see across-the-board salary increases of between 3.73 and 4.73 percent for general staff and between 5.2 and 6.2 percent for academic staff. The decision to put the pay offers to ratification came after a round of well-attended paid union meetings at the country’s eight universities which revealed what has been described as overwhelming support for the offers. Settlements will be on the basis of renewing the current collective employment agreements at each of the universities, effective from 1 June.
The Association of University Staff (AUS) National President, Professor Nigel Haworth, said that the proposed settlements were the result of a campaign by the AUS and other unions representing university staff resulting in additional funding of $46 million coming into the sector over the past two years to address salary issues. “Since the combined unions’ national bargaining campaign began in 2004-05, cumulative salary increases in the university sector have ranged from 12.73 to 15.23 percent for general staff and 15.2 to 18.7 percent for academic staff,” he said. “These settlements are well above both the Consumer Price Index and the Labour Cost Index movements during the same period at 8.8 and 9.2 percent respectively, and well above general salary increases in the rest of the state sector.”
Professor Haworth said that, although this year’s settlements were on the basis of single-employer collective agreements, the unions remained committed to multi-employer bargaining. “National bargaining remains an important mechanism for achieving the types of national minimum settlements we have seen over the past three years,” he said. “That process has also resulted in the vice-chancellors renewing an agreement requiring them to work actively and constructively with the Government and unions to resolve funding, salary and other issues within the university sector.”
The combined unions’ bargaining team is recommending settlement of the proposed agreements, saying that the settlement will allow the continuation of the progress made through the Universities Tripartite Forum. Ballot details will be sent to AUS members from next Monday, with voting to be completed by Monday 23 July.
The full terms of settlement for each of the agreements will be available from Monday 9 July at:
in Tertiary Update this week
1. PBRF game-playing under scrutiny
2. Free web access to NZ Education Review
3. CPIT set to cut staff, courses
4. Student press challenges anti-satire rules
5. New appointments include interim TEC Chair
6. AUS women’s Fiesta a success
7. Big salary rewards for VCs
8. Access top of Brown agenda
9. CIA documents shed light on student dissenters
10. Punching VC puts the “Rocky” in Rocky Mountain College
PBRF game-playing under
Tertiary-education institutions which have pushed the limit over their Performance-Based Research Fund rankings have had their practices examined at a forum on the PBRF held at Victoria University last week and, it seems, by PBRF auditors. As a result, Education Review reports that PBRF auditors have recommended that academics have access to a whistle-blowing hotline in order to reduce the incidence of game-playing at the next PBRF Quality Evaluation in 2012.
According to Education Review, David Simkins of consulting firm KPMG told the Victoria University forum that PBRF participants pushed rules to the limit. This included establishing new employment contracts that ran for a term of less than a year, using revised job titles and responsibilities, requiring strict supervision by another academic or having start or finish dates either side of the PBRF census date depending on the staff member’s existing or likely grade. By using employment contracts in that way, it is understood that three universities have ensured that a number of staff were ineligible for inclusion in the PBRF evaluations.
Massey University has been named by Education Review as having committed what one insider has described as a scandalous piece of gaming by submitting staff from its College of Business as researchers in areas not covered by the relevant PBRF panel. In the move, which was uncovered and remedied by the Tertiary Education Commission, Massey allocated only 181 of its 272 staff in the College to subjects covered by the Business and Economics panel. Twenty-six of those not included had been ranked R in the 2003 Quality Evaluation process and twenty were ranked R in the latest evaluation.
Association of University Staff National President, Professor Nigel Haworth, said the revelations of game-playing were not surprising, as research-performance exercises often lend themselves to manipulation. This has been seen in internationally in, for example, the Research Assessment Exercise in the United Kingdom.
Responding to the prospect of a whistle-blowing hotline, Professor Haworth said that, while the AUS would not encourage staff to “dob in” colleagues, it was certainly legitimate for staff to defend professional and academic standards and to speak out against the manipulation of the system by particular institutions. “Equally”, said Professor Haworth, “measures taken to reduce such manipulation and ensure that any further PBRF rounds take place on a level playing field are strongly encouraged.”
The full Education Review story can be viewed at:
web access to NZ Education Review
NZ Education Review has updated its website and for this month access to the site will be free, providing a great opportunity to take a look at New Zealand’s leading education newspaper. Find out what’s happening in your sector and keep up to date with the latest issues and events across the school and tertiary sectors.
To visit the website, go to www.educationreview.co.nz and click on the links at the left of the screen in order to view the current issue or search previous editions.
New readers who subscribe online before the end of July will go in the draw to win a Dell 926 All in One Inkjet Printer.
CPIT set to cut staff,
The Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology faces a financial crisis unless what has been described as significant changes can be made to its cost structure. A confidential report by accounting firm Deloitte says that the institution has a large portfolio of programmes that do not consistently contribute at desired financial levels, that there are too may programmes with a low student-to-staff ratio and that there is some evidence of over-teaching and over-assessment.
As many as 159 or 20 percent of full-time-equivalent jobs are expected to go as the institution attempts to turn a forecast loss of $3.5 million this year into a $7 million operating surplus by 2011.
According to the Deloitte report, the long-term viability of the institution is now at risk and, while actions taken to date have provided incremental improvements, they do not achieve the quantum of change required to save the institution from financial crisis. To make material improvements, the report recommends the elimination of low-volume, low-viability programmes and tighter management of class sizes. Included among the forecast job losses are seventy-five academic positions.
The report says that a heavy investment in the development of new programmes at CPIT has not provided the expected returns and those areas with multiple layers of supervisory or management review have added little value.
It is understood that the TEC has recently allocated $11 million to CPIT from its Quality Reinvestment Fund.
CPIT Chief Executive, Neil Barns, is reported in the Christchurch Press as saying that staff cuts would be necessary but he would not say how many. “It's clear that there will be impacts on staff if [the report is] implemented, and they [staff] understand that,” he said. “The most important thing is for us to identify the aspects of quality that make the most significant difference for students, industry and the community. It does mean we will need to change some of the things we do.”
Student press challenges anti-satire rules
Members of the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA) are joining with the Parliamentary Press Gallery in speaking out against anti-satire rules being imposed by Parliament under which it will be illegal to make use of in-house footage which satirises or denigrates members of Parliament, including both video and still images.
ASPA National Secretary, Rory MacKinnon, says the restrictions are not only ridiculous in their premise, but also terrifying in their implications. “Dr. Cullen has said MPs will interpret the rules liberally, which is to say that our leaders have pretty wide powers of discretion in deciding what is and isn't satire,” he said. “In the event that someone is convicted, the inevitable gag orders will ban the media from even reporting on the suppression of material.”
Mr MacKinnon also says that student media are unlikely to adopt Dr Cullen’s recommendation to “wait and see”. “Student media have a long history of both satire and political activism. We have a legacy of going where commercial publications fear to tread, especially on issues of freedom of speech. I would be very surprised if our member publications rolled over without a fight,” he said.
“Our MPs have said that the public needs to be able to trust them. We would suggest that they consider doing their job properly, rather than censoring our journalists,” Mr MacKinnon said.
include interim TEC Chair
It has been announced that Jim Donovan, a founding Tertiary Education Commissioner, will fill the role of interim Chair of the TEC until a permanent replacement is found. Mr Donovan will fill the vacancy created by the current Chair, Russell Marshall, who retired at the end of June.
The Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, said that Mr Donovan has been a commissioner since the TEC was set up in 2003 and has the necessary skills to step into this role. “Jim understands the needs of businesses for skill development and innovation and he has a clear understanding of the role of the tertiary education system in building skills and innovation,” he said. “He has the confidence of the commissioners, the sector and ministers. I am very pleased he has agreed to take this role on.”
Mr Donovan has a strong background in corporate governance, having been CEO of Fronde Systems Group Ltd, a leading New Zealand-based IT services company.
The process of appointing a new permanent Chair is currently under way.
In another new appointment, a second-term TEC Commissioner, John Blakely, is to take over as the Chief Executive of Competenz Industry Training on 15 August. Mr Blakely has twenty years experience in vocational education and training, including a period as Chair of the Industry Training Federation and Head of AUT University’s School of Communication Studies.
Meanwhile, Neil Miller has been named as the new Executive Director of Independent Tertiary Institutions (ITI), replacing Dave Guerin who was recently appointed as the new Executive Director of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics New Zealand. In a statement, ITI said that Mr Miller has an extensive background in policy analysis and development and in communication, particularly in education and that this background will enable him to represent the interests of students, ITI members and other stakeholders in the PTE sector in the future. He will take up his role on 6 August 2007.
AUS women’s Fiesta a success
The inaugural AUS Status of Women Committee Fiesta was held on Tuesday this week at the Performing Arts Academy, Waikato University. More than sixty women attended a series of events including workshops on work-life balance and financial planning for women and the launch of HerPlan, a financial-advisory service for union women provided by the Union Plus Member Benefits programme.
AUS Women’s Vice-President, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery, said a highlight of the day was an address by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, who spoke about significant government initiatives that support working women, including the twenty-hours-free childcare, the Action Plan for New Zealand Women and Pay and Employment Equity.
Attendance at the Fiesta was supported by the University of Waikato, which released women on paid leave to attend one session during the day.
Fiestas are also being held at Lincoln and Canterbury Universities on 23 and 24 August respectively.
Big salary rewards for VCs
The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Hay, is the highest-earning Australian university boss with an annual remuneration package of more than $A1.04 million, according to a national survey carried out by Higher Education Services, a company owned by Universities Australia. It is believed, however, that the highest overall payment last year was to former La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Bryan Stoddart, who received between $A1,470,000 and $A1,479,999 comprising both his salary and payout when he left the job.
Group of Eight vice-chancellors command the biggest salary packages, with all but the University of Western Australia’s Alan Robson earning more than $A600,000. Macquarie University’s Steven Schwartz earned $A600,000 with a possible $100,000 bonus on top of that and Central Queensland University’s John Rickard earned more than $A675,000.
The National Tertiary Education Union said the increases in vice-chancellors’ remuneration had far outstripped the salaries of the rank and file, even those at professorial level. Senior National Industrial Officer, Ken McAlpine, said it was those other staff who generated the productivity in universities but, during the last decade, staff salaries had risen by only around 4 percent per year.
University of Queensland Chancellor Sir Llew Edwards said that Professor Hay was worth every cent of his more than $1 million salary. “Under his leadership UQ has established a nationally unprecedented series of research institutes and centres with funding in excess of $700 million, most of it from external sources,” he said.
From The Australian
Access top of Brown agenda
New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to increase investment in research and to push ahead with widening student access to university. In his inaugural speech as Labour leader, Mr Brown said that in Britain only 40 percent of all young people go to university against an average of 50 percent in other countries, and in Britain just 10 percent from low income backgrounds attend. “Now is the time, this is the task: to show education for what it is ... the great liberating force of our generation,” he said.
On research, Mr Brown said that advanced industrial countries will have in future to aspire to invest not 5, 6, 7 or 8 percent of their national income on education, science and innovation, but 10 percent or £1 in every £10.
Mr Brown said he wants every school linked to a college or university, and he has asked the Vice-Chancellor of Exeter University to report on what more universities can do to help schools. He refused, however, to be drawn on whether he would support removing the £3,000 cap on variable tuition fees when they are reviewed in 2009; he has not, however, ruled out doing so.
Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, said that a good way for Mr Brown to show his commitment to Britain’s universities would be to bring them up to a competitive level of funding.
From the Education Guardian
documents shed light on student dissenters
The United States Central Intelligence Agency’s release of more than 700 documents this week detailing some of its most closely guarded secrets is reported to be a reminder of some of the agency’s most notorious excesses, including political assassinations, eavesdropping on US journalists and its interest in student dissenters.
The CIA's monitoring of students’ activities against the Vietnam War was coordinated by a group within the agency labeled Operation CHAOS which was given the task of tracking foreign influence in US anti-war movements, including student-led groups. Between 1967 and 1974, CHAOS compiled more than 10,000 files and received intelligence on anti-war movements from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and from CIA agents who were planted in domestic anti-war movements for training purposes before taking on CIA assignments abroad.
Information about Operation CHAOS included a 1968 study of student dissent, entitled Restless Youth, which was prepared by the agency for President Lyndon B. Johnson. Much of that document focused on Students for a Democratic Society, known as SDS, and it drew heavily on FBI intelligence about the group. A memo written at the time says the study is sensitive, both because of its subject matter and because it exceeded the agency’s charter.
The documents can apparently be found on the CIA’s website, but that contains only a tiny declassified portion of the Restless Youth report, that dealing specifically with Western Europe and West German student movements.
From The Chronicle of Higher Education
Punching VC puts the “Rocky” in Rocky
The President of Rocky Mountain College, an 800-student institution in Montana in the United States, has been arrested and has spent a night in gaol after allegedly punching a local builder. Police officers arrested the College President, Michael R. Mace, and charged him with misdemeanor battery when he allegedly threw a punch at the builder after complaining about repairs made to the townhouse in which he lives.
Mr. Mace, who has been President of the College for almost two years, has been released on bail.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
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: www.aus.ac.nz . Direct enquires should be made to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: email@example.com