NZVCC Electronic News Bulletin
NZVCC Electronic News Bulletin Vol. 8 No. 7 13 May 2008
Lead item …
Professor Sharp to advocate value for money in TEC role
The appointment of University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Sharp to the lead role at the Tertiary Education Commission came as a surprise to many in the sector but has been widely welcomed by university interests. In a media statement, the NZVCC said Professor Sharp’s new post was an extremely positive development. Committee chair Professor Roger Field pointed out that TEC funded all public and some private tertiary education provision and in that context it was good to have someone at the commission helm who understood universities’ vital contribution to economic and social development. That was especially the case when university funding had been progressively run down over a sustained period. The University of Auckland made similar comment in its media release welcoming Professor Sharp’s appointment. As head of TEC, he would “have some major issues to address” as governments had consistently under-funded universities to the point where they were now $230 million per annum worse off in real terms than 15 years ago.
However, in an interview with Education Review, Professor Sharp is reported to have responded to a query over whether universities’ expectations were justified, as follows: “I’m an advocate for tertiary education and I’m also an advocate for fairness and transparency and getting value for money. I can’t make any pre-judgements.” As NZVCC chair for 2006/07, Professor Sharp was closely involved in some gains for the university system, a fact picked up on by the Association of University Staff which noted his contribution to the tripartite process which resulted in “around $46 million in new funding being made available to university staff for funding for salaries”. Professor Sharp will take up the position of TEC Chief Executive on August 4 with current Chief Executive Janice Shiner due to complete her three-year term at the end of July.
Other items …
NZVCC Annual Report 2007 published
The NZVCC has published its annual report for 2007 and a PDF of the publication is now available for download from the home page of the Committee’s website
Containing commentary from both the NZVCC chair and executive director on the year’s events, the report also documents the activities of standing committees and working parties during 2007. Other content covers international links, the NZ Universities’ Academic Audit Unit and the NZ Universities’ Superannuation Scheme.
Universities Australia commends budget commitments
The peak body for the Australian university system – Universities Australia – has commended the Federal Government for university sector infrastructure initiatives announced in the Australian budget. An Education Investment Fund (EIF) of $11 billion and the Better Universities Renewal Fund of $500 million would “deliver much needed infrastructure funding to universities beginning in the 2007-08 financial year”. Universities Australia CEO Dr Glenn Withers said his organisation was pleased that the Government had honoured and funded its pre-election commitments on fellowships and scholarships, extra university places and discounting of the Higher Education Contributions Scheme (HECS). However, the Government needed to address the immediate need for better funding per university place to maintain teaching quality and current Government reviews should consider that need. Universities Australia was also disappointed that there was no mention in the Budget of additional funds for student income support and services.
The Australian Government has responded to Universities Australia calls to supplement what was the Higher Education Endowment Fund with an additional $5 billion from surplus to create the EIF. “The Rudd Government, through its first Budget, has recognised that an education revolution requires strong public investment in our universities, to sustain and grow their capacity to make effective contributions to the wealth and welfare of the nation,” Dr Withers said. “Universities Australia is pleased that the Government has provided clarity on its proposed abolition of domestic undergraduate full-fee university places, including a commitment to compensate universities for lost revenue as a result of the phase out, to the amount of $249 million over four years.”
International eResearch conference in NZ
The 26th Asia Pacific Advanced Network Meeting – APAN26 Sustainable Networking – is being held in Queenstown from August 4 to 8. This event will showcase applications for research, education and collaboration accelerated by ICT and advanced networks like KAREN, the Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network. The target audience is researchers, scientists and academics with an interest in using ICT tools to advance their research and teaching. A range of areas will be covered at the meeting including telemedicine, eScience, eCulture, agriculture, and network engineering.
The programme will feature both discipline and technology-specific seminars and workshops from New Zealand and international leaders in the use and development of advanced networks and applications for research and education. Further information is available from Research and Education Advanced Network NZ Ltd (REANNZ), visit http://www.karen.net.nz/apan26/
$1.6m funding for science, research and education
Meanwhile, REANNZ has awarded more than $1.6 million to projects from the Government’s Capability Build Fund, aimed at developing capability around the use of KAREN. Five of the major projects funded are led by the University of Canterbury and four Crown Research Institutes, and cover the fields of network research, remote diagnosis for biosecurity purposes, scientific inquiry for schools, remote electron microscopy, and seismographic information for eResearch and eLearning. All universities and Crown Research Institutes have also received funding to develop institution-specific projects to accelerate awareness of KAREN and capability development – progress on these projects will be reported on the KAREN wiki at http://www.wiki.karen.net.nz/index.php/Main Page.
ACU to stage communications conference in Durban
The Association of Commonwealth Universities will hold its second conference of the ACU public relations, marketing and communications network in Durban, South Africa, from July 14 to 16. Entitled “Building a profile: key relationships for the communications professional”, the conference features a programme structured around three sub-themes – internal relationships, key stakeholders and wider society. Keynote speakers are Professor Duma Malaza, Chief Executive Officer of Higher Education South Africa; Professor Adelani Ogunrinade, Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho; Mr Donald MacLeod, editor of two of the UK Guardian’s websites (EducationGuardian.co.uk and SocietyGuardian.co.uk) and Dr Paul Genest, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities. Further conference detail is available from