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UC announces proposed structural changes

UC announces proposed structural changes

Today the University of Canterbury informed staff of proposed changes to the structure of its Senior Management Team, the group of executives which reports directly to the Vice-Chancellor.

It also announced a consultation period regarding proposed changes to the responsibilities of non-academic service units that support the University’s core mission of teaching and research.

The Supporting Teaching and Research Project (STAR) is considering how the University can maximise its investment in teaching and research and provide the appropriate level of support services to ensure a high-quality learning environment for its students and staff.

The proposed changes announced today begin a review process designed to streamline functions, improve co-ordination and communication, minimise duplication and allow the University to make best use of its resources.

“Pending the outcome of consultation and final decisions, it is not possible to give an indication of the likely improvements in effectiveness and efficiency, cost savings or overall change in the number of positions,” Vice- Chancellor Dr Rod Carr says.

Explaining the rationale for the review Dr Carr says: “In the economic environment likely to prevail in coming years, central government and taxpayers will be under considerable financial pressure.

"The University has recently moved to focus its resources on students with the ability to take advantage of the opportunity offered to them, to require students to make an increased financial contribution toward the cost of the services provided through a student levy, to require academic staff to ensure they are research active and, under the STAR project, to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the use of resources to support teaching and research.

“In addition we will make the case to central government that the underfunding of higher education poses a significant threat to the future prospects of New Zealand in general and individual New Zealanders. But to make that case we need to reassure all our stakeholders that we are scrutinising how we use the resources entrusted to us. Any savings we can make will be reinvested in enhanced teaching and research and improving the learning environment for our students and staff.”

Over the next three weeks staff will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed structural changes. There will be further opportunities to provide feedback once the University has refined service function groupings, and it becomes clearer which staff will be most affected.

“Whilst there will be a period of uncertainty over the next few weeks and, in the case of some staff, months regarding support structures in the University, we are committed to ensuring that this review and any changes which occur are done as quickly as possible, with full staff and union involvement, and in the best interests of the University,” Dr Carr says.

He says confirmation of the senior management structure and functional responsibilities, recruitment and confirmation of roles and responsibilities, implementation of consequential changes following a period of consultation, and the development of detailed change proposals is unlikely to be completed in full before the middle of 2010.

ENDS

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