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Wellbeing aspirations require well-funded tertiary education

The Tertiary Education Union congratulates Professor Dawn Freshwater on her appointment as the next vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland.

The chancellor of the university announced the appointment today. Freshwater, a Professor in Mental Health, will become the University's first female Vice-Chancellor, after serving as the University of Western Australia's Vice-Chancellor and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar for six years.

University of Auckland Branch President, Nicole Wallace, says union members look forward to the mutual exchange of ideas about teaching, learning, and research at the university.

“We know that the best strategic ideas come out of collaborative and creative processes involving all staff, and look forward to ensuring Professor Freshwater has at her fingertips the best advice possible from those of us on the frontline of teaching, learning, support services, and research,” says Wallace.

TEU organiser Enzo Giordani says the UoA branch look forward to providing a briefing for the new vice chancellor. The briefing will be drawn from meetings of members.

“Members want to work at an institution that continues to be a world class research and teaching institution, but also one that puts the wellbeing of students and staff at the heart of all activity. Professor Freshwaters research centres on mental health and we hope this will enable a much stronger people focused strategy than we have seen in the past.”

TEU National President Michael Gilchrist notes that Professor Freshwater has a strong background in strategic planning and change.

The chancellor has stated that Freshwater is a “passionate advocate for values-led and inclusive leadership”, something that is sorely needed at the University of Auckland, says Gilchrist. “We urge Professor Freshwater to ensure that as a first step she recognises the painful changes that have occurred over the past few years at the University”

“The voices of staff have not been heard in those changes. Indeed in many cases the views of staff have been actively suppressed by references to duties of fidelity and confidentiality – references we see as entirely inappropriate for a public institution of such importance to our community as the University of Auckland . We hope that Professor Freshwater will fully embrace genuine student and staff input into the future shape of the university.

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