Newly elected TEU president, Dr Tom Ryan, says it is time the CEOs and vice chancellors of New Zealand’s tertiary education institutions join the dots together and take action if they are going to step up to the challenge New Zealanders have laid down for them to combat the country’s economic crisis.
Dr Ryan was elected earlier today by TEU members, beating the other candidate, Tangi Tipene of Waiāriki Polytechnic.
“Too many institutions are working in last year’s economic climate with last year’s enrolment figures,” stated Dr Ryan. “We need to deal with the fact that student enrolments are up all over the country but that funding is capped if institutions enrol too many students. When the country is calling out for tertiary education and skills training we have institutions still engaged in last year’s restructuring plans, job lay-offs and redundancies. It doesn’t make sense any more.”
New Zealand’s tertiary education workers have the capacity and the skills to help educate and train the thousands of New Zealanders who need a new chance in our fragile economy, said Dr Ryan. “But for that to happen institutions need to make the workload of staff and the education of students their focus, not overseas business ventures and flashy business diversifications.”
Dr Ryan is a senior lecturer in anthropology and labour studies at the University of Waikato. He says it is fantastic to be leading a strong, united union in its inaugural year. He has been a union leader since the 1970s when he held elected offices in Australian mining unions. More recently, Dr Ryan has been president of the Lecturers’ Association at the University of Auckland, a member of council and academic board at Waikato, and academic vice-president of AUS.
In other contested elections for leadership positions within the newly formed Tertiary Education Union Michael O’Connell of UCOL beat Peter McLuskie of the Open Polytechnic be elected Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) Academic Vice President. Glennis Birks of Waikato Institute of Technology, Richard Draper of Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology, Lesley Francey of Manukau Institute of Technology, Sarah Hardman of Unitec, Eric Stone of Northland Polytechnic, and Peter McLuskie of the Open Polytechnic were all successfully elected as the six academic representatives to the ITP sector group.