PBRF submission on Pacific research

Posted By TEU on Aug 28, 2009 |

Submission of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa

on the PBRF Sector Reference Group consultation paper “Pacific research”

28 August 2009

For further information please contact:

Jo Scott

Policy Analyst

Tertiary Education Union

Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa

Pacific Research

The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa is the largest tertiary sector union in this country.”  Our membership currently sits at approximately 11,500 members, covering all types of TEOs in the sector.

Prior to the formation of the TEU on 1st January 2009, both AUS and ASTE made submissions on a range of topics related to the PBRF.”  When the PBRF was introduced, we raised a number of concerns about the model, many of which have unfortunately emerged as issues in the sector.”  Our stance on the PBRF model some years on from its introduction is that minimal changes should be implemented as a result of the current review.”  We have taken this position with the current funding model as we believe that post-2012 the sector should vigorously debate alternative models that could replace the PBRF, which we regard as fundamentally flawed.

For this reason the TEU holds the view that further changes to the model, other than minor adjustments (such as clarifying guidelines) would put unnecessary pressure on academic and general staff involved in research and on TEOs, would risk further undermining the data obtained so far from assessment rounds, and should therefore be rejected.

Response to feedback questions

Should all evidence portfolios designated ‘Pacific research’ in the EP schema be cross-referenced to a Pacific specialist advisor?

Whilst peer review panels generally expressed confidence in assessing EPs designated ‘Pacific research’, the increase in the number of EPs submitted in 2006 but deemed as not meeting the criteria suggests that greater recourse to specialist advice may be required.”  This may assist in ensuring that EPs are considered by the appropriate panel, as well as ensuring that panels can adequately consider the range of Pacific values and knowledge that may be represented in EPs.

Should the criteria for Pacific research …be revised before the 2012 Quality Evaluation?

Consideration could be given to revising the guidelines to include greater recognition for research that has been undertaken bilingually or multilingually. ” This is a far more demanding process than monolingual research and provides opportunities for greater depth of information/data than a mono-lingual work might do.

How might the guidelines on Pacific research be better understood by TEOs and staff members?

Clarification of the distinction between Pacific research and Pasifika researchers would undoubtedly assist TEOs and staff, given some of the inconsistencies discovered by the Moderation Panel.

Should data on ethnicity be collected via the PBRF EPs at all?

Collecting ethnicity data is important as a tool for evaluating the impact of an intervention or policy.”  The TEU would support continued collection of ethnicity data, on the basis that it is used only for specific purposes that are known and agreed by individual staff.

Should catch-all ethnic categories be retained?

See our comments below

How in your view could ethnicity data be better recorded and reported?

Using a standard statistical question such as that used by Statistics New Zealand would address concerns about the current ‘catch-all’ approach, where the diversity of Pacific ethnicities is inadequately captured.

Should the equity weighting for research degree completions by Pasifika students be retained?

The TEU would support the retention of the equity weighting for the next round , with a post-2012 review being an opportunity to consider all issues relating to research assessment and funding.

Are there other measures that might incentivise TEOs to support Pacific research/Pasifika students at postgraduate level and in a wider range of subject areas?

Providing specific sections for Pacific research outputs during the documentation phase of the next round would ensure that the breadth of work in this area could be better captured.

Are there concerns that Pasifika researchers are producing and nominating outputs to fit with the system’s perceived bias towards written material, rather than producing and nominating outputs in their preferred (oral) medium?”  If so how might these concerns be addressed?

On the face of it, there may be cause for concern that Pasifika researchers are opting to nominate works that may be perceived as fitting more easily into established modes of academic discourse (i.e written material).”  A careful review of both content and layout of documentation material to ensure that Pacific scholarship, in its many forms, is recognised as equally valuable to other modes should therefore be undertaken.

Are there any “unresolved cultural issues” concerning Pasifika research and/or researchers that need to be addressed by the PBRF?

An issue raised by some Pacific researchers is the PBRF policy that TEOs are able to keep receiving the funding obtained from PBRF scores of individual researchers after they have left the institution.”  The TEU recognises that this is linked to the way the funding is disbursed (i.e as a bulk fund) however we find it odd that an institution can directly financially benefit from an individual staff member some years after their departure.

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