The Otago Daily Times reports that the University of Otago is undertaking a third major restructuring, this time in the school of business, and is preparing for the possibility of a fourth. The university is trying to streamline operations and cut costs before government funding cuts impact fully next year.
The university is proposing a merger of the department of accountancy and business law and the department of finance and quantitative analysis. This follows reviews which recommended the disestablishment of the design studies department, and the need to cut $1.3 million from the college of education annual budget.
None of the reviews has been completed yet, although the design studies recommendation is likely to be confirmed at a university council meeting next week.
An estimated 115 academic staff are affected by the reviews – about 55 at the college of education, 40 in the school of business, and 20 in design studies. The university has said it is too soon to say how many jobs might go as a result of the reviews.
Tertiary Education Union branch co-president Dr Brent Lovelock told the Otago Daily Times that the TEU was working with staff from affected departments, but that those staff were “naturally very concerned” about their futures.
“Our view is that these processes are also impacting staff morale across many areas of the campus.”
The Otago Daily Times has been told one more major review is about to be announced – the merger of two departments in the humanities division which collectively employ about 50 staff.
The university had no comment to make about whether any more reviews were pending, head of communications Megan McPherson said.