Cuts to Otago University support roles puts teaching at risk

Posted By TEU on Jul 20, 2017 | 2 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 20 No 24

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne has announced plans to cut 182 full-time equivalent jobs from some of the university’s most vital support services.

Professor Hayne told staff at a meeting last Friday that the positions would be cut as part of a massive shake-up in the way support services are delivered at the university.

With the amount of part-time staff working at the university and job sharing, the number of people expected to lose their job is likely to be significantly higher.

Hayne’s cuts are another devastating blow to Dunedin only months after the closure of Cadbury was confirmed.

The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) reacted to Hayne’s plans with dismay, saying the decision was misguided and wrong.

“We are concerned Professor Hayne has underestimated the contribution support staff make to the success of the university and that she will ultimately regret this decision,” Shaun Scott, organiser of the Tertiary Education Union branch at the University, said.

Hayne intends to cut services such as student advice and support from individual departments and replace them with more standardised service delivered across the whole institution.

The TEU said this could have a huge impact on the quality of service required to deliver high quality teaching and learning, research and student support.

“Cutting nearly two hundred support roles poses a serious risk to the university’s reputation as a centre of world-class research and teaching,” Scott said.

Staff have from now until the end of August to respond to the proposals, with a final announcement expected in September.

Some individual staff members could face a much longer wait to find out if they will still have a job under Hayne’s plans, with the changes not expected to be completed until mid-2018.

Scott added: “We will be working with our members to do everything we can over the next six weeks to explain the detrimental impact Professor Hayne’s plans will have, not only on staff but on future generations of students too.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Union women firmly opposed to National’s tertiary law change
  2. Tell your story and take a stand for tertiary education
  3. TEU national secretary honoured for 32 years union service

Other news

Massey University has opened a new wharekai at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi Massey

Otago Polytechnic has announced it is adding a Trades Hub and student accommodation to its Central Otago campus – Otago Poly

The Manukau Institute of Technology is working with colleges in Samoa to provide new vocational skills training opportunities – RNZ

The University of Otago has announced plans to build a $26 million facility for music and performing arts – ODT

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has applied conditions on Te Wānanga O Aotearoa concerning its assessment practices – NZQA

Bay of Connections, the regional growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty, has published a refreshed regional plan, including an education and skills section with commitments to improve Māori achievement levels – Bay of Connections

Prime Minister Bill English, Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith and other ministers have announced a $50 million initiative to help at-risk young people in the Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Eastern Bay of Plenty and the West Coast into jobs – Beehive

Four Industry Training Organisations in the wellbeing or service sector have published a manifesto under the banner At Your Service Aotearoa – Live News

Tertiary Education Minister, Paul Goldsmith has announced a number of new appointments, and reappointments to the boards of six Crown Research Institutes and Research & Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd – Beehive

Unfunded English language providers will have to start reporting individual learner and provider data through the Unfunded International Providers system – Education Services

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