TEU challenges change proposals at Victoria

Posted By TEU on Jul 21, 2011 |

Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 26

Victoria University of Wellington is currently undertaking five separate change proposals affecting academic staff. Two of these are located in the Faculty of Education, where management claim there is a surplus staffing situation in the BA programme and in Technology Education. TEU is disputing the workload calculations used to support those proposals but also believes there are important academic implications associated with both changes. There are also two change proposals in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, one to Philosophy and one to Political Science and International Relations. The final proposal is to disestablish completely the Criminal Justice and Research Centre. TEU is launching public campaigns around both of these last two proposals. In total, the university proposes to disestablish seven academic positions, with many more academic and general staff jobs affected by the changes.

In the meantime, TEU has written to the university asking it to honour the requirements of both the Education Act and a university statute, which require that the academic board be consulted on all academic matters. There is no evidence that management has consulted the board on any of these proposals so far. This is despite a ‘note’ in the Consultation Policy on Employment Matters to the following effect:

“These processes (change management proposals) are not to be used for new, or changes to existing, academic programmes. These matters are to be dealt with through established processes at Faculty and Academic Boards.”

TEU has also launched an online petition to the vice-chancellor.

“Looking at the content of these proposals it is clear that there is simply not enough depth or breadth of understanding in management of the relevant academic matters to make for good decisions of this kind,” said TEU organiser Michael Gilchrist. “That is the reason for the statutory requirement for democratic processes such as Academic and Faculty Boards in which all members of the university can participate or be represented.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. Otago University members quickly negotiate three percent
  2. Minister plans further cuts for industry training
  3. Report wants more jobs focus in secondary-tertiary transition
  4. Global policy on vocational and educational training

Other news

Fears that families will no longer be able to afford early childhood education because of cuts in last year’s Budget are starting to become a reality. Latest figures show the cost of early childhood education increased by 11.7 per cent in the year to June – a rise the sector’s union attributes to government funding cuts – New Zealand Herald

The State Services Commission had announced Briton Lesley Longstone is the new chief executive of the Ministry of Education. Longstone is currently a director general within the English Department for Education and has 25 years’ experience in the education and employment sectors in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. “Improving the life chances of all young people and the skills of adult learners will be my overriding ambition.” – Dominion Post

The CTU is objecting to Minister of Welfare Paula Bennett saying that the jobs are there for those with the right attitude when commenting on youth unemployment. Peter Conway, CTU Secretary said “in the last 5 years the rate of youth unemployment has doubled to 27.5 percent and it is simply wrong for the Government to say this is due to the attitude of young people.” – CTU

The University of Oxford has said the scandal engulfing News International will not prompt a rethink of its relationship with the company, which funds five academic posts including a Rupert Murdoch professor of language and communication – Times Higher Education Supplement

The National Quality Council has warned of a repeat trashing of Australian education’s reputation “if decisive action is not taken to improve the regulation of VET delivered offshore” – The Australian

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day.

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