Closure of theatre, film, American and cultural studies at UC

Posted By TEU on Mar 29, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 9

Nine full time-equivalent staff will lose their jobs and more than 150 students will lose their majors and programmes at the University of Canterbury according to an announcement by the vice chancellor, Dr Rod Carr this week.

The vice-chancellor told staff at the university this week he intends to disestablish theatre and film studies, American studies and cultural studies programmes.

The university has said it will consult on the change proposal until 4 May this year.

TEU denounced the decision, and branch presidents from around the country have called upon the minister of tertiary education, Steven Joyce, to intervene.

An open letter from those branch presidents said Mr Joyce’s inaction in Christchurch threatens a broad and diverse education for local Cantabrians, but says he still has time to intercede.

“We believe it is not too late to act to save these programmes and the opportunities for students in these majors. Canterbury needs, now more than ever, a broad and diverse tertiary education that provides opportunities for all its potential students,” read the letter.

Theatre and film studies department co-ordinator Associate Professor Sharon Mazer told the Christchurch Press she was in shock about the proposal and would fight for the programme’s survival at every level.

The closure of the department would have a negative impact not only on the university’s academic integrity but also on the cultural life of the city, especially post-earthquake, Mazer said.

“At no time in our city’s history has it been more in need of ways of telling our stories and coming together to make a vibrant community,” Dr Mazer told the Press.

Some staff have alleged that the programmes under threat now are same ones that university management was targeting before the earthquake, and that management is simply reintroducing a radical change agenda that the university community previously rejected.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Will it be ‘Hello AHELO’?
  2. VUW accused of rorting PBRF rankings
  3. TEU members will not accept job casualisation in bargaining
  4. Manukau negotiations conclude in one day

Other news

Christchurch’s earthquakes have had a big impact on the number of international students studying in the city with a 37 percent  drop in 2011, latest figures from the Education Ministry show. Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce says the results were expected. “The earthquakes in Canterbury have severely impacted the number of people from overseas wishing to study in Christchurch, ” Mr Joyce says.

Senior Consultant to Education International, the global federation of teachers’ unions, David Robinson tells National Radio’s Chris Laidlaw why he is unhappy at the way universities are being refocused for the purposes of commercial enterprise rather than academia and scholarship – Radio New Zealand

Reports indicate that, in recent months, the University of Bahrain has dismissed at least 117 of its academic staff and expelled more than 400 students for participating in demonstrations against the government or posting related links on social media sites – EducationInternational

The Tertiary Education Union is just one of many unions that has backed the Ports’ workers from the beginning, and national president Sandra Grey says the latest decision from the Ports is a step in the right direction – Te Waha Nui

When some University of Michigan graduate student research assistants started a drive to unionise about two years ago, they never imagined that their campaign would result in the governor signing a bill to prevent them and other graduate research assistants from organising at public universities in the state – Inside Higher Ed

Canada’s largest university, York, accepted a $30 million gift last year from a non-partisan think tank. Despite assurances by the think tank, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, that academic freedom at the public university will not be affected, the national professors’ union and more than 200 York faculty members fear otherwise. The key complaint about the gift has little to do with the money, but instead with the fact York agreed to give the think tank a formal role in selecting faculty – a break from the tradition in Canada and the United States of not letting donors decide who is hired – Inside Higher Ed

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