University of Canterbury closures angers indebted student

Posted By TEU on May 10, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 15

A part time student at the University of Canterbury says the university’s plan to close its theatre program will cost her $4000 of fees for a degree she can no longer complete. Sarah has told the student campaign You are UC:

“If I was a single teen or in my early 20s, I could move to Wellington, Auckland, or Otago to complete my Theatre degree. But this is not my situation. I am married, I have 3 children, I own a home in Christchurch, moving to suit the degree I want to achieve is not in the realm of possibility for me. The only reason I started a degree at Canterbury was so I could become a High School Drama teacher. If this closure goes ahead, I will have spent $4000 towards a degree which I will be unable… to complete at Canterbury University.”

Meanwhile the Christchurch Press reports that corporate culture at the university may be choking creativity. Reporting on the change proposal to close theatre and film studies The Press notes:

“[T]he issue at the moment, the document goes on to say, is not that Arts courses are weak or unsustainable, but that the College of Arts offers more courses than it can support on current and projected income.”

“In short: there is nothing wrong with the affected courses but someone or something has to go. It also becomes clear that this thinking actually pre-dates the earthquakes, as the proposal says [Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Arts, Prof] Adelson has been engaged in his strategic process for 18 months.”

The Press reports that that TEU has filed papers with the Employment Authority seeking a compliance order. Essentially, the filed papers charge the university with not following its own rules around academic process.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Will there be jobs for science graduates?
  2. Joyce wants less representation on university councils
  3. Massive student protests shake Quebec
  4. Massachusetts replaces teacher educators with video highlights

Other news

Instead of rethinking whether performance measures work in the tertiary sector, the government has set up a performance exercise looking at student retention and completion. For tertiary institutions the quickest route to achieving in this exercise is making sure students pass their courses. The simplest way to ensure students pass is to put pressure on academics to elevate grades (and in a few isolated cases this is already beginning to happen in a range of institutions across New Zealand) – Dr Sandra Grey on Kiwiblog

What we’re saying, though, is that once you’ve used your 200 weeks [of student allowance], that’s the end of it. Currently, you can get exemptions for long programmes, as they call them, or for master’s or PhDs. But when somebody’s getting to the point when they’re doing a master’s or a PhD or a long programmes where they’ve perhaps done one degree and they’re going to do another degree, they are going to have a good income when they leave, and therefore they should be able to pay off a student loan – Steven Joyce on TVNZ Q&A

Universities NZ welcomes the Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills & Employment’s indication over the weekend that there will be a modest increase to the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) in this year’s Budget as it is an effective system for supporting the wide-ranging contributions made by university research – Universities NZ

39 percent of fraud in both tertiary and local government sectors went un-investigated by police. Some 38 percent of respondents in councils and 37 percent in polytechnics and universities said they were aware of a case of fraud in their institution within the past two years – compared to a public sector average of less than a quarter – Radio NZ

Saudi Arabian students have been banned from studying in Christchurch because of earthquake fears. Students sponsored by the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education cannot get government-funded scholarships in Christchurch this year –Stuff

Confronted with the biggest crisis since the 30s, the trade body for British sociologists proudly displayed its engagement by enumerating articles in the Journal of Niche Studies. All this is a long way from that letter of 1981, let alone Keynes. Perhaps it shows how far academics have been forced to conform to their research assessment exercises and turn out measurable output – The Guardian

TV3’s new Sunday morning offering, Three60, is sponsored by Massey University in a deal some sources say could be worth around $50,000. Professor Malcolm Wright, Massey University’s head of journalism, appeared onThree60 to discuss the Rupert Murdoch saga. The sponsor became the commentator. In doing so, the tertiary institution got more buck for their endorsement dollar than if they had flashed a logo on screen at the commencement of the show – which they did. Is this part of the deal? – The New Zealand Herald

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