Bitter-sweet change at UC College of Arts

Posted By TEU on Aug 29, 2013 |

The council at the University of Canterbury endorsed a ‘sustainable financial position’ proposal for the university’s College of Arts last night. The proposal aims to create an overall staff: student ratio of 1:24, but with different ratios within each department. Thus most departments will likely need to cut their staffing numbers to meet their new staff: student ratios. In some cases current majors, such as theatre and film studies, will become minors.

TEU branch president Jack Heinemann told the university’s Academic Board that the university’s engagement and consultation with staff is much better than last year.

“TEU does not rejoice in the inevitability of further losses of jobs that this plan signals. Our membership does not embrace the loss of academic programmes and courses. It has been our role to ensure, however, that any process that might have this result is fair, transparent and in the best interests of the university, its students and our members.”

TEU hopes that by the time the final proposal is developed next month, and everyone has been offered the change of voluntary redundancy, there will be no need for any forced redundancies.

Jack Heinemann also warned though that other colleges are also under financial stress and the university is currently consulting on a number of other change proposals, with likely more to come.

“These proposals too, if accepted, will result in forced redundancies. From our perspective, the process behind the development of the College of Arts’ strategic plan has been one of the best models to emulate, despite its bitter-sweet goals. We encourage the university leadership to make note of how this process differs from past processes to secure the value of its lessons for setting future strategic goals. However, this should not be seen as the final model, but as the prototype for designing processes that make even greater use of bottom-up wisdom and top-down practicality.”

TEU says the on-going cuts are the direct result of the government failing to fund the university adequately while it recovers from the earthquakes.

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