Five humanities departments face cuts at Otago

Posted By TEU on Aug 4, 2016 | 1 comment

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 27

Twenty people could lose their jobs at the University of Otago as it reviews and restructures its humanities division.

An email from the university’s pro-vice chancellor of Humanities, Tony Ballantyne, says he will start management of change processes within Anthropology and Archaeology, English and Linguistics, History (with change also probable in Art History), Languages and Cultures and Music.

Ballantyne also told people working in the humanities division that it is probable the university will restructure its College of Education early next year and that Philosophy, Social Work and Classics will be reassessed later next year.

The university is currently meeting with people who work in all the affected departments outlining the process for change.

Ballantyne says he is committed to preserving the university’s status as a “diverse and comprehensive humanities division”.

However, he also says the changes are about cutting costs and saving money.

TEU national president Sandra Grey says people working in the humanities division, particularly those in the departments the university has identified, are extremely worried about their jobs, and also about their future students.

Grey says TEU is advocating to protect its members, but also to protect opportunities for future humanities students.

“At the moment Otago is not suggesting it will cut programmes, but we are worried about future students losing choices and opportunities.”

Grey says a strong humanities division is essential to large, modern universities such as Otago.

“Our universities have to resist the pressure from outside to cut away arts and humanities. We cannot let this outside pressure be the only thing that dictates what universities do and do not teach,” says Grey.

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