Otago’s humanities core to its reputation

Posted By TEU on Aug 18, 2016 | 2 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 29

World class universities like Otago need strong, diverse humanities departments to preserve their reputation, says TEU branch president Tree La Rooy.

Humanities staff at the University of Otago plan to hold a rally next Wednesday to let management know that the humanities matter, not just to current students but to potential future students who are weighing where to travel for a globally recognised degree ( Facebook event).

The university plans to cut up to 20 jobs in Anthropology and Archaeology, English and Linguistics, History, Languages and Cultures and Music. It is also considering a review of Education early next year along with Philosophy, Social Work and Classics.

TEU national president Sandra Grey, who will attend the rally, says many people who work and study in Otago’s division of humanities feel vulnerable at the moment, and they should not need to.

“Otago’s reputation is that of a proud, independent, southern university that fiercely protects its diverse courses from government interference. It should continue to do the same today.”

Grey says just because there is outside pressure to move students from humanities disciplines to STEM subjects, Dunedin need not buckle.

“In the long-term, nobody studying STEM subjects will benefit from an Otago University that accedes to the government’s direction by diminishing students’ opportunity to study history, culture, music and other arts.”

Union members from across the Division of Humanities passed a resolution last Friday, rejecting the change management process which the university is imposing on its Division of Humanities.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Victoria University staff want ‘old fashioned’ pay negotiations
  2. Jacinta Ruru wins highest teaching award
  3. Unitec shuts the door on North Shore campus
  4. Government must do more to get regions working

Other news

While tired cliches are to be expected from sports stars, investors deserve more from Intueri’s CEO who presided over the destruction of hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value – New Zealand Herald

New Zealand universities, like many elsewhere, are increasingly seen as a part of the mechanism for stimulating economic growth. So much so, that students are encouraged to attend to increase their future incomes; they even take out loans as an investment in the course which, they are promised, will give them a high return – Brian Easton

On the occasion of the 2016 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Education International is reiterating that education must be available for all without discrimination, accessible, publicly funded and free – Education International

Students’ changing preferences have forced a  difficult task on the University of Otago, writes Prof Tony Ballantyne – Otago Daily Times

The place of humanities in a university raises issues that extend far beyond one department, argues Emeritus Prof  Gareth Jones – Otago Daily Times


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