The academic restructure at Flinders University now seems unstoppable, with a recommendation by Fair Work Commissioner Christopher Platt that, “the organisational change process should continue with some urgency.”
The restructure involves identified academics across the whole university variously being appointed to, competing for, research or teaching-specialist roles, or leaving.
The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has vigorously opposed the process, arguing it undervalues the work of teaching-research staff but management has won the industrial arguments it needed to roll-out the restructure (CMM October 2).
Yesterday Commissioner Platt recommended that union and management agree to the restructure process, saying “the operational change being embarked upon by the university appears genuine,” and that staff should know what the restructure means for substantive positions today week, with job outcomes settled by the middle of January.
The commissioner directed both sides to confirm acceptance of his recommendation yesterday, which CMM understands occurred.
There is no word on how many positions are involved as there are staff who have yet to express a preference for what jobs they want, or don’t. “We won’t prejudge how many people may transition into new positions, because that’s still being worked out with their input, “ Vice Chancellor Colin Stirling said last night.
But whatever occurs this is a big deal for Flinders. In 2016 Vice Chancellor Colin Stirling announced he wanted a new academic structure where, “new specialist academic roles will enhance our capacity to deliver exceptional educational programs and provide a career path for the finest educators. These new roles will enable us to increase our investment in outstanding research, building critical mass, and developing research leaders of the future (CMM May 23 2016).”
It looks like he is about to get it.