Flinders U union warns academics to brace for change

An academic restructure is imminent at Flinders U and the union is warning people at risk.

A couple of weeks back VC Colin Stirling told CMM the university “is formalising our research expectations of staff” with performance metrics to be set by academic rank and discipline.

“The university invests significant academic resources in research and it is appropriate that we should expect to see high quality outcomes as a result,” he says ( CMM August 9).

According to National Tertiary Education Union branch president Andrew Miller, “the cull lists are real and the university’s plans to shrink the teaching and research academic workforce are building momentum.”

Dr Miller says two groups of academic should brace for impact.  Some staff “will fall foul” of new research benchmarks. Others at risk, “teach smaller ‘unprofitable’ topics that don’t attract large student cohorts. This does not mean such staff aren’t excellent teachers teaching important material, but it does mean the university might deem staff with ‘unpopular’ discipline knowledge surplus to need.”

“We must be ready for the change proposals coming our way. Jobs will be on the line,” he says.

To which Flinders management replies that the NTEU insisted on creating teaching-specialist positions via a formal change process and, “the university is considering how it might meet this union requirement.”


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