There are fears at La Trobe U that management will spill 40 of 54 academic jobs in the School of Education. The university tells staff change is necessary to address state and federal requirements and declining enrolments which, “threaten the sustainability of SOE.”
The university also wants to change content and delivery at regional campuses, committing to, “refreshing and renewing our course portfolio” and to have visiting academics, “providing more online and block/intensive mode delivery on our regional campuses.” Management also intends to hire research-active academics, to “heighten our reputation as a school of choice in the teacher education landscape.”
Of the 40 academic jobs, 15 are only open to existing staff, one is recently filled and will continue and 21 new roles will be open-advertised. Displaced continuing staff will have priority over applicants now on fixed-term contracts. Five professional staff continuing roles are also effected. The university estimates that 30 existing staff “will be potentially retained” in the new structure and 25 “potentially displaced”.
Education academic and National Tertiary Education Union spokeswomen Cathleen Farrelly warns, “regional campuses will be strongest hit, losing high levels of expertise and experience as jobs go in regional communities.”
The restructure is outlined in a change proposal, which management wants to implement for the start of next year. But no one should fear the aftermath of a tense summer; the change plan assures them; “A healthy and collegial environment will provide a safe space for risk-taking, innovative practice and collaboration in teaching and research. Our core values are to be connected and caring, so staff and students feel supported to be innovative and accountable. “