Melbourne Graduate School of Education has another go at workloads

The MGSE  is “working toward a fairer and balanced approach”

Dean Jim Watterston tells staff that adoption of a consultant report on teaching workloads will benefit 78 per cent of staff, with the remainder “not impacted.”

“The new model for 2020 will see an overall reduction in teaching allocations. The school will need to make an increased investment in staffing in order to address the subsequent gap. This will be factored into the budget for 2020,” Dr Watterston says.

Back in 2017, before he started, the GSE ended a bunch of fixed term academic positions and created new continuing ones, with a doctorate an “essential criteria for” teaching-research and teaching specialist roles (CMM September 7 and 8).

This did not work out to the satisfaction of all, as the Wells Advisory review of the MGSE teaching workload reported in July, “MGSE has undergone significant change in recent years. There is a perception that reductions to the staffing profile in 2017, coupled with the departure of senior academics, resulted in increased teaching workloads which in turn impacted research performance.”

According to Wells Advisory, the perception of higher workload could be due to a decrease in teaching-specialist staff from 58 in 2016 to 31 in 2018, this meant a redistribution of teaching hours among research and teaching staff.

Which should explain a decline in research output – but doesn’t entirely. The Wells’ review found research income dropped from $12.m in 2016 to $9.8m in 2018 and Web of Science listed publications declined from 326 to 242 between 2014-16 and 2017.  “The data suggest that the research underperformance may not be solely attributable to increases in teaching load as there appears to be a downward trend preceding the increase.”

Then again it may have been due to who left  – while  there were seven more Level D academics there were three fewer Level Es. “

“Anecdotally, staff have stated that the loss of senior researchers has had a direct and significant impact on research income and publications.”


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