Off the research express at Uni Canberra  

Unhappy members of the Uni Canberra assistant professor scheme are able to opt out

The scheme was created to lift the university’s research standing, by giving members seven years to meet output targets that qualify them for continuing positions. While management liked it, some senior academics and assistant profs, plus the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union didn’t, warning of the workload and psychological pressure to publish it placed on participants.

Back in January Vice Chancellor Deep Saini agreed to review the scheme, which accounts for 20 per cent of the university’s academics. A report is expected at month end but while the review panel is said to be “still deliberating” on the review, an opt-out policy for those who don’t want to wait is in-place. The university says it option was developed in cooperation with the NTEU during enterprise bargaining.

This document gives eligible assistant professors until January to apply to exit the scheme and for appointment as continuing staff, with pay-grade, “subject to the nature of the role which the employee is appointed to.”

Uni Canberra states, “in developing this policy the university had regard to the provisions of section 40B(1)(b) of the Human Rights Act 2004.” For those whose minds it momentarily slips, this states; “it is unlawful for a public authority in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right.” CMM wonders whether this relates to an assistant professor in February lodging a workplace health and safety notification about the pressures the scheme placed on people.

The scheme review is expected to recommend it continue.


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