Swinburne U proposes cuts that start at the top

Back in October new Swinburne U VC Pascale Quester told staff the university needed 150 positions to go. Nothing has changed 

Except that delayed proposals on how to reduce numbers are now out for consultation. And the VC proposes cutting from the top.

In a Friday message to staff Professor Quester proposed abolishing the three PVCs of faculties

“The unintended consequence of the current faculty structure is that it has added, rather than assisted, administrative burden. To support our academic schools, we are proposing to remove this layer of administration to reduce decision-making layers, improve communication and reduce administrative costs,” the VC wrote.

The proposal means the deans of the eight schools would report direct to the DVC A.

Reviews of operating units are now out for consideration

In September, a voluntary redundancy round concluded but reviews of “operations and services” were still underway, “to ensure that we are operating with the optimal model and footprint for a post COVID-19 world,” (CMM September 15).

A month later VC Pascale Quester told staff that the university was still $45m short for 2020, after savings and VRs, and the reviews had found ways to eliminate 150 positions (CMM October 21).

Cue campus outrage with an open staff meeting, convened by the  National Tertiary Education Union expressing  no confidence in the VC (CMM November 13) and challenging aspects of the review consultation process – which are now sorted out.

On Friday Professor Quester told staff consultations are back on for student admin, the library and for the faculties of business-law and science-engineering-technology. They will run until December 18

Consultations in the health-arts-design faculty, academic innovation and International also started Friday and run to December 18. The global and community engagement consultation starts Wednesday and runs to December 23.

“No decisions in relation to the change proposals have been made at this time and this will not occur until the consultation process is complete,” the VC stated.