Trimester tribulation as UNSW transforms

At UNSW, the union speaks up against the new trimester timetable

Back in March Vice Chancellor Ian Jacobs invited staff to comment on stage two of his 2025 timetable – which the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has done, fully and frankly.

The union accepts the good-intentions of the plan but overall warns; “as a result of the strategy, existing staff have been subject to much needless pressure and disruption to work practices leading to constant stress and confusion.”

The NTEU points to a range of issues, including; professional staff restructures, “confusion and job insecurity are now the norm,” research benchmarks, “there is no recognition of potential bias that favours some sub-disciplines above others” and casualisation, “rampant under the 2025 strategy.”

And it is also upset with the new trimester system, warning;

* teachers and students cannot cope with the pace and volume of content in trimester subjects, which are, “a series of 10 week-to-week sprints”

* “the exam marking period is so short that exams have to be simplified”

* teaching in trimesters leaves no time for research

There is more but you get the idea.

Most of the staff concerns the union channels will diminish as the 2025 restructure beds down. But right now, the trimester controversy is very bad indeed for management – there is no way the university could can it but a great deal of damage is being done to the leadership’s standing  with staff and many students as they learn how to cope with, or endure, it.


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