Uni SA’s David Lloyd on change: it hurts and that’s never funny

The VC tells staff he once used a presentation slide of “An American werewolf in London” (think Dirty Dancing for lycranthophiles) but he won’t do it again

What this is about: Uni SA’s VC wraps the year with a staff message recognising the pain two years of uncertainty created. He says he once used the werewolf image to make the point that “change can be frightening,” but he won’t do it again, recognising it “over-trivialises” what people have been through.

Like last year’s proposed merger with Uni Adelaide: The potential for major change was everywhere and quite literally everyone was impacted. The universe/university as we know it could have ceased to be.”

And like the new academic structure now being established: “Moving from divisions and schools to seven academic units. No matter how many times we re-iterate the mantra ‘the minimum impact on the maximum number of people’, no matter how people-focused our principles are and our approach to change is, at the end of the day we are still enacting change. Change is happening to people and for people. Outside of their control. And for some, that can indeed, be frightening.”

And needed and supported though the new structure is, creating it was painful: “That’s why I’m retiring the werewolf slide. It’s no longer funny. It’s not respectful of the impact of change. We all have friends and colleagues who are affected and that affects us all. We also have friends and colleagues who are working incredibly diligently to minimise that impact to the best of their abilities and to make this process of change one which is realised with dignity and respect.”

So what’s happening: The old discipline-based academic structure, (four divisions, 14 schools is out) and seven new “ teaching curriculum communities (CMM April 16 and July 16 (correct)) are nearly in.

CMM hears executive deans are being interviewed now, with them to appoint their teams – programme and research deans and general managers, in the new year. Transition to the new structure is scheduled for April 6. Word is that everybody involved, other than people applying for top jobs now has a fair idea where they will sit.


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