The University of Canberra will review its assistant professor scheme, created to fast-track research growth. Just before Christmas VC Deep Saini told staff that while he could see “no compelling reason” to abandon it, “many of you have pointed out significant areas for improvement and have made valuable suggestions on how to achieve this.”
Assistant professors have seven years and two performance reviews to build research reps to qualify for permanent positions but the scheme is not universally supported. In October 30 Uni Canberra professors and aspros wrote to Professor Saini warning, “the human, organisational, and cultural costs to the people involved, their colleagues, and the university outweigh any benefits that may accrue,” ( CMM October 19). The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union agrees, warning of the schemes “unconscionable side-effects” and calling for assistant professors to be given continuing employment.
With the university losing a staff vote on an enterprise agreement offer put without union support (CMM November 13)it seems Professor Saini is looking to neutralise assistant professors as an issue.