VC Lloyd launches work on a programme-based UniSA structure

The University of South Australia will not restructure and then stop; “structure is a means to a managerial end, it’s not the definition of us. It has to be workable and it should enable our stated ambition,” VC David Lloyd tells staff. And what he wants to do is much bigger than changing reporting lines and budget holders.

what this is about: The plan (CMM January 21), Vice Chancellor David Lloyd tells staff, in a briefing on reconfiguring the university, is “to pivot our structure and organisation around our core products. And to organise ourselves in this fashion.”

Following the senior staff conference last week, Professor Lloyd has set out the foundations of a new model for the university, based on its academic programmes;

“we want fewer operational silos and we want them to be built around programmes. We want to strengthen programme leadership. We want academics spending their time on teaching and research. Whatever academic structure we describe therefore has to be appropriately supported by corporate and academic professional services. We have to get the academic structure right first, aligned to our ambition – programme focus, fewer silos – and then we make sure the services structure is right.”

Professor Lloyd floats a key new role, programme deans, senior staff, “who have ownership and leadership of our most valuable assets – our curriculum.”

And he suggests an end to existing academic operating units; “we don’t have schools. We have new groupings of academics, built around programmes, with programme deans providing academic leadership and focused on programs.”

Where things are now: The senior staff conference came up with multiple models of programme-based (generally seven) operating units working together and, “the experiment demonstrated that we can cluster programmes to describe (a) new structure. The principles provide boundary conditions for future roles and responsibilities within that structure,” Lloyd says.

What happens next: There will be a second pass at a new model in April, undertaken by “a very large number of staff – and students.”

Then – and only then – we will be in a position to effect a change. When we have worked it all through and thought about it. When we have taken the input of the wider university community on populating a new structure and when we all understand it and how we are going to get to it. So – no secrets. No determination. Just one team – building a new enterprise. Watch this space,” Professor Lloyd says.


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