What now for U New England

Chancellor James Harris says change begun by former VC Hewywood “will continue”

DVC Simon Evans was named acting VC on Friday – which is regarded as a positive – he is new to UNE and considered capable  and careful – a leader who understands the reasons for rules and sticks to them.

UNE observers suggest that his first challenge is staff morale but that he must also manage Professor Heywood’s plans for the university. In his Friday announcement of Professor Heywood’s resignation Mr Harris referred to her decadal “Future Fit” strategy and organisational change, saying “these endeavours will continue.”

Not all, however, are going well. There are competing plans for a new academic workload model, from both management and a staff committee, which have been debated for months – management cancelled a Friday meeting in the Fair Work Commission. And observers point to problems in staffing, research admin and student services, in part due to staff cuts.

Whatever he does, UNE observers are adamant, Professor Evans cannot sit tight and wait for a permanent appointment to be made, that the university community needs leadership, now.