MASSEY UNIVERSITY AND AUS REACH AGREEMENT
The Association of University Staff (AUS) and Massey University have agreed that the union's litigation regarding
Massey's repositioning project need not proceed. The case -- to have been heard in the High Court in Wellington next
week -- related to procedural aspects of the project. It has been agreed that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor James
McWha, will seek the support of the University Council for a review of structures and processes for academic
policymaking at all levels within the university. AUS believes that the agreement on the review acknowledges the
importance of collegial decision-making and we will work with the University towards a successful outcome.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Governance changes coming
2. Loans draining the brains
3. AUS says No to Singapore free trade
4. Lake Taupo University College closer
5. AUS advisor on Employment Authority
6. Sector briefs
GOVERNANCE CHANGES COMING
The government plans to introduce legislation this year clarifying the role of tertiary councils, and allowing greater
government involvement when institutions are in difficulty. The Associate Minister, Steve Maharey told a student forum
at Victoria University that governance and management in the tertiary sector needs to improve if institutions are to
meet the demands of students, society and industry. "National's underfunding of the sector has been a major contributor
to the financial distress many institutions find themselves in. But it is not only underfunding which has caused
institutions' financial problems", he said. Instead of acting as an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, government
wanted to build fences at the top -- leaving to their own devices institutions that were operating well, but being there
to help those that aren't.
LOANS DRAINING THE BRAINS
University students are hammering home the point that it is the student loans scheme that is sending our bright young
people to greener pastures overseas. The New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) has strongly criticised
the Business Roundtable-funded "Young New Zealanders" advertisements in the national press, saying they ignore the loans
scheme as the key reason for the 'brain drain'. "Students who stay in New Zealand", says NZUSA co-president, Sam
Huggard, "are faced with the prospect of a higher marginal tax rate than other New Zealanders, when their 10 cent in the
dollar student loan repayment is taken into consideration". NZUSA officials will be outlining their case for lower fees
and improved living allowances to stem the emigration flow when Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee this
month begins its inquiry into fees, loans and allowances.
AUS SAYS NO TO SINGAPORE FREE TRADE
The Association of University Staff (AUS) has urged the Select Committee hearing submissions on the proposed free trade
and investment agreement with Singapore NOT to recommend ratification of the deal. Executive Director, Rob Crozier told
the committee the AUS strongly opposed the inclusion of tertiary education as well as research in the trade agreements.
He pointed out that by including research, funding through mechanisms such as the Marsden Fund could be accessed by
Singaporean researchers, with catastrophic effects on New Zealand research. Mr Crozier also doubted the free trade
agreement would mean more Singaporean students studying in New Zealand since Singapore makes it clear that it will not
recognise New Zealand degrees for professional practice in that country.
LAKE TAUPO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CLOSER
A preliminary agreement has been signed between the Lake Taupo Development Company, the University of Limerick in
Ireland, and Victoria University to set up a University College in Taupo specialising in Information Technology (IT).
The proposed institution would be a core part of a high tech incubator and business park offering employment to the
graduates and investing venture capital in the most innovative student projects. The first courses are planned for 2002.
The venture has the support of local Maori.
AUS ADVISOR ON EMPLOYMENT AUTHORITY
Congratulations to Christchurch solicitor, Philip Cheyne -- AUS legal adviser for a number of years -- on his
appointment to the Employment Relations Authority. The Authority has been set up under the Employment Relations Act to
investigate disputes that cannot be solved by mediation. We appreciate the work Philip has put in on our behalf over the
years, and know he will continue to make a valuable contribution in the new position.
The deadline for submissions from Massey and the Auckland College of Education as to why they should be allowed to merge
has been extended until 30 November.
UCOL polytechnic in Palmerston North is offering an employment guarantee to its students. Students who enrol for courses
in 2001 can study another course at the polytechnic for free if they have failed to get a job within 6 months of
graduating with their original qualification.
Alliance List MP, Liz Gordon is supporting Victoria University's Geology Department in its battle to stave off staff
cuts (see "Tertiary Update", Vol. 3 No. 32). Her reasons are very simple -- the map she has on her office wall at
Parliament is a daily reminder that the capital sits on a series of active fault lines. "The big one will be very
dangerous, but it might not be a catastrophe, and, if it is not, this will be because many fine scientific minds have
been applied to minimising the effects." Her message to Vic. -- "Saving Geology now might save us later!"
TAIWAN REFORMS ITS UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
Taiwan has announced sweeping changes to its university education system that will see a move away from rote learning to
an emphasis on creativity. US$50m. has been set aside over a four year period to allow public and private institutions
to change their curricula and set up new courses and programmes as they move away from the traditional "memory-focused
approach" to a more creative learning style that blends theory into practice.
PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN AUSTRLIAN UNIVERSITIES AT DANGEROUS LOW
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) in Australia says the initial stages of an audit it is carrying out of
higher education has highlighted the need for substantial reinvestment in universities. The study finds that since the
Commonwealth government assumed full responsibility for university funding in the mid-1970s, the allocation has fallen
from 1.6% of GDP to 0.8% in 1998-99, with much of the fall being in the latter part of the 1990s. The full paper --
entitled "Public Revenue and Spending on Tertiary Education, Research and Development" -- is available from the NTEU web
site at http://www.nteu.org.au
AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back
issues are archived on the AUS website: http://www.aus.ac.nz. Direct enquiries to Rob Crozier, AUS executive director.