Jobs disappear into the Cloud
Deakin’s leadership is pledged to deliver a revolutionary digital and educationally engaged future for students and staff. But at the same time it is getting rid of just those staff whose skills are core to this way of working.
Between June 27 and July 6 sixteen redundancies were notified to the union. Four of these jobs were in the former Deakin Institute of Teaching and Learning; seven from Knowledge Media Division; three from the School of Information Systems; one from the School of Architecture and Building and one from Facilities Services Division. Eight of these positions were located at Waterfront; seven at Burwood; and one at Waurn Ponds. Beside these forced redundancies a number of people in the above areas have felt that they have had to quit ‘voluntarily’ or reduce their time fraction.The holders of some contracts have been told not to expect renewal.
A number of news media have reported the NTEU’s puzzlement over this contradiction. We can only conclude that the current massive television marketing and re-branding campaign and the elaborate multi-campus launch of the LIVE strategy, has cost millions of dollars. These millions are being replaced by the cessation of front line education services.
Another concern springs from the way management are spruiking their changes. Earlier this year, in response to CReaTe the branch web site at http://www.nteu.org.au/deakin/ carried our view that:
“Papers CD03, CD04, and CD05 are disturbing in a number of ways. Firstly they seem deaf to the continuing failure of university management to engage with the multiple difficulties of current Deakin operations including current workload, pedagogical, administrative and education delivery realities. Secondly there is no analysis of the persistent shortcomings of university management over the decades – and it is now decades – to properly assess, install and implement new technologies. Those of us who have been around for a while would have expected that by now there would be some degree of embarrassed self-consciousness over the repetition of the same breathless and bright-eyed wonder about coming technological miracles.”
The elaborate and extremely costly LIVE launch underscores the above view that the university leadership seems out of touch with existing staff knowledge and sentiment about digital matters.
Multi-campus video link ups have been common at Deakin since the 1990s. Some have included links to other universities including those overseas. These have been useful links involving students for teaching purposes with no extra costs involved. The June 28th show-pony treatment of what is in fact old hat, paid for with savings from the wages of sacked staff, reinforces our concern.
Every industry is embracing digital technology. At national NTEU meetings colleagues have confirmed that Deakin’s plans are similar to those of many Australian universities. There was no need to waste money on ballyhoo which states the obvious. What is needed is job security and respect for skilled and hard working staff who are trying to cope with complex demands.
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