Qld NTEU President Andrew Bonnell had an excellent letter published in the Australian Higher Education Supplement on Wednesday 12th Jan (see below or view the letter online at the Australian.)
HAVING just read Ian Argall's letter to the HES, I find myself wondering what I am still doing in my office three weeks after submitting my final marks for last semester (a transaction that took about 10 minutes).
In fact, I am supervising and examining PhDs, reviewing journal articles, fielding queries from honours students and others about next year, preparing courses for next semester, finishing off a couple of publications with overdue deadlines, planning a grant application, and doing the dozens of admin tasks that keep coming throughout the year.
And yet Argall writes that grade submissions are the "only remaining duties before Christmas" for university staff, and thus justifies the standing down of staff applying bans at UNSW and Macquarie.
Is it possible that after so many years associated with the higher education sector, Argall still has so little understanding of academic work these days? If so, it is any wonder he has so little appreciation of the importance of continuing employment and job security for the staff at UNSW and Macquarie, who have been forced to take industrial action? They have taken this step not just for themselves, but in the longer-term interest of universities and students.
Dr Andrew Bonnell, Senior lecturer, history, National Tertiary Education Union branch president, University of Queensland