Media Release: Quality of Student Services at Risk at University of Melbourne
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has demanded the University of Melbourne scrap plans that would put the quality of student support services at risk, Ted Clark, the NTEU University of Melbourne Branch President revealed today.
The risks come from the University executive management’s proposal to cut the positions of key student service staff, some of whom have won highly regarded national and international awards for outstanding service and innovation in provision of student support services.
“These latest proposed cuts threaten the quality and viability of critical student support services, and ultimately will mean fewer specialist staff and less support for students,” said Mr Clark.
“Students should rightly be concerned at how these changes will impact their access to expertise and on the quality of support services, including counselling and disability services, specialist support services for international students, careers and employment advice and assistance and critical academic skills support, student leadership programs, student housing and financial aid services,” he said.
Many of the staff whose positions are targeted are widely respected multi-award winners, and have received prestigious national or international awards for their work in recent years.
“These staff have an incredible depth of knowledge in their areas of professional expertise. Members have told the Union that they believe the ramifications of the proposed structural changes are serious and long-lasting, and could jeopardise the capacity of the University to support students in complex situations,” Mr Clark said.
“The University should be increasing investment in student support services and ensuring that students at the University of Melbourne have the support that is needed, not trying to trim budgets,” said Mr Clark.
The NTEU yesterday demanded the University executive management withdraw the planned job losses, and instead seek to engage genuinely with students, academics and other staff who all use these services.
Ted Clark, NTEU University of Melbourne President, 0402 744 912
Alex White, NTEU Communications and Campaigns Officer, 0403 694 397, email@example.com
List of awards that have been won by some of the staff whose positions are targeted:
2011: The University of Melbourne Gerry Baretto Award, for “an outstanding contribution to a high quality student experience at the University of Melbourne, over many years, consistently delivering services that are of outstanding quality”.
2010: The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) award for the implementation of the Diagnostic English Language Assessment (DELA) test for international students. This award is granted for Best Practice/Innovation in International Education.
2010: The Gold Award at the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Service Achievement Awards for the University of Melbourne’s Mental Health Strategy.
2009: Citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
2009: The University of Melbourne Gerry Baretto Award for Outstanding Student Services at the University of Melbourne, for “excellence in the provision of service to students”.
2008: The University of Melbourne Norman Curry Award for Innovation and Excellence in Educational Programs, for “Live Remote Captioning: a system for supporting the participation of deaf students in classroom environments on campus, including in lectures and tutorials”.
2008 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, for “excellence in disability services”.
2005: The University of Melbourne Norman Curry Award for Innovation and Excellence in Educational Programs, for 'Postgraduate Essentials: Strategies for a successful start to your PhD'.