What is your story on the impact of Qld State Govt cuts in the university?
Have your say
The NTEU is building a list of the impacts of State Government cuts on the programs and staff at the University. We need your input to create a comprehensive list, so we can develop an appropriate response. In the comment box please put in details of: 1. Where the cuts have occurred; 2. Consequences for workers involved (job losses, workloads, morale); and 3. Anticipated impacts (cut to services, economic, social and environmental consequences etc.)
NTEU response to UQ Vice-Chancellor's Integrity and Accountability Reform Program
18 May 2012 - Response to announcement by the University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debbie Terry, regarding the ‘UQ Integrity and Accountability Reform Program’. The NTEU welcomes the action proposed by the University to address the admission irregularity which occurred last year. Whilst we have not been consulted nor involved in proposing or drafting any of the recommendations, noting this may not have been appropriate at that stage, we clearly see that we do now have a role in ensuring that the Reform Program is effective, robust and is not to the detriment of any of our members who will be affected by any resultant changes.
The Union is actively involved on an ongoing basis with the review and drafting of policies and procedures, working closely with University management, and is equally concerned that we grow a ‘strong culture of integrity’. One of our central roles within the University is to provide a balanced input with a strong staff perspective to all the policies and procedures of the University.
As an internal organisation with a large stake in the success of the University, we are committed to ensuring that the expertise of staff forms a significant input into the realisation of reforms that ensure a fair and transparent working environment for all staff and guards against abuse of, or ignorance of, policies and procedures.
We welcome the development of programs ‘focused on ethics, accountability and integrity for the University's key decision makers’, and ‘preventative educational programs for all levels of University leadership’. In view of the situation that occurred last year, this is clearly very appropriate.
The NTEU has been very successful in building its reputation as an organisation with a strong culture of integrity, a robust reputation of transparency and a commitment to fairness and Equity and we are happy to make the offer to direct that experience into the reforms outlined today.
Debra McKenzie - Acting UQ Branch President - 3365 2637
Gordon Lynn - UQ Branch Committee Member - 0411 164 734
Margaret Lee - NTEU Queensland Division Secretary - 0407 646 419
Tags: UQ, governance,
UQ Branch Media Release regarding the UQ Vice-Chancellor's Integrity and Accountability Reform Program
Resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Statement by NTEU UQ Branch Committee
As a public university, the University of Queensland must be held to the highest standards of probity and integrity.
As a union, we also expect that processes concerning the conduct of members of the university should be undertaken in accordance with the principles underlying our collective agreement, including natural justice and procedural fairness. We also recognize the need to respect the privacy of students, on both legal and ethical grounds.
We find ourselves in a situation in which, following an investigation on behalf of the Senate, the Senate of the university has accepted the resignations of the two most senior officers of the university. Members have expressed their concern that one of these resignations will not take effect for several months.
We note that an external investigation was commissioned promptly after allegations were raised, and that the Crime and Misconduct Commission has been kept apprised of the actions of the Senate. However, initial communications concerning the departure of the VC and the SDVC made no reference to an investigation. Only the disclosure of information in the media prompted the Chancellor to reveal the full reason for the departures, and we have concerns about the transparency of the process.
In a situation in which it has been acknowledged at the highest level of the university that there has been a breakdown in checks and balances, it is imperative that we have a discussion on what cultural and structural factors in the university might make such a breakdown in checks and balances possible.
Responding to concerns raised by members in recent weeks, the UQ Branch of the NTEU shall initiate university-wide dialogue in the coming transitional year on the question of what governance reform and cultural change are needed at the university.
At this time, it is worth emphasizing a principle to which NTEU members are deeply attached: a university is a community, comprising leading scholars and highly dedicated professional staff, and of course our students. The University of Queensland consists of several thousand highly-qualified, dedicated and hard-working (often too hard-working) staff. It is to this body of staff that the university owes its distinguished reputation, and it is this body of staff who will continue to make the university a great place of teaching, learning and research.
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UQ Meeting expresses concerns over ERA
In June, staff at the University of Queensland met with NTEU National President Jeannie Rea, to discuss concerns about the ERA (Excellence in Research in Australia) initiative.In her address, Jeannie presented the ongoing issues identified through union meetings at universities around Australia, which have led to the NTEU concluding that the ERA does not enjoy the confidence of Australian academics and researchers.
The main concerns identified are that the ERA is a poorly designed and implemented assessment instrument, and it is being used as a punitive management tool.A range of issues have been raised about the design and implementation of the ERA. Amongst others, these include: a lack of transparency in the weighting of indicators in each discipline; a failure to reflect the reality or complexity of the existing research landscape through an unwillingness to move away from or modify the traditional Field of Research (FoR) codes in an attempt to assess multidisciplinary research and, in particular cannot be truly considered to be an Australian instrument as long as it fails to explicitly acknowledge or respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges as a Field of Research.
Jeannie also told the meeting that the NTEU believes, based on the 2010 outcomes, that the ERA appears to contain a systematic bias against research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and has a very real potential to discourage quality research into Australian culture or society and/or research with a strong domestic policy focus.A further serious concern of the NTEU is that the ERA is capable of being manipulated or gamed. This was most evident from the activities of publishers and editors of journals in their efforts to lobby have authors and or members to participate in the ARC review of journal rankings. And consequently these rankings have now been abandoned.
The meeting passed two resolutions:
THE NTEU ERA RESOLUTION
(updated following Senator Carr’s 30 May 2011 statement)
While we recognise and applaud Senator Carr’s (30 May 2011) announcement of changes to the ERA, including the abolition of the Journal A* to C rankings, this meeting of university staff:
- Does not have confidence that ERA will improve the quality of research being undertaken at Australian universities without further modification;
- Is concerned that the ERA will continue to be inappropriately used in performance management, redundancies, promotions, appointments and grant applications;
- Is concerned that the current ERA has the propensity to restrict research capacity by denying academic staff, including early career academics, and general staff opportunities to engage in research;
- Is concerned that the Field of Research Categorisations still do not recognise Indigenous Research as Field of Research, and that the weight to be attached to multidisciplinary research has not been given adequate consideration.
UQ BRANCH RESOLUTION
We call upon the Federal Government to continue to address identified flaws of the ERA before the commencement of the 2012 exercise, noting that this can only be done following meaningful dialogue with staff and their representatives.
In view of the misuse of journal rankings reflected by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in his statement of 7 May 2011, this meeting of the UQ Branch of the NTEU demands UQ management to desist from any use of in-house journal rankings including the QIndex in the appraisal of staff or for workload allocation.