Welcome to the first teaching week for semester one 2011. By now you will be aware of new student expectations within your area and some of you will have been confronted the many adjustments arising from ‘Operational Excellence’. Remember your well-being should not suffer by marginalised resourcing. If the new operations are in need of adjustments make sure that you inform your line manager and colleagues regarding any specific problems and potential solutions. Keep a record of your recommendations and the date forwarded. If you do not report or try and respond to the issues, then existing problems will continue to impact upon other operations and your well-being.
Staff at Mount Lawley
Building 13 (the former staff room - is refurbished) and the students are taking their turn to be informed. Meanwhile, the new staff room to be located at the back of lecture theatre 17:157 is just beginning to commence. The angle-grinders and fenced off areas add to the ambiance of the campus. It is unfortunate that this new minor staff room lacked the same priority as the refurbishment of Building 13. Hopefully, this smaller staffroom will be completed during this semester ready for winter. In addition, extra space will be required to support staff needs and there was a firm understanding that a second staff room would be provided.
Security and night work
Staff concerned about their personal safety when working back late at night should ring security to see them safely to their vehicle. If you experience any threatening behaviour, suspect unusual individuals or groups, please err on the side of caution and report the incident to security straight away. Again keep a record of incidents and keep safe. If you feel that your workplace is unsafe you need to report the issue and reframe from any unsafe practices.
Academic Staff Performance Expectations and Outcomes Framework
Recently, Professor Arshad Omari (Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Academic) conducted consultation workshops. The University is heading towards academic expectation that will emphasise a preferred mix that includes: 50% Teaching, 30% research and 20% University Service. The forum I attended was well organised and provided a full disclosure of the framework, as well as an opportunity for feedback.
However, many practical issues will test the framework. Professor Omari emphasised that with 14 difference Schools, with different disciplines and staffing profiles, flexibility of the 50:30:20 balance would be essential. The ‘devil’ will always be in the detail. For example, the size of the School, as well as financial constraints will be the major factors that will see a range of interpretations of the framework. The issue being is whether these interpretations will be equitable.
Finally, securing appropriately qualified staff still is another concern for allowing colleagues to pursue research and serve the University. With Western Australia facing a skills shortage the issue of finding appropriate sessional and full-time staff, will have a major impact upon the implementation of the proposed model. If you have concerns or practical ideas to improve the proposal, become part of the debate and contact Michelle Lim or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor-Academic.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The Branch supports the University’s development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to build on ECU's ‘Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians’. Many members joined in the recent workshop and offered a range of perspectives. The overall feeling being that it was important to see practical operational change. Therefore, RAP will have to provide greater accountability, measurable outcomes and an independent verification of ECU’s contribution towards addressing ‘Indigenous disadvantage’, with the intention of ‘closing the gap’. I urge all members to continue to support this important initiative.
International Women's Day
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the first International Women's Day. This is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women, past, present and future. UnionsWA will be holding a ‘sundowner’ function at Stirling Gardens on Tuesday 8th March from 4 - 7 pm, to celebrate the achievements and to highlight equity campaigns. All NTEU members and families are invited to attend.
WA Division and the ECU Branch 2011
Recently I have had several members ask about the structure of the NTEU and how it is managed in WA. .
The ECU Branch is one of five branches associated with the five universities in Perth. Judy McCulloch is our Senior Industrial Office who works for ECU member three days a week. Arnold Lee is an Industrial Organiser who is allocated one day per week. Jayne van Dalen is our busy Branch Organise who runs the office and with Arnold Lee undertakes the responsibility for planning and coordinating this year’s campaigns and the committee.
The five branches form the WA NTEU Division. The Division Chair is Ms Gabe Gooding and the Divisional Secretary Dr Lyn Bloom, is employed on a full-time basis to manage the staffing and priorities within the WA Division. The various State Divisions form the National body situated in Victoria, and the National NTEU Secretary is Graham McCulloch.
Finally, the functioning of your union and the level of support that it offers members depends upon membership. The more members we attract the greater range of services we can provide, so please welcome any new colleagues and invite them to join the union. Together we are stronger – solidarity!
Dr Geoff Lummis (Acting Branch President)
1st March 2011