University review - Arts and Education and Social Work

The University of Auckland is currently consulting with academic staff about proposed changes to the Faculty of Education & Social Work (FESW), and Faculty of Arts (FoA).

University of Auckland's ClockTower

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, says that student enrolments in these faculties have been declining in recent years (although increasing overall). Because University funding is driven by student numbers, it has become necessary to address the numbers of academic staff relative to the declining numbers of students.

“While the faculties have worked hard to address this, and the University administration has buffered them with extra funding, the present situation is not sustainable,” he says.

“The issue is widespread across FESW, and in FoA appears to be located mainly in the School of Cultures, Languages & Linguistics (CLL). Accordingly, I've asked the two relevant Deans to begin consultation with staff on proposed approaches to address the situation.”

Professor McCutcheon said the process was in two parts, with the first looking at the nature and scope of the review and selection criteria. The documents shared with the faculty staff propose a reduction in staff numbers in CLL by 11.8 full time equivalent positions (FTE). The current FTE positions in the School is 55.8.

The proposed reduction in FESW is approximately 29 academic FTE; natural attrition this year has reduced this number to approximately 23.4 FTE. The current number of positions in the Faculty is 155. Subject to the outcomes of the first phase of consultation, the second phase will propose the specific positions to be disestablished and consultation will occur specifically with those affected staff.

"The intention of these reviews and proposed changes is to deliver an academic workforce that is flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of our students,” he says. “We value the arts and the other non-STEM areas as an essential part of our provision. But, we have to manage this within a funding model that is highly reliant on student enrolments and that has seen little assistance from recent Budgets.

“We've worked hard to ensure that the quality and breadth of programmes being offered to our students, and our capacity to contribute to the wider body of knowledge through research, is not impacted,” he says.

“The University of Auckland remains committed to being a world-class university. It's imperative that we maintain a sound financial base to ensure that we can support areas that are growing while remaining committed to the concept of a comprehensive university.”