Changes concern university staff

University of Wollongong staff leave a meeting yesterday after big changes were announced. Picture: ROBERT PEETUniversity of Wollongong staff say they are likely to face months of uncertainty after Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings announced a major faculty restructure yesterday.

At a meeting of more than 1000 academic and general staff held in the University Hall, staff raised concerns about job losses and how their work would change.

They also voiced concerns about whether the proposal to combine existing faculties into five larger faculties risked damaging the university’s brand.

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Vice-president of Wollongong’s National Tertiary Education Union branch Ron Perrin said administration staff would face the most uncertainty as faculties were split and combined in different ways.

‘‘We will probably see some faculty managers and others have their jobs change and it will be those staff – the ones that support the academics – who are at risk here,’’ he said.

Mr Perrin, who is sub-dean of commerce, also said the proposal to rename the Commerce Faculty as the Sydney Business School was ‘‘awful’’, saying it was a ‘‘dishonest’’ name designed to attract international students.

‘‘The Sydney Business School name will mean very little, if anything, to the students who come from the Illawarra, the [Sutherland] Shire and the students who come to us nationally from remote areas,’’ he said.

Similarly, a Faculty of Science academic said splitting the university’s science schools and combining them with engineering, medicine and health, as proposed, would ‘‘dismantle the Science Faculty in the traditional sense’’ and make attracting top science students difficult.

Mr Perrin said the proposal was not all bad news.

He praised the Vice-Chancellor’s ambition to propel the university into the top 1per cent of universities worldwide.

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