In a Parallel Universe

The heads of Sydney art colleges met yesterday and decided to amalgamate the senior management of the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales. This would, they argued, “be a first step towards creating a world class joint university administration”. The decision has created alarm amongst those who make up university executives – Vice Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Heads of Human Resources, Information Technology, and Chief Financial Officers – many of whom stand to lose their jobs with the restructure. “We have to face up to the fact that in a diminishing funding environment, the duplication of management groups in universities located so close to each other is clearly unsustainable”, claimed Berthold Brick, the Dean of Sydney College of the Arts. “The rationalisation will allow us to offer centralised services and would remove the costly duplication of various functions – payroll, recruitment, strategy, timetabling. Such duplication is completely unnecessary in the digital era”, he argued. Senator Kim Bike, the education spokesperson for the Australian Greens, who will soon be sworn in as Minister for Education after his party’s federal election victory last week, said that this was “a welcome move to dismantle the costly competition policies of the past”. It will “free up resources to allow universities to perform their core function of intellectual and cultural enrichment of society”.

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