[csaa-forum] petition on University of WOllongong academic senate

Michael Griffiths mickg at uow.edu.au
Wed Apr 14 09:41:52 ACST 2021

Dear Colleagues

http://chng.it/wkYzkN5v <http://chng.it/wkYzkN5v>

This week Academic Senate at UOW was summarily dismissed, with early termination of sitting members in order to introduce a new model prior to the departure of outgoing VC Paul Wellings. Management called on University Council to dismiss the senate without proper consultation and outside of the Standing Orders, By-Laws, Electoral Rules and other regulative structures governing Academic Senate. 

The new model has been heralded as a response to needed reforms. However, it shows all the signs of a hurried and poorly considered plan executed in the final days of outgoing leadership. Key roles are missing, membership is unclear and inconsistent, and most significantly, there is a shift away from Academic representation to greater dominance by Management. All of these concerns were raised by Academic Senate when it rejected the model and asked for further consultation under the leadership of incoming VC Patricia Davidson.  Instead, Senate has been bypassed and now terminated.

According to Universities Australia, Academic Senate is the peak body for academic matters, including research and teaching. While the Senate refers to this status in its standing orders, it is not treated as such by the current Senior Executive and University Council, which in recent times have consistently referred to Senate as a mere ‘subcommittee’ of Council.  Over the last few years, Council has ignored key recommendations on Academic matters that have been overwhelmingly carried in votes by Senate members.
We find that the new model is flawed, disproportionately favours management roles and inconsistent with recommendations of the 2017 Independent Review of Academic Governance at the University of Wollongong (Winchester). The changes are also overcomplicated and impractical, to say nothing of the reduction in democratic selection of participants. This petition calls for the wider community (UOW and beyond), higher education sector at large to support the following: 

We the undersigned call on the Senior leadership of the University of Wollongong to:
1.     Retract the recently installed model in line with the Academic Senate Electoral Rules and resume consultation with Academic Senate.
2.     Extend the consultation period to include incoming VC Patricia Davidson (as Senate resolved in March 2021).

http://chng.it/wkYzkN5v <http://chng.it/wkYzkN5v>

Dr. Michael R. Griffiths
Senior Lecturer, English Literatures
School of The Arts, English and Media
Room No. G31 | Building 25
University of Wollongong NSW 2522
T + 61 2 4221 5269
F + 61 2 4221 3301
W: http://lha.uow.edu.au/taem/contacts/UOW179276.html

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Land I work on as the first people of this country.

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