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September 5, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Academic Board? More like Academic Bored! AMIRITE?

Proposed changes to a number of departments at Victoria University triggered significant debate at a recent meeting of the Academic Board.

The meeting on 25 August saw one board member move motions relating to the Academic Board’s role at Victoria. The first motion sought to re-affirm the Academic Board’s role in decision-making related to the university’s strategic plan and the second moved that all future restructuring be discussed by the Academic Board in order to fulfil its statutory requirements.

Following these motions, debate ensued reflecting the different interpretations of the Academic Board’s role in the Change Proposals which seek to disestablish academic positions in the Education, Philosophy and Political Science and International Relations Programmes as well as the complete disestablishment of the Crime and Justice Research Centre.
Debate centred around the purpose of the Academic Board in strategic and academic decision-making. The Board’s statute states that it shall consider “academic matters, which are deemed to be: the academic consequences of the University’s strategic goals… [and] the academic consequences of changes to academic structures.”

The member putting forward the motion stated that many consider the changes included in these proposals to be of an academic nature and involving substantial changes to programmes which would affect students. He argued it was the duty of the Academic Board to guide the University Council to allow it to run responsibly. VUWSA President Seamus Brady agreed and seconded the motion.

Those opposing the motion argued that the Academic Board’s role is to consider the strategic decisions of the university. They argued changes in staff and academic focus occur continually and do not need to be discussed by the Board.

They also emphasised that changes in the International Relations Programme, which will see a shift in focus to the Asia Pacific region, are in line with the strategic plan which the Academic Board has already approved.

They stated that the purpose of the changes is to build the programme by enhancing the range of courses offered and emphasised that the changes will not remove any courses. But those in support of the motion argued that it is impossible to make staff changes without affecting students.

Tertiary Education Union Organiser Michael Gilchrist attended the meeting. Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh said he would not set a precedent by allowing a union spokesperson to address the board, but Gilchrist argued he was enrolled at Victoria as a PhD student and therefore was entitled to speak.

Gilchrist accused the Board of making changes in the university’s academic direction under the justification of restructuring. He stated that interpretations of the change proposals are being used to form the basis of the recommendations and therefore these interpretations should be discussed by the Academic Board.

Despite few members speaking in favour of the motions, voting was fairly evenly split over the issue as both motions were defeated by only a couple of votes.

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  1. Donte says:

    Now I know who the brainy one is, I’ll keep lokonig for your posts.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this