Staff reductions will help research and training, Provost email says

Tuesday, 10 June, 2014


The 540 job cuts announced last week will help the university “create savings” to reinvest into research and teaching, University of Melbourne Provost Margaret Sheil says.

In an email to all students today, Professor Sheil named some of the reasons behind the job cuts. The cuts form part of the Business Improvement Program (BIP) which aims to make university services more efficient and save money.

Professor Sheil’s email said student feedback has shown that some areas of university systems and services are complex and difficult to access. She labelled some efforts to change this, including:

  • “redesign of information and communication channels for students;
  • a program of improvements to online services and student systems;
  • process improvement targeted at areas students find most complex (e.g. Special Consideration); and
  • streamlining University policies and procedures to enable the above.”

Professor Sheil’s email said these goals would “make our processes and systems easier to use, and the information you [students] need easier to find and understand”.

In the email Professor Sheil also outlined the purpose of the BIP. She said it aims to “identify areas where efficiencies can be found to create savings that can be reinvested in teaching and research”. She also said that the redundancies were “one of the outcomes” of the program.

University of Melbourne Student Union President Declan McGonigle said there were “serious concerns about the impact of job losses on students”.

He said while he understood the university’s need to improve its service to students, he felt students had little knowledge of what was happening. “So far students are yet to see a clear picture or program for change from the university,” he said.

In a previous interview with Farrago, Professor Sheil said that the BIP would not aim to cut jobs—she said that job cuts would happen “through natural attrition” in order to achieve savings.