Restore Academic Senate at the University of Wollongong.

Restore Academic Senate at the University of Wollongong.

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UOW Active started this petition to University of Wollongong and

To VC Paul Wellings (outgoing), VC Patricia Davidson (incoming), COO Damien Israel, SDVC Joe Chicaro, Greg Rose (Chair of Academic Senate). 

 

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 breaching the Electoral Rules of 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. The Senate is not treated as such a peak body 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).

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