December 2, 2013: - James Cook University is planning to release to staff a proposal to change the headline structure of the University.
Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding in a letter to the JCU community today said that the proposal to reorganise the headline structure of the University followed almost 18 months of extensive consultation with staff, students, the University Council and other stakeholders on the possible future directions of JCU.
Two reports were issued in March this year – Crystallising our Purpose and the Review of Services and Operations – with a number of recommendations about the possible future directions for the University in regards to learning and teaching, research and engagement.
“After a review of those recommendations, it became clear that some reorganisation of the University was required to achieve the objectives of providing the University with the strongest future possible,” Professor Harding said.
Any reorganisation of the headline structure requires both consultation with staff and the approval of the University’s Council. The consultations will take place throughout December and January, and a final proposal will be put to the University’s Council in February for consideration and approval.
The decision in relation to the future headline structure of the University is a decision of Council and no changes can be implemented before then.
Professor Harding said she would be inviting all staff to participate in information sessions and to provide feedback on the proposed University headline structure.
“We propose to hold the information sessions with the University community in both December and January to accommodate staff taking leave over the Christmas/New Year period,” she said. “JCU is providing this extended period of consultation to support staff at this time.”
“This is an important initiative for the University and we have considered the impact on staff and students. It is not a decision we propose to rush through before Christmas.
“After holding the information sessions and considering your feedback, I will be asking Council to make a decision on the structure.”
Professor Harding said that the proposed changes to the University’s structure were not about cost reduction but rather about positioning JCU for the future.
However, she said, she was aware that the issue of redundancies and job losses had been raised both in the sector and at the University, and like all universities at this time, JCU does need to consider the impact of ongoing budgetary pressures.
“This is a separate issue, but the entire tertiary sector has had significant funding cuts and our reality, like all universities, is that we need to respond to the reductions in revenue,” she said.
JCU faces a loss of approximately $26 million in Government funding because of cuts proposed by the previous Labor Government, which are being implemented by the new Coalition Government.
“As a result, during this period, we will also be releasing a proposed voluntary redundancy program to allow staff, who may wish to do so, the option to look at voluntary measures for their own future.”
Professor Harding said that any decisions in relation to people taking voluntary redundancy under such a proposal would not be made until some time in the new year.
Issued: December 2, 2013
JCU Media: Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449