Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2014 February JCU University Council approves historic headline restructure

13/02/2014
JCU University Council approves historic headline restructure
The Council of James Cook University has approved a historic organisational restructure that strengthens JCU and lays the foundations for its future financial sustainability.

JCU University Council approves historic headline restructure

The Council of James Cook University has approved a historic organisational restructure that strengthens JCU and lays the foundations for its future financial sustainability.

On Wednesday night, the University Council unanimously approved a headline restructure that will create seven colleges and replace the faculty and schools system.

Acting Chancellor, Ian Jessup has told staff that the University Council voted unanimously in favour of approving the proposed headline restructure.

JCU Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding has told staff forums that the new structure will foster innovation and provide greater opportunities for collaboration across disciplines.

“It will secure and enhance learning programs which are in high demand including environmental science, tropical medicine and health,” she said.

Professor Harding said the restructure sets the University on a path to realise JCU as a ‘great’ university, renowned for education and research relevant to the tropics.

The existing structure of 15 schools under the faculties will be replaced by seven colleges, three of which would be under the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine and four under the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies.

The colleges will be:

  • Medicine & Dentistry

  • Healthcare Sciences

  • Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences

  • Marine & Environmental Sciences

  • Science, Technology & Engineering

  • Business, Law & Governance

  • Arts, Society and Education

The restructure also establishes four divisions covering Global Strategy & Engagement, Academic & Student Life, Research & Innovation, and Services & Resources.

Professor Harding said the ambition is to uphold a university that is unique in the Australian higher education setting, in terms of its focus, the student experience and its engagement.

The restructure follows almost 18 months of extensive consultation with staff, students, the University Council and other stakeholders on the possible future directions of JCU.

In December 2013 a draft structure was released to the University community for consultation. More than 200 written submissions were received and substantial changes have been made to the proposed structure taking into account those submissions.

Professor Harding said the consultation process showed there is strong support for changing the University’s structure.

“The decision to recommend reorganisation of the University was not taken lightly and it provides a unique opportunity to harness the desire for change among our staff,” she said.

“Clearly this is going to be a time of transition. The job is to implement the structure and I am looking for the patience and support of staff in this transition phase,” she said.

Professor Harding said the restructure is not about cost-cutting but positioning the University for the future.

But she said that like all universities, JCU does need to consider how it will deal with deep funding cuts.

Government funding to JCU is expected to be reduced by approximately $26 million, with cuts proposed by the previous Labor Government supported by the new Coalition Government.

Professor Harding said the historic reforms will have no impact on teaching programs or students, who begin the academic year later this month.

“But in time, the restructure will give the University greater scope to consider new and exciting curriculum offerings linked to our future agenda and the needs of northern Queensland,” she said.

JCU Media contact: Richard Davis (07) 4781 4822 or 0413 451 475

Date issued: February 13, 2014