Featured News Change Plan reshapes JCU to meet future demand

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Fri, 6 Jul 2018

Change Plan reshapes JCU to meet future demand

James Cook University has released a Change Plan that will ensure the University is more responsive to changing student demand and is financially sustainable.

JCU Provost Professor Chris Cocklin said the Change Plan will help the University refresh its curriculum, attract new students, and meet current financial pressures.

“We know that the context in which JCU is operating is changing, impacted by increased competition, reduced student numbers, loss of external income sources including reduced Commonwealth funding, and a highly volatile and uncertain public policy environment. JCU needs to respond to these challenges”.

“This Change Plan will allow us to provide a more focused and responsive approach to the changing demographics of the University’s student base,” Prof. Cocklin said.

A Change Proposal was released to staff on the 18th of April for consultation. Feedback was sought through an extensive consultation process, which included individual meetings with directly affected staff, divisional staff forums, as well as small group forums conducted in each directorate or college impacted by the Change Plan and opportunities for feedback in writing.

Student consultations included forums held in Cairns and Townsville, a meeting with representatives from the JCU Student Association, and a meeting of the Student Advisory Forum. Student feedback was also received through a dedicated email address.

More than 300 written submissions were received and considered prior to the development of the Change Plan.

Prof. Cocklin said the feedback has been reviewed and thoroughly considered, and taken into account by the University in making its decision.

The Change Plan includes:

  • Investment in increased delivery of online courses including Master of Business Administration (Global).
  • Offering Design and Creative Arts as a major in the Bachelor of Arts in Townsville and Cairns respectively to replace the Bachelor of Creative Arts and Media in Cairns and Townsville;
  • Leveraging the success of its Internet of Things (IOT) Engineering and IT courses in Cairns, and the planned new Cairns Innovation Centre facility, by moving the Information Technology discipline to the College of Science & Engineering to build critical mass with IOT data science and other disciplines.
  • After the mid-year 2018 intake, no further intake of new students for face-to-face teaching in Cairns for all undergraduate (Bachelors level) psychology, sports and exercise science and exercise physiology and joint degrees.
  • Discontinuing the Master of Economics program after mid-year 2018 due to low student demand.
  • Affected courses continuing to be taught until current students have completed their studies in those courses.

"While a range of changes are being made across the Academy, some proposed changes are not occurring and others are being implemented differently to what was initially proposed.   As a result of the feedback we have decided not to go ahead with three proposed redundancies."

"This reflects the careful consideration that the University has given to these matters throughout the change process, and our commitment to working with staff and stakeholders as part of the consultation," Prof. Cocklin said.

As a result of this Change Plan, 11 new positions are being created and 29 positions (16 in Townsville, 13 in Cairns) will be made redundant.

JCU remains a very large employer for northern Queensland, with approximately 4,700 staff based in the region in 2017.

While a small number of changes have been made, against the size of JCU's workforce, they are necessary to help JCU respond to changes in the University’s operating environment.

“Australian universities are undergoing tremendous transformation and JCU needs to adapt. We are focussed on the demands of students and the need to continue to deliver the future workforce for our regions.

“We must also ensure we are financially sustainable so that we can continue to provide an economic boost to our regions,” Prof. Cocklin said.

An external review released in March shows that in 2016, JCU contributed $827m to Queensland’s economy, with 97% of that economic impact felt in the Townsville and Cairns regions.


For more information please contact:

Richard Davis

Head of Media and Communications, JCU

0413 451 475