Reports of big university budget surpluses appear to undermine calls for their federal funding to increase. But a closer look at how the surpluses were achieved reveals why change is needed.
Higher education didn’t feature heavily in the election campaign, yet the sector has high expectations of the new government. The key is the idea of an accord and the change in approach it implies.
Universities supposedly have adopted a more corporate approach – but most corporate board members have expertise in the area their company operates in and are more accountable to shareholders.
Facing protests by students and academics over its Liberal Party links and generous funding by the Morrison government, the centre’s most important test will be whether it respects academic freedom.
In a volatile and uncertain world, academic freedom is the foundation of universities’ capacity to be responsive to all of the challenges we face today.
The University of Sydney paid its vice-chancellor $1,627,500 last year, more than any other Australian public university VC received.
Vice-chancellors’ average remuneration has soared from 2.9 times lecturers’ pay in 1975 to 16 times in 2018. New governance arrangements triggered the trend and might be needed to rein it in.
Ironically, a bit more of the right kind of corporatisation might help remedy the worst aspects of the current model of corporatised universities.
John Howard’s education minister sought to refashion university councils in the image of corporate boards.
Decades of legislative change made the councils that govern universities more like corporate boards and less accountable to academic communities. The problems this created are coming home to roost.
An open letter, signed by more than 600 academics, is calling on state and federal education ministers to ensure universities change their hierarchical corporate structure.
Egerton University chancellor Narendra Raval – a billionaire industrialist and philanthropist – presides over a graduation ceremony in 2019.
The government should stop trying to tinker at the edges. Instead it should strengthen internal university administration through shared governance.
When politics interferes in universities – overtly or discreetly – it makes higher education less autonomous.
Africa’s universities supposedly became more independent after the early 1990s. But it appears they haven’t achieved much more than cosmetic autonomy from political interference.
A statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes is removed from the University of Cape Town after student protests. Could real transformation come through changing governance structures?
How can the higher education sector guard against proposed transformation measures being merely superficial quick fixes? At least part of the answer may lie in institutional governance.
The idea of a universities commission has been floated recently – but is it a good idea?
Universities image from www.shutterstock.com
There’s been a push recently in university circles for a new body to help govern the sector and act as a buffer between the universities and government. Champions of the idea point to the Universities…