Shortlist #2

David Gonski Reappointed UNSW Chancellor

Prominent businessman David Gonski has been reappointed Chancellor of the University of New South Wales for a third term.

The governing body of the University, UNSW Council, appointed Gonski, unanimously for a term that will run until July 2017. As Chancellor, Gonski chairs the University Council, but his role is largely ceremonial, with the day-to-day management of the University deputised to Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer.

Gonski has most recently been in the media for his work chairing the Federal government’s review into education, which recommended a $5 billion boost to school funding.

Mr Gonski is Chairman of Investec Bank (Australia) Limited, Coca-Cola Amatil, the Guardians of the Future Fund, the National E-Health Transition Authority, the Sydney Theatre Company, and a Director of Infrastructure NSW. He has been Chancellor of UNSW since 2005.

COFA Gets New Dean

Professor Ross Harley has been appointed the new Dean of the College of Fine Arts.

Professor Harley will replace Professor Ian Howard, who signalled his intention last year to step down from the position of Dean after 15 years in the role. According to a University statement, “an extensive international search [was held] to ensure the best possible candidates were considered for this important role, with Ross emerging as outstanding in a very competitive field.”

Professor Harley is an artist whose work has been presented at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Ars Electronica in Austria, and the Biennale of Sydney. He has served as Head of the School of Media Arts at COFA since 2008. He is currently Deputy Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts and Co-Chair of the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2013).

Professor Howard’s final years as Dean were disrupted by student anger aimed at a perceived lack of consultation on issues relating to the COFA redevelopment and the proposed renaming of a School after a donor. These concerns culminated in protests that received front-page coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald, putting COFA management under significant pressure.

In a statement to all staff, the Vice-Chancellor, Fred Hilmer, thanked Professor Howard, saying, “Ross will be building on Ian’s great work as Dean: under his stewardship, we have seen COFA recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent faculty of art and design. I will properly acknowledge Ian’s enormous contribution to COFA and to UNSW closer to the end of his Deanship.”

Arc Wins in UNSW Sport and Recreation Shake Up

The restructuring of UNSW Sport and Recreation continues with Arc, UNSW’s student organisation, taking over the running of sporting clubs and societies. Tharunka understands that Arc has a signed a heads of agreement deal with the university to begin the process of moving sports back to the student organisation.

Prior to the introduction of voluntary student unionism (VSU) in 2006, sporting clubs were run by the student organisation on campus. After the introduction of VSU, the university took control of sporting clubs.

UNSW currently has over 30 different sporting clubs that cater to roughly 5000 students. It is expected that, with Arc now running sports at the university, students will see the benefit from a streamlining of all student-run clubs and societies.

Earlier this year, the university outsourced the management of the Uni Gym to the YMCA.  It is understood that the new contractors are under significant pressure to boost revenue for the university and have already doubled prices for college students.

UNSW Cuts Support for Students with Disabilities

The Student Equity and Disabilities Unit (SEADU) has significantly cut back on its note-taking program for students with disabilities.

In previous years, students with disabilities who were unable to take notes in lectures themselves were provided with student note-takers who were paid $26 per hour to take notes on their behalf. The program was well staffed.

SEADU has written to students currently in the program informing them that, instead of being paid, they will now be rewarded with a $10 voucher for each hour they work. It is unclear where the vouchers would be redeemable.

Other students have been encouraged to engage in the program in a purely voluntary capacity. Tharunka spoke to students who previously worked in the program when it was paid who are outraged at the changes.  “It’s really disgraceful. They expect students to do a job for below minimum wage or for free. They have an obligation to students with disabilities to provide quality note-takers, but they will struggle under this model,” one student said.