Staff cuts in Edith Cowan University restructure

Vice-chancellor Steve Chapman.
Vice-chancellor Steve Chapman.

A “SMALL number” of staff would lose their jobs as part of a proposed restructuring at Edith Cowan University, according to vice-chancellor Steve Chapman.

The changes would remove the current faculties and merge 14 schools into just eight that would report directly to the vice-chancellor.

Professor Chapman, who started in the role in April, said the changes would provide a cost saving to the university that would be redirected into teaching and research.

Prof Chapman said the university was not under any financial pressure and the changes were about making ECU more competitive with other WA universities.

“We are doing this because we want to do this, not because we have to,” he said.

“We are in good financial shape.

“Our international student numbers are starting to pick up and numbers are steady, if not increasing.”

The formal consultation process with staff on the proposed changes started last week.

It follows discussions earlier this year with staff on how to make ECU more flexible in its decision-making.

Responses from 18 staff discussion forums and 150 written submissions have informed the formal consultation process, which is expected to continue until mid-October.

“The changes are designed to ensure ECU is more responsive to the changing higher education environment and able to take advantage of new opportunities to boost our teaching and research capacity,” Prof Chapman said.

“We will be removing a layer of management to focus on teaching students and doing research – not bureacracy.”

As part of the proposed changes, Student Information Offices would become part of the existing Student Services Centre.

Prof Chapman said there would be potential for voluntary severance packages and, where possible, staff could be redeployed to other positions.

Expressions of interest to fill new roles are expected to be advertised by November and proposed changes would take effect in January.