Staff at the University of Wollongong are worried for their jobs despite assurances from Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings that an upcoming faculty merger won’t result in redundancies.
The staff union plans to take concerns to a meeting with university bosses next month.
Under the restructure, 11 faculties will become five super-faculties of business; engineering and information sciences; law, humanities and the arts; science, medicine and health; and social sciences.
National Tertiary Education Union Wollongong branch president Penney McFarlane, who works within UOW’s faculty of engineering and information sciences, said academic staff were concerned jobs would be lost if content was merged along with the faculties.
‘‘Let’s say you have a database subject,’’ Dr McFarlane said. ‘‘[Currently] computer science would have a database subject, information technology would have a database subject and electrical engineering would have a database subject.
‘‘Will it be [considered] more financially feasible to put all those kids in one lecture theatre and have one lecturer teaching them rather than three?
‘‘Some people would say there isn’t much difference [between the subjects] but I would.
‘‘From the union’s perspective, the merging of faculties could lead to redundancies of some content and could lead to loss of staff.’’
Dr McFarlane said many on the university staff remained unsure of how the restructure would affect them.
Professor Wellings has offered repeated, public assurances that no jobs will be lost in the restructure.
In a statement, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Patterson, said ‘‘nothing had changed’’ since Prof Wellings’ assurances.
‘‘There will be no net job losses as a result of the faculty restructure occurring at the University of Wollongong,’’ Prof Patterson said.
‘‘The transition process to the new five faculty structure is moving through as scheduled.
‘‘We are surprised to hear suggestions by the NTEU that job losses will occur as a result of the restructure.’’