University of Wollongong staff are preparing for a shake-up next year as 11 faculties become five.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings has assured staff that there will be no job losses under the faculty restructure - which was passed by the university council on Friday - although he said that some roles would change.
National Tertiary Education Union Wollongong branch president Dr Penney McFarlane said it was those changes that staff were concerned about.
"We don't believe the restructure will make much difference to the role of academics, but support staff are greatly concerned about the impact on their jobs," she said.
"If faculties are merged then inevitably there will be some duplication of administrative duties and support roles. So some people will have to change their roles or work in another section whether they want to or not. That's very upsetting to a lot of people."
There's a fairly even split of staff at the university - with 1285 general and 1278 academic staff - which is one of the largest employers in the region.
Dr McFarlane said aside from their concerns over roles, most staff welcomed the restructure into five super-faculties.
"We're happy with the badging and the grouping of the five faculties - we think they send a good message out to the workplace," she said.
Professor Wellings presided over a restructure in his former position as vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, which he took to a standing of 10th out of all British universities.
He hopes the faculty restructure at UOW, plus other measures in the 2013-18 strategic plan, will help it achieve a spot in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide. At present UOW is in the top 2 per cent.
"Most of the evaluation to get into the top 1 per cent is international evaluation, based on the volume and quality of research plus perceptions of the teaching environment," Prof Wellings said.
"Our teaching is seen as second to none in Australia and we've rated incredibly well in that department for the last 15 to 20 years.
"On the research side, the quality is very good but the volume is down a bit."
Prof Wellings said the strategic plan also aimed to increase the university's off-shore international program. Building partnerships with UOW alumni, other universities and business and non-government organisations was also a strategic focus.
He said the student experience would not be any different next year. Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association president Peter Hughes said there was still a bit of confusion.
"Students broadly support steps which would allow UOW to compete as a world-class institution," he said. "However we would hope that an increased focus on research would not come at the cost of the quality of teaching or the range of courses offered."
Wollongong University Postgraduate Association president Josip Matesic said he hoped students would have the same access to resources and support staff.