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Go Back to the List June 06, 2023
University of Waikato proposing staff cuts to IT, maths departments

The University of Waikato is proposing job cuts in its IT and mathematics departments.

While the mathematics proposal is due to declining enrolments for a number of years, the university says the IT changes are to better equip the team to deliver on future technology needs.

The university spokesperson said it’s consulting with staff and the relevant unions on the proposed changes that put 11 roles on the chopping block.

When asked in May if the University of Waikato could rule out cuts to staff, a spokesperson said “our position is that we do not anticipate any significant changes in response to enrolments”.

The University of Waikato mathematics department proposal was a response to falling student numbers and “the wider challenges in the tertiary sector”.

“While the university’s overall student numbers have seen a small increase this year, the subject of mathematics has seen declining enrolments for a number of years,” the spokesperson said.

The School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences had been offsetting its costs for the last couple of years through normal staff attrition and voluntary retirement options.

The spokesperson said changes were carefully considered to ensure the preservation of study options.

It did not want to impact the student experience, and aimed to retain research productivity and fair distribution of teaching work amongst staff.

This change proposed the disestablishment of four academic full time equivalent roles, and included one voluntary retirement.

“Given our funding constraints, there is a growing need to align our teaching and operations more closely with student demand in a more continual way than previously.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson said the IT proposal “will better equip the team to deliver on the University’s technology needs in the future, and in particular, the changing nature of studying and working in a post-Covid environment”.

It was not driven by the overall need to reduce staffing cost, they said.

Changes were proposed in two areas – service operations and digital technology.

The service operations changes sought to “simplify the customer service for staff and students” by providing a wider portfolio of first point of contact resolution and delivering on the increased demand for support in a flexible study and work environment.

It proposed disestablishment of eight general staff full time equivalent roles, the establishment of four roles, and redeployment options where possible.

The spokesperson said digital technology changes were a response to high levels of change in technology post-Covid, the need to better leverage modern and emerging technologies, adapt support models for cloud technologies and gaps in the existing team due to the competitive nature of roles in the wider workforce.

It proposed redeployment where possible, and disestablished of eight general staff full time equivalent roles – two of which are vacant –, while establishing five full time equivalent roles.

The changes would see an overall net reduction of seven general staff roles within the IT department.

“Following engagement with unions and staff, and meeting with those directly affected by these proposed changes, the proposals are currently before staff for consultation and feedback and no final decisions have been made.”

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Written by Rachel Moore,
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