Pictured: Richard Baker, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Experience. Photo by Ben Coughlan.
THE University has released its complete response to one of the recommendations from last year’s review into the Division of Residential and Campus Communities (DRCC). The focus of the document is the proposed merger of DRCC and the Division of Student Services, which was one of the recommendations.
In an email to student representatives and staff, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Experience, Prof Richard Baker, presented the “Managing Change Document” and announced a consultation period ending on 17 February. The 40-page document addresses all 15 recommendations, already introduced in December’s interim report. The review was conducted last year by a panel that included Dr Paula Newitt, as well as two members from other universities.
The merger of DRCC and DSS will include numerous staffing changes, including the disestablishment of 10 positions within both divisions, and the establishment of 8 new roles in the “Division of Student Life.” The former Director of Residential and Campus Communities, Luce Andrews, has already left the university.
Regarding recommendations 5 and 8, which concern the disestablishment of both the Director and General Manager of RCC, the official response of the university is a commitment “to working with key stakeholders in 2014 to propose a staffing structure and model via a change management proposal in accordance with the University’s enterprise agreement provisions.”
The reception within the halls’ administrations has been generally positive, although there is some fear about funds from the residences being redirected to the student services side of this new division. It has also been argued that Dr Laura-Anne Bull, Registrar of Student Services, will be taking charge of an area in which she doesn’t have much experience. Dr Bull has been expanding her portfolio and taking on more responsibilities since she first began at the University in September 2011. She has already updated her LinkedIn profile with her new title.
The review report that led to this plan attracted much attention when it was released in November last year. One of the most controversial and upsetting (especially for the staff in question) was the recommendation to disestablish the current head and deputy head positions at the halls. After a very strong reaction from staff and students alike, it was rejected.
Students (living on or off campus) may not notice any immediate or major difference to their daily lives, but this plan means major overhauls for staff in the relevant areas.
Prof Baker declined to comment, citing the need to wait for the conclusion of the official process.