Murdoch Uni slashes job security in student services, hits rankings slump

“Some roles are being removed, while others will have a change in portfolio, responsibilities, title or reporting line. Some level of disruption is likely to occur during the transition period.

“There may be a short-term disruption in support for student services. “

For a law student, who recently spoke to Today on providing anonymity, signs of the reshuffle had already taken effect as he was shocked at how badly Murdoch handled student welfare after his transfer from another Washington state university.

“What the degree will be worth at the end of the day really matters to me.”

Murdoch law student

He said he spent hours trying to determine which units transferred from his previous university and would be part of his degree.

He also saw Federal Court internships offered to early applicants to respond to them via email, which he said was totally unfair to those who were employed and did not necessarily monitor student emails around the clock. .

The student said the complaints were referred by Murdoch Student Services without any clear direction or details on who to specifically raise his issues with, beyond the mention of the lackluster and difficult-to-navigate website of the student. ‘university.

“All this money I’m paying now and what the diploma will be worth at the end of the day is really about me, and what that means for the young people leaving school as well,” he said.

A spokesperson for Murdoch University said the impacts on staff across the four service branches were still only proposals, with affected employees being invited to provide feedback and express interest in potential roles.

“Some existing roles have been identified at risk of redundancy, but our number one priority is to redeploy as many staff as possible,” they said.

“To date, no employee has been made redundant as part of this process.

“We are genuinely consulting with all affected employees on the changes and have allowed extra time to ensure we get all employee feedback during that time. “

They said staff who did not find suitable positions through redeployment would be offered severance pay commensurate with their role and time at Murdoch. They would have access to a range of free and confidential support through the university’s employee assistance program.

Those redeployed to a lower classification will retain their previous salary for 12 months as per the company agreement, while a number of term positions have also been offered to become continuous as part of this process.

Murdoch’s ranking

The latest restructuring comes in the wake of Murdoch consolidating its position as Western Australia’s worst performing public higher education institute for research, teaching and impact, according to Times Higher Educationthe latest rankings from.

Not only did it stay behind Edith Cowan University for the second year in a row, but it fell behind ECU in the young universities (under 50) subcategory, coming last in WA for the first time this year.

Times Higher Education ranking of young WA universities (under 50).

Until 2017, Murdoch was considered the best young university in WA, but that honor now goes to Curtin University.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman hailed the ECU’s rise in research rankings during such a difficult time in higher education brought on by the pandemic.

“We are a dynamic young university with a growing international reputation for world-class research and it is nice to see that this continues to be recognized in the THE ranking, ”he said.

“Now more than ever, the impact of ECU’s translational research is significant.”

Overall, Murdoch remained in the 501-600th percentile in the THE world ranking, behind the ECU in the 401-500th percentile in the world, Curtin having suffered a slight decline from last year’s performance to drop to 251-300th place.

The ranking comes after a year of hundreds of job cuts and reductions in academics’ research capacity in WA.

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Curtin has reportedly cut 656 jobs in total, according to staffing provided to the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission, which represented around 10% of its workforce in 2020.

Conversely, ECU invested $ 16 million in research and personnel in 2020.

The University of Western Australia postponed significant cuts until June this year, when it announced it would pursue $ 40 million in jobs and school restructuring.

It seeks to target important areas of study and research in the social and molecular sciences, although the university recognizes that there were “high performance areas of research” in the school of social sciences.

UWA’s teaching and research restructurings were not reflected in this year’s ranking. THEworld rankings of.

Unlike Murdoch, who ruthlessly reduced his sciences – consisting of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics – from full degrees to freshman or teaching units for other degrees at the end of last year, with up to 200 college jobs reportedly cut across campus.

Engineering has also suffered from its “STEM everywhere” strategy, as well as major cuts in the arts and humanities.

A spokesperson for Murdoch University said the university is engaging in leading translational research and making important discoveries, such as finding new ways to identify and monitor long-standing COVIDs and develop new treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The Times Higher Education General Rankings for Washington State Public Universities.

The Times Higher Education General Rankings for Washington State Public Universities.

And he looked at a number of rankings used to measure the performance, reputation and achievement of universities around the world, with the most recent rankings yet to take into account recent appointments and results of the research, they said.

“We recognize that the last THE the results are not where we want to be, ”the spokesperson said.

“However, we have a clear plan to improve our ranking results through a range of initiatives, including recruiting top academics and researchers, changing our curriculum and the way we teach, links stronger with industry to ensure our students are ready to work and invest in learning, teaching and research infrastructure.

“We are convinced that this will lead to improvements in the years to come. “

He argued that he had already seen some improvement in the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), which placed Murdoch in the 500-600 band – down from 700-800 in 2019.

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More accurate measurement of research success

Rankings, which rely heavily on research, have always been considered the calling card for international students in Australia, with great emphasis placed on the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking, also known as ARWU.

But with Australia’s borders remaining closed, the focus has been on retaining and increasing the number of domestic students.

“Rankings are also widely used by faculty to inform the career decisions of university leaders to help set strategic priorities and by governments to help monitor policies,” according to the THE website.

“Why? Because the THE rankings are based on one of the richest university performance databases in the world.

But Flinders University ecologist Professor Corey Bradshaw and his colleagues have developed an out-of-the-box app called the Epsilon Index, to assess the search performance of individuals, which they believe is fairer.

“There is no simple process for comparing the relative strengths of researchers in disparate disciplines – some just tend to have fewer citations than others,” he said.

“Then there’s the genre. Research publications for women may drop during maternity leave, for example, affecting perceived performance, even if their abilities – and their research – are no less brilliant.

“Women also tend not to be offered the same opportunities as men even today, so they are unfairly ranked relative to men for most of the existing measures.

“The Epsilon Index is a new way to reduce systemic bias in assessing the quality of researchers via citations by providing corrections for career stage, gender, and opportunity to citation-based performance measures.

The app was tested with a sample of 480 global researchers with Google Scholar profiles, stratified evenly into eight disciplines (archeology, chemistry, ecology, evolution and development, geology, microbiology, ophthalmology, paleontology), three career stages (beginning, mid-career, end of career) and both sexes.

Flinders University's simple method for scaling its index 'across disciplines with varying citation trends to allow a fairer comparison of researchers in different fields.

Flinders University’s simple method for scaling its index ‘across disciplines with varying citation trends to allow a fairer comparison of researchers in different fields.

He then provided a ??-index using a ranking algorithm that could be standardized across disciplines, corrected for career breaks, and provide a sample-specific threshold that could determine whether individual performance was above or below expectations compared to other researchers at a sample.

Flinders professor Justine Smith, who has been considered a “STEM superstar,” hopes the -index will make a difference in how women in science are viewed.

“More accurately measuring the contribution of women to science and celebrating their successes is essential to encourage future generations of girls to take up science,” she said.

“The -index gives fairer and greater visibility to women’s achievements, and the fact that it does so across a range of disciplines makes it particularly beneficial.

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