THE University of Newcastle's timeline for restructure has been labelled "too rushed" by academics and professional staff.
As previously reported, UON sent staff an Organisational Restructure Discussion Paper last week, outlining its financial position - "we are spending more than we earn" - and timelines for restructure, which will see it consolidate five faculties into three colleges and potentially suspend, consolidate or cut 500 courses.
National Tertiary Education Union Newcastle branch president Dan Conway said the paper had many "motherhood statements", but lacked detail. He said the union understood the rationale behind the restructure, but had questions about the magnitude of UON's financial problems.
"The available evidence shows the university has for the last decade been in a very sound financial position," Mr Conway said.
"The COVID crisis has not affected the university anywhere near as much as it has affected the sector as a whole. It's possible, perhaps even likely, that the university may turn a surplus this year. It's not possible for the NTEU to be more specific than that, because the university is extremely reticent, perhaps unwilling, to share with us its assumptions and modelling so that its financial forecasts can be validated."
He said this data would influence how many jobs may be lost, how many students may be affected and the wider implications for the community in terms of research, services and graduate outcomes.
He said the paper had information about processes, but not have enough detail about the structure of the new colleges and divisions to facilitate adequate consultation or feedback.
"The timeline is too rushed and some changes straddle Christmas and New Year, putting perhaps unnecessary stress and hardship on affected staff," he said.
"It is our strong belief that it is unnecessary to subject affected staff to the additional stress and anxiety of knowing that they will be without a job in the New Year. The university will gain little from this approach and we believe the entire process could slide four weeks without significantly affecting the change program."