The university has designed an “Academic Career Framework” to “simplify and improve the administration of probation and promotion”, according to Murdoch provost Romy Lawson. It prescribes publication benchmarks that academics must meet to maintain their research time allocations. Staff complained that the benchmarks were so onerous that even star publishers risked losing research time.
In mid-April, vice-chancellor Eeva Leinonen indicated that Murdoch would push ahead with the proposal and staff would be allocated up to 80 per cent of their time for teaching “where appropriate”.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) lodged a dispute notification with the university, accusing the university of sidestepping its obligation to consult staff over “major changes to teaching workloads” and giving no assurances that the workload changes would be temporary. “The [proposal] will have a detrimental effect on casual academic employees with widespread job losses, a reduction in overall staffing [and a] significant impact on research track records and career trajectories,” the letter says.