Reorganisation of humanities 'largely' done

University of Otago communications director Megan McPherson says the role of the 13 communication...
University of Otago. Photo: ODT files
The shake-up of the University of Otago's division of humanities has almost finished and has gone smoothly, the division's head says.

Early this year the humanities were reorganised from 16 departments which were separate financial units into seven schools, a move which the university predicted would save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The Faculty of Law, College of Education and Te Tumu: School of Maori, Pacific, and Indigenous Cultures have remained the same, but a new School of Performing Arts, a School of Geography, a School of Arts and a School of Social Sciences would be created.

Humanities pro-vice chancellor Tony Ballantyne said the reorganisation was "largely complete".

"This means that not only are we making much more effective use of our space, but that we are enabling greater co-operation, collaboration and collegiality," Prof Ballantyne said.

The move has involved the department of philosophy moving out of leased premises into the Burns building, and the department of sociology, gender and social work consolidating from five buildings into one, the Richardson Building.

There was "greater student representation and involvement in committees" in the new structure.

School of Social Sciences head Lisa Smith said the heads of different programmes were working closely with her and each other.

"There is an atmosphere of co-operation and collaboration, which is really positive."

Otago University Students' Association president James Heath said any reshuffle period "can be tricky for some students" but OUSA had not had any major concerns brought to it.

Humanities numbers have risen this year by 74 equivalent full-time students, along with several other university divisions - with the exception of health sciences.

The university's latest financial report, for January and February, showed all of the academic divisions were behind budget due to slower postgraduate enrolments.

However, total cashflow from operations was about $7million higher than anticipated due to deferred settlements to employees, and reduced payments to suppliers.

A full financial report for 2018 was presented to the university council at a meeting earlier this week, showing a total revenue of $727million, about $15million over budget.

Operating expenditure was also overbudget, by about $13million, and the total revenue and expense for the university was $28.4million.

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