Humanities division cuts focus revealed

University of Otago humanities departments in the firing line for job losses include history and music, a leaked email to the division's staff reveals.

Other departments and programmes that will undergo "management of change'' processes in the coming weeks are English and linguistics, anthropology and archaeology and languages and cultures.

University pro-vice chancellor of humanities Prof Tony Ballantyne said in an email most departments in the division would not face changes to staff numbers.

"For a small number of departments, I have written to HoDs [heads of departments] identifying programmes where formal management of change processes are planned to be initiated in the coming weeks.''

The future of other divisions and departments, including the College of Education and philosophy, was likely to be reassessed next year.

The changes were necessary to reduce the gap between cost and income in the departments.

"There is no doubt that our [humanities] division is facing some significant challenges and that the coming months will be very difficult.''

All students enrolled in programmes in divisions to undergo change processes would be able to complete their study, Prof Ballantyne said.

He encouraged staff to "communicate responsibly and thoughtfully, particularly in public settings'' when discussing the process.

A university staff member, who did not want to be named, said their division was to undergo cuts.

"Management of change, it is just redundancy.

"They should call it what it is.

"They don't want to use the 'r' word, but it is.''

Dunedin Tertiary Education Union organiser Shaun Scott said the union would support affected members through the process.

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