Massey shake-up: Over a third of academic science

Auckland: Massey University scientists are reeling from fresh bombshell proposals they say would spell the biggest cut to science academics in New Zealand’s history.
Massey science faculty staff were this morning sent a revised discussion document setting out cost-cutting measures, with two tabled options.
Both would slash science academic staff by more than a third and bring a big shake-up to science subjects currently offered.
A senior Massey scientist has told the Herald that loss could be equivalent to about 100 scientists across most disciplines.
They described the proposals as “brutal” and just as devastating as earlier proposals that dropped in February on the first day of semester, and which suggested that Massey cease teaching a science degree from its Albany campus.
At that time, Massey cited costs that had risen more than its revenue, and a need to cut spending by $18.1m a year – including slashing staff costs in the College of Sciences by $11.7m, or 15 per cent.
A major restructure was proposed to come amid a roll-out of an online-focused strategy called Digital Plus that would see many subjects taught face-to-face only at designated “anchor” campuses.
In latest discussion document, released soon after Massey set out its general proposal for its College of Sciences in a “road map”, the college’s pro-vice chancellor, Professor Ray Geor, said the position had worsened from that which he outlined in February.
“Our costs, inclusive of financial contribution to the operations of the university, are greater than our income and this situation will continue to deteriorate unless we take action.”
Both options put forward today would retain all of Massey’s 53 current science qualifications except for its Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honours, which would be scrapped.
But they both involved dropping some specialisations, and merging others into reshaped disciplines, including folding biochemistry into a wider biological sciences subject. Changes under the first option was calculated to bring an improvement in equivalent full-time students (EFTS) per offering by 32 per cent, while supporting about 66 per cent of academic full-time staff.
But it also involved stopping Massey’s BSc computer science major without offering a replacement, and would also push the already-high workload for academic staff up by 7 per cent.–Agencies