ANU Council has expressed its full support for the proposed changes to the School of Music that will see teaching jobs lost and a complete restructure of the School’s curriculum.
In a statement from chancellor, Prof Gareth Evans he said: “Council expressed its full support for the change process that has been set in train, acknowledging that on both academic and budgetary grounds, the present curriculum and staffing arrangements were unsustainable.”
The council discussed the proposed changes in a meeting today, which includes a new model where students will be able to receive academic credit for contributions to musical activities in Canberra and beyond and the option of choosing their own practical or professional path through a Professional Development Allowance.
The allowance will be allocated to students, allowing them to choose between specialist one-to-one tuition, attending a summer course, master class or conference, or learning a new piece of music software, and real-time, video-linked lessons and sessions with the support of the Manhattan School of Music.
It is also expected the changes would result in the loss of 32 staff positions.
“Council was strongly of the view that the School of Music has been a wonderful resource not only for ANU, but for the Canberra community and indeed the whole nation, and that it was particularly important in this context that its performance teaching stream remained credible and viable,” Prof Evans said.
“Council acknowledged that Canberra was clearly underdone in terms of support for music performance, especially for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, by comparison with other capitals. While ANU was prepared to continue contributing significantly to meeting this need, it was crucial that the ACT and Federal Governments as well as the philanthropic community, all played their part.”
The National Tertiary Education Union has hit back at the announcement, describing it as an “increasingly disastrous situation confronting the ANU School of Music”.
“The Council had the benefit of knowing the enormous human and reputational damage the vice-chancellor’s proposal for the School of Music has generated. Yet they failed to act and, worse still, they have effectively endorsed this ill-conceived proposal,” ACT division secretary Stephen Darwin said.
“Today’s decision by the ANU Council appears to give the green light to the mass sackings of School of Music staff and the irreversible loss of the enormous musical teaching talent and support staff.
“It is conspicuous that no support at all was offered by Council to School staff or students.”
The NTEU will now investigate its available options to contest the decision.