Less time for research at Open Polytechnic

Research and development time could be slashed in half at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand if managers get their way in employment negotiations.

Employers at the polytechnic want to cut academic staff research and development time from 30 to 15 days, saying that they believe the entitlement is ‘overly generous’ and out-of-kilter with the rest of the sector.

The attack on critical employment conditions alarms members.

TEU members met recently to discuss how their employment bargaining is going and to develop a response to the employer’s offer.

The Polytechnic’s recently published research strategy 2012-2015 says it has a mission to enable all staff to be research active and apply their research to the betterment of teaching practice.

“All academic staff will be encouraged to engage in research activities and all degree teaching staff will be required to engage in research activity,” it said.

Union members mostly use the entitlement for research, specifically in their specialist subject areas.

Staff want to be current experts in their field. The Polytechnic’s claim to cut research time makes that harder, and over time, it would undermine the quality of education students get.

Phil Dyhrberg is Organiser at the Tertiary Education Union

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