The future of UCL Australia
12 February 2015
Following a review of the long-term sustainability of UCL Australia, UCL decided to launch a consultation of all relevant stakeholders - staff and students of UCL Australia, the Government of South Australia, and commercial partners Santos and BHP Billiton - about the future of its presence in Adelaide.
The direction of travel identified by that review is for UCL not have a stand-alone presence in Adelaide once the current external funding commitments to UCL Australia conclude in 2017. However, UCL is not set on leaving South Australia, and we will listen to the views of all our stakeholders about our proposed direction before moving to any implementation stage. It is intended that the consultation of external stakeholders (though we are also seeking the views of UCL Australia staff and students) will conclude by the end of March 2015. It will be followed by an internal consultation phase, to focus on hearing the views of our staff on the outcome of the external consultation.
We hope to conclude this around mid May 2015 though we are still finalising the exact timeline. We want and have to meet the requirements of our own organisational change policy, as well as Australian employment law, and we want to make time for proper dialogue. But against that, we are aware that UCL Australia staff want clarity on the future as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we have given an absolute assurance that we will honour the commitments to our students at UCL Australia. We will also fulfil our responsibilities and obligations to our staff in Adelaide, on whom we will continue to depend to provide the quality education and research environment our students expect.
UCL Australia Chief Executive David Travers announced on 11 February that he is stepping down from the role with effect from Friday 13 February 2015. Professor Anthony Finkelstein, as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in which UCL Australia is a department, and I have discussed and agreed with the UCL Australia senior team an interim management model, which will be in place from 13 February. This returns UCL Australia to the classic academic structure: a Head of Department, Professor Stef Simons (until he leaves in April, with a successor to be announced as soon as possible); a Deputy Head of Department, Bronte Treloar; a Director of Teaching, Dr Ady James; a Director of Research, Dr Craig Styan; and a Departmental Manager, Maria Stavrinakis.
The consultation we have launched is exploring whether a new model of partnership working would fit better with our own emerging strategy for global engagement. We believe that the process we have embarked on can lead to a deeper, broader and more sustainable collaboration between UCL and its partners in South Australia.
Dame Nicola Brewer, Vice-Provost (International)