Canterbury University is to bring its infrastructure under a new senior manager, as part of a broader programme to reduce layers of management.
A number of functions are being regrouped into 16 support units. The new infrastructure role will cover all IT, information and library services, plus property and printing costs.
The university has $500 million in buildings and $200 million in land.
“I think it will pay for itself within a year and save $3 million annually,” says vice chancellor Rod Carr.
Those savings will go back into research and teaching.
In addition, the university has issued a request for proposal for IT services that begins with an audit of existing arrangements.
Carr took over the role of vice chancellor six months ago after heading Jade Technology for three years. He was previously deputy governor of the Reserve Bank.
With the demand for student places growing rapidly in the current economic climate, he has set some stringent new rules.
“We’ve got more students knocking on our door than we’re funded for,” he says.
“There are about 550 more seeking admission each year. That means potentially 10 percent of our students are not funded.”
Canterbury represents around 10 percent of the total student numbers at New Zealand’s eight universities, which spend around $2 billion annually.
The Tertiary Education Commission funds half of the budget and the rest comes from student fees. But there is a government cap on funding.
Students can qualify to go to university through NCEA standards, but anyone over the age of 20 is eligible.
“Universities are raising the alarm about choosing students,” Carr says. “Auckland is doing it based on NCEA grades. We will keep it open, but based on first semester results.”
That means students get a letter or warning if they are not performing.
“Forty percent get the hint and go away,” Carr says. “We’re not a high school.”