23 Mar 2018

Changes proposed at Auckland Uni music department

From Upbeat, 1:00 pm on 23 March 2018

The University of Auckland School of Music is about to undergo a major restructure that could see five highly valued staff members lose their jobs.

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Photo: Fuad Tabba, Auckland University, Wikimedia Commons

The School of Music has been operating in financial deficit for the past seven years, with falling student numbers in some areas of classical performance and higher demand in others like pop, jazz and music technology.

The University says it wants to offer a music degree structure that will equip its graduates for future employment, saying many find work as music teachers so that area will receive one additional full time position.

Under the proposed restructure full time equivalent positions would increase slightly from the current 30.3 full time equivalent to 30.8 full time jobs.

Last year a review of the School of Music was conducted by a top level international panel who recommended that Music School staff should be closely involved in any restructure.

However staff spoken to by RNZ say this did not happen and they only found out the details of the proposed changes on Monday when they were given the University’s proposed structure for the School of Music.

At a meeting to discuss the changes none of the Music School staff present were prepared to express their support.

RNZ Concert approached the Head of School Martin Rummel for comment but he said he was not able to discuss the changes until the present consultation period ends on April 16th.

Associate Professor Eve de Castro-Robinson who is Composition Programme Coordinator at the School of Music, says she regards the proposal as a brain drain of remarkable proportions.

She says what’s especially illogical is that while the University says it wants to encourage high level research the proposal would see the Music School’s two best researchers lose their jobs.

She says students and past students are outraged at the proposals because the staff concerned are top level academics, both overseas trained who her top students have described as the best teachers they ever had.

Eve de Castro Robinson also says the changes would be far reaching for both the School and for future students.

She says if the best staff go elsewhere students will move elsewhere as well and the University will lose its research capability, something it is predicated upon.