In considering the future of universities in Western Australia, Gerd Schröder-Turk's (2021) article outlines the risks of substantial changes in university governance in recent years. The article describes how Barnett government legislation in 2016 increased the tendency of universities to be 'governed by a body dominated by a group with little first-hand professional experience in or in-depth exposure to the tertiary sector'. The article describes impacts from the reduction of staff-elected positions on university governing bodies. Also, it outlines parliamentary opposition to the 2016 change articulated by Lynn MacLaren and current Education Minister Sue Ellery. Perhaps, we should revisit the unsuccessful motion put forward by Ellery to double the number of governing body positions elected by academic staff.
This page was created to share ideas on rebuilding universities for communities in Western Australia.
The header image shows a construction site at my campus before the glass ceiling collapsed killing a young worker and injuring two others. Social and union pressure around this incident led to Western Australia's Legislative Council passing the Work safety bill in the days that followed. While waiting for the bill to become law, the image reminds me of the ongoing lack of legal protection for workers in a culture dominated by managerialism and corporate ambition.
A turn is needed towards transparency, empathy and democracy in building universities.