18 April 2013

The meeting proper was preceded by presentations from the Director, Institute for Social Science Research and the Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts about each of their organisational units.

Routine Business

Declaration of Interests (a new standing agenda item), statements by the Acting Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor on recent achievements and the current higher education environment; PPL changes; reports of Senate sub-committees and Academic Board; the role of Senators in relation to professorial and adjunct/honorary appointment committees; receipt of 2012 Annual Report; receipt of Global Strategy and Internationalisations Plan; creation of an Advancement Steering Committee of Senate; gifts and grants report. A petition from protestors picketing the Chancellery about the abolition of the Gender Studies major in the BA was received and tabled. Two confidential matters were also dealt with.

Culture Survey

Members considered the full report from the Nous consultants (same as that distributed to all staff) and heard from the VC and SDVC about their open forum meetings with staff on the various campuses, to present the findings and engage with staff about them and the way forward. A working party has been formed by management to consider the survey results and feedback from the open sessions and to plan a detailed approach to a more constructive workplace culture. Members endorsed the plan. Member Andrew Bonnell mentioned that while the way that staff interact with each other is important, so too is addressing some of the underlying structures that might cultivate an undesirable culture. He pointed to the corporatisation of the academy, such that line management has superseded much collegial decision making, and the top-slicing of the University budget to fund strategic initatives at the expense of discretionary funds at the organisational unit level.

Independent Review of UQ's Integrity and Accountability Reform

Members also considered the Sutton-Watson report (same as that distributed to all staff) and that management are adopting the reviewers' recommendations in full. This includes seeking input from the open staff sessions mentioned above on the University's proposed organisational values. A new Public Interest Disclosure policy was approved by Senate.

UQ Union Audit

Members had been mailed ahead of the meeting the publicly-released findings of independent auditors commissioned by the UQ Union at UQ's request, following complaints about the conduct of the 2012 student union elections. Members noted a response and action plan from UQU. They also noted that the auditors had recommended to UQU that they seek legal advice as to whether some of the spending of funds in the lead up to the election was appropriate. UQU has committed to developing an election campaign charter in collaboration with senior UQ staff reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, Maurie McNarn.