Final phase of organisational change presented to staff for feedback

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

After a challenging twelve months across the higher education sector, the University of Newcastle released the final phase of its organisational change program today. The Schools change proposals follow on from earlier changes to the University’s College structure, and recent proposed changes to the organisation’s Divisions.

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, reiterated that the phased change proposals seek to address several issues, not limited to financial sustainability, but also long-term priorities that are outlined in the University’s five-year strategic plan.

“There are certainly financial imperatives to address through balancing our operating costs with our income – no organisation can continue to run this way, and as one of our regions’ largest employers, we have a responsibility to resolve this imbalance.

“Many institutions across the sector have been forced by the pandemic to reassess operations – in terms of keeping lecture theatres open, delivering programs, and reimagining the types of degrees students of today and the next decade are going to need to make the most of their career.”

“In this part of the change process, our School leaders have worked closely to review academic and professional staff roles with a focus on investing in identified student and research growth areas. The proposals also identify where degree demand has declined and needs to be factored into planning for future student intakes,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“Our current students will be able to continue their studies unaffected by the proposals announced this afternoon and today’s students will graduate with the degrees they enrolled in.

Professor Zelinsky reiterated that much of the organisational change supports career progression opportunities for both Academic and Professional staff by developing academic succession plans and professional development pathways.

“The Schools change proposals factor all of that in, and I strongly encourage staff to give feedback on our approach so we can ensure we proceed on the right track.”

“We have sought staff feedback throughout this process; in the change from five faculties to three Colleges, in the Divisions change proposal earlier this month, and from tomorrow, when Schools staff can meet with their leaders, understand the rationale for proposed changes and ask questions,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“There are very clear signals from government and industry, that our sector needs to adapt and support students to graduate into priority areas where career growth will be strongest.

“What we will do is balance those signals with our own regional profile of economic opportunities and jobs growth, ensuring our graduates are job-ready for the Hunter, the Central Coast and surrounding regions,” Professor Zelinsky said.

For further information please contact Amanda Watson, Corporate Affairs Manager on 0417680558 or

Key Information

The Schools change proposal includes proposed changes to the following:

College of Engineering, Science and EnvironmentCollege of Health, Medicine and WellbeingCollege of Human and Social Futures
  • School of Architecture and Built Environment
  • School of Electrical Engineering and Computing
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Environmental and Life Sciences
  • School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
  • School of Psychology

Also included in the change consultation paper:

  • Global Centre of Environmental Remediation
  • Technical Services
  • School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
  • School of Health Science
  • School of Medicine and Public Health
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Newcastle Business School
  • Newcastle Law School
  • School of Humanities and Social Science
  • School of Creative Industries
  • School of Education

Summary of combined proposed organisational changes to staff FTE across:

  1. Divisions: 34.6 full time equivalent (FTE) (professional staff) roles
  2. Colleges: 8 full time equivalent (FTE) (professional staff) roles
  3. Schools:

    i.    63.6 full time equivalent (FTE) (academic staff) roles

    ii.    11.1 full time equivalent (FTE) (professional staff) roles

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.