The mathematics change plan at VU

Alasdair McAndrew crunches through the numbers of the proposed “Mathematics Change Plan” at Victoria University, which plans to cut the number of mathematics staff in half, while reducing mathematics teaching by about ten percent, and finds the numbers do not add up: the actual number of teaching hours put in by the staff (2550 hours/year)  is about 20% larger than is stated in the plan, and with the proposed cuts (from 7.5 FTE to 4.5), it would not be possible to cover all these hours with staff and casuals, given that the university limits casual teaching to 20% of the total.  Also, the current salary costs of the school are less than 75% of the income earned from enrolments in maths and stats subjects, which sits oddly with the claim that the cuts in mathematics are due to enrolment declines (there are indeed declines in the number of CS majors, but this is a rather small fraction of enrolments in mathematics-related classes in all).

These findings are consistent with previous claims about the faulty data behind the change plan.  Hopefully the administration will make some effort to address these claims before proceeding further with the plan.

6 Responses

  1. Alasdair McAndrew’s article convinced me.
    It looks like management has got it wrong.
    VU needs its Maths Staff – and committed workers that have permanent
    positions (perhaps some that are half-time also allowed to work part-time at
    other universities too) are way better than using too many sessional staff.

    The RGMIA centred at VU is a vibrant place with hard-working dedicated
    staff … It needs a reasonable number of mathematicians to function.

    Grant Keady, Maths UWA

  2. Dear colleagues,

    I was badly disappointed when I read about management ‘s purpose to cut number of mathematical classes.
    I am working at Mechanical faculty and the plan was the same.

    And what happned then?

    1. The mathematical lessons have appeared in the courses which were teaching by engineerers and others who were not competent to give them. You can imagine on what level they did it.
    2. The students started to beset my department of mathematics at the of schooling when they found that they have missed very important mathematical topics for their future.

    There a lot of similar reasons for giving support to mathematicians to the mathematicians working at VU.

    My department is with you!

    Truly Yours

    Dr Predrag Rajkovic
    Department of Mathematics
    Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
    University of Nis





  4. Seriously, his article convinced me.

  5. RGMIA is the strongest research group on mathematical inequalities in the world. It is indeed a shame that they are being targetted for budget cuts. I hope VU recognizes the international repute of RGMIA and supports it fully.

  6. […] Message from AMSI regarding proposed cuts at Victoria University Posted on 9 October, 2009 by Terence Tao The new director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, Geoff Prince, has written an open letter to the Vice Chancellor and President of Victoria University, Elizabeth Harman, regarding the proposed severe cuts in the mathematics and statistics departments (from 8.5 FTE to 4.5 FTE) through targeted. (We posted about this cuts in a previous post.) […]

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