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 these cuts in a previous post.)

Concerted pressure of this type by the mathematical community can make a difference; strong protests over similar actions by the University of Southern Queensland resulted in a significant reduction in the staff cuts, and USQ afterwards hired several maths and stats faculty (including one who had they made redundant!) after they realised that the cuts that they did enact left them unable to fulfill their mathematical teaching obligations.

The letter is provided in full below the fold. (Reproduced with permission.)

—

Dear Professor Harman,

I am writing to you to express the deep concern of the Australian

Mathematical Sciences Institute at the planned reduction in your university’s

commitment to the mathematical sciences.

While strategic resourcing is a university matter, on this occasion the proposed

cuts in continuing mathematics positions appear to be unwarranted in their

severity, and the plans for mathematics and statistics teaching that accompany

them threaten the provision of tertiary mathematics education and the training

of secondary mathematics teachers in the western suburbs of Melbourne. These

changes effect the broader community, and AMSI feels compelled to respond.

Students at Victoria University deserve the dedication and encouragement of

continuing academic staff committed to improving mathematical outcomes for

students in the west. Undue reliance on casual staff will weaken the quality of the

university’s mathematical program. Academics also need the opportunity for

research. Without it your university will not be able to participate in any of the

exciting new developments that are occurring in the modern mathematical

sciences and its multidisciplinary applications, or to attract the best staff in

future. The decision to abandon support for the university’s Research Group in

Mathematical Inequalities and Applications particularly undermines

opportunities for research in these areas.

Of course your students, including those entering the teaching profession, need

exposure to these developments and that won’t happen unless Victoria

University commits to adequate continuing positions and research opportunities.

Victoria University is an inaugural member of AMSI and has benefited

significantly.

AMSI’s involvement was key to the recent upward revision of the cluster funding

rate for mathematics and statistics by the Commonwealth Government and in

the significant reduction in HECS fees for mathematics and science students and

for those pursuing teacher training in these areas. AMSI provided Victoria

University with $70,000 for the installation of its Access Grid Room, a facility

which hardwires your university into the national mathematical sciences

teaching and research scene. AMSI has recently received funding from DEEWR

for a major schools project which has the potential to deliver more students

interested in mathematics to Victoria University.

The mathematical sciences in Australia are facing unprecedented challenges

which are widely recognized as being of national strategic importance. I have

attached a copy of “A National Strategy for Mathematical Sciences in Australia”

prepared by Prof. Hyam Rubinstein, Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s

Committee for the Mathematical Sciences, in consultation with the Australian

Council of Heads of Mathematical Sciences. I hope that this document will help

convince you that Victoria University has a leadership role to play in the

provision of mathematical sciences courses to students in the western suburbs.

I urge you to re-‐engage with the university’s mathematicians to guarantee the

integrity of this fundamental discipline at Victoria University.

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Prince

Director

Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute

CC:

Commissioner Dianne Foggo

Associate Professor Michelle Towstoless

Professor Richard Thorn

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP

The Hon Marsha Thomson MP

The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Message from AMSI regarding proposed cuts at Victoria University … Victoria University VU China, on 31 October, 2009 at 1:22 am said:[…] original here: Message from AMSI regarding proposed cuts at Victoria University … By admin | category: victoria university | tags: elizabeth-harman, geoff-prince, hit-out, […]

australia university, on 23 November, 2009 at 9:12 am said:wow…. pay cuts everywhere now even in the university…