University of Newcastle broaches marketing division growth

CUTS AND GROWTH: Proposals to expand the University of Newcastle’s Marketing and Communications division have met with concern. Picture: Marina NeilTHE University of Newcastle is consideringgrowing its Marketing and Communications division by nine full-time positions, including five new senior staff on salaries of almost $120,000.


The recommendations, detailed in a consultation paper, would add 9.15 full-time equivalent positions to Marketing and Communications’s present 51.85.

Five of the proposed new positions would be senior managers on enterprise agreement-mandated salaries of $118,548.

The proposed changeshave been opened to discussion betweenstaff, the university and unions.

Theycomewith five other divisional restructures underway at the universityand more in prospectfrom a review of professional staff handled byconsulting firm Partners in Performance.

Tom Griffiths, president of theNational Tertiary Education Union’sNewcastle branch, said the prospect ofMedia and Communicationsgrowing in the face of cuts to other divisions caused concern among union members.

“While NTEU welcomes additional staff members in this important area of the university’s workwe have communicated concerns that this is occurring in acontext of ever-increasing financial austerityand job cuts to professional staff across the university,” Dr Griffiths said.

“It will likely exacerbate fears of staffawaiting restructuresin other areas to meet the savings targets.”

But the consultationpaper says reviewshave already found Newcastle’sMarketing and Communicationsis “decentralised” compared with other universities’.

It recommends forminga new unit led by a chief marketing officerand split into sixteams called Market Insights;Brand, Reputation and Division Marketing;Faculty Strategy;Future Students;Corporate Communications and Media;and Digital and Creative Services.

“In an increasingly competitive environmentit is important for the university to invest in marketing to clearly tell our story, build our reputation and communicate the impact UoN is making to help attract future students, staff and researchers to our university and region,” a university spokeswoman said.

After this monththe university’sprofessional staff consultative committee willreview the paper, comment on submissionsand make recommendations.

Dr Griffiths said the union is also concerned about a “broader tendency” of senior university management to employ more senior professional staff, while imposingcuts on staff on lower pay scales.

“It is these staff, and academics, who are at the front lines of working with studentsand delivering the student satisfaction that contributes to the international rankings that senior management is fond of citing,” he said.

The university said all aspects of the restructure proposal will be be considered, including the number of senior roles.

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