UNSW Faculty of Built Environment to merge; staff cuts loom

The University of NSW’s Faculty of Built Environment will merge with two other faculties as a response to the financial hardship brought on by COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the restructure, the university will also reduce its workforce by 493 full-time-equivalent positions.

The university will reduce its existing eight faculties to six by combining built environment with the faculties of art and design, and arts and social sciences. The roles of two deans and two vice-presidents will also be axed.

A spokesperson for UNSW Sydney told ArchitectureAU, “The Faculty of Built Environment will become the School of Built Environment in a new and stronger Faculty of Arts, Architecture & Design (faculty name subject to consultation). The School of Built Environment will move intact to the new faculty and will continue to offer degrees in architecture.

“By bringing together the creative arts, humanities, design and architecture into this new Faculty we are creating clearer and more attractive choices for students, and more opportunities for staff to interact with and connect their important research and teaching to colleagues at Kensington.”

The move follows the federal government’s refusal to extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy to the university sector.

“We need JobKeeper in our universities now, and then we need a fundamental rethink of the higher education system,” Troy Wright, secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union NSW, told media on 15 July.

In June, the federal government proposed major changes to university fees for students. Fees for architecture degrees would decrease by 20 percent, however fees for humanities degrees would increase by 113 percent.

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