Update on Stronger UC Suggestions

Once again thank you to the staff who took the time to send through suggestions for cost savings/revenue generation to the StrongerUC mailbox. Here’s a quick update on some of the actions that have taken place to date.

Student Recruitment 

There have been great ideas and suggestions to attract students to study at UC which are feeding into recruitment planning. One example to share is UC is engaging regularly with year 12 & 13 international students in NZ and has offered a transition programme for international students in NZ.  We have also evaluated the options for scholarships and will be offering Deans awards for selected students.

We continue to look at various options for multiple intakes of students for both online and face to face learning in response to the current border closures.

Streamlining/simplification of systems & processes 

Many areas are seeking to adopt a single consistent process across UC for admin processes and there were a number of suggestions to cut down administrative process and adopt digital forms and workflows. This aligns with the Strategy (organisational efficacy) and will be a key focus for 2021.

We are actively working to streamline processes and alignment of services to support ongoing efficiencies across UC. You will also have seen the VC is calling for discussion about the shape and structure of UC. Please ensure you take the time to share your ideas.

Staffing 

We have been able to make some long term salary savings through the call for expressions of interest for voluntary redundancies and early retirements.  Areas continue to respond to immediate staffing needs and are looking at the skills they need for the future.

Although there were many suggestions and offers of personal financial sacrifice we have been able to ensure that all contractual increases will be honoured for all of our staff which is great news.

Staff Professional Development 

If you are contemplating studying something new, UC will pay 100% of fees for UC courses that staff would normally only receive 50% payment of fees (ie courses that are non-work-related).

Professional development options are being looked at and expanded into online offerings such as LinkedIn Learning.

Marketing Efficiencies 

An Image library has been introduced to reduce the need for photography costs.

The Crusaders partnership has provided opportunities for existing students, alumni, stakeholders as well as substantial brand awareness through signage.  From 2021 we have an opportunity to review the future partnership along with the goals for UC.  Research and internships are a key part of that, as is the engagement and networking with the local community. For alumni and donors it has been beneficial, and has contributed to at least $1.5m of support for UC.

UC currently has Masters Scholarships from donors and there is definitely opportunity to raise more funds in this space.  Anyone interested in knowing more about raising funds for Scholarships should contact Jo Dowling.

Utilise students & existing staff skills 

UC supports internships and employs some students for project work and this can work very well for both parties, so please be on the lookout for opportunities where internships be utilised.

There were suggestions that we should make more effort to prioritise utilisation of our own staff expertise instead of using of external consultants – this is a great idea, while we are conscious of overloading staff, please offer up your skills!

Use of campus 

Staff made the suggestion of turning the halls of residence into quarantine facilities. Whilst there are pros and cons for this the Government will not accept student accommodation as a location for mandatory isolation.

The suggestions relating to general cost savings are being investigated (eg power savings).

Other actions/areas of interest

The new Joint Postgraduate School Food Transitions 2050 is a joint initiative with Lincoln, AgResearch, Manaaki Whenua and Plant & Food Research.

In June, UC launched Knowledge Commons which supports multidisciplinary think tanks centred around wellbeing and impact in our community.

This is an ongoing process and we will continue keep you updated on progress as we move on new initiatives based on the ideas provided by staff.

Rachel Dillon

Organisational Development Consultant

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