Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sharing our gratitude

Well I have been back in Australia for over two weeks. How soon you get over holidays. It has been a hectic couple of weeks. On Sunday Anita and I were invited to the Chinese Association Moon Festival on campus in Rocky. We had fun. Yes fun. We met up with all our Chinese staff, students and their families. Played games and ate Moon Cake - fun!

The first week back was spent on the road attending the Metropolitan Campus graduations. They were fantastic, as always. The best bit for me is meeting with the students and their parents after the graduation. We have so many proud parents traveling from across the globe. It really is quite humbling to meet these parents and hear how they have in many cases trusted us with their children and the future of their family.

Yesterday and today I am in Mackay, tomorrow in Rocky, Thursday in Gladstone and Friday back in Mackay. So hopefully I will be able to catch up with many of you.

Rockhampton graduation was also a great event - one that the Chancellor called the best Rockhampton graduation ever. I was particularly keen to see so many staff on stage and so many helping out in the centre. Well done to you all. We also have lots of back room people working to make the event a success such as the IT and security folk. They also did a great job.

And that brings me on to the point of this blog. We all love recognition. I am very lucky to have a boss - the Chancellor who is very generous with his praise. There is nothing better for me (well maybe one or two things!) than when he makes a positive comment about me or the University. I try and say thanks and well done as much as I can. I try and recognise a job well done or a person that goes beyond the call of duty. I know I don't do it was often as I should but I do.

I would ask you all to say well done to someone who has done a good job in the next week or so. Use the email to do it. Copy in their boss and copy in me. I want to hear about all the great work that is going on. I have heard it said in some parts of the University that we should not be doing this and it is only trying to seek praise. What utter rubbish. Let's all give praise where praise is due and let me know about it.

Let's make this CQUniversity recognition week!


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott, I was just about to send you some praise for your support of healthy lifestyles and personal fitness (re: Ride4Life event) when I thought I had better check whether you had started your fitness program in order to participate in next years Ride4Life.

Cheers Lindsay

Anonymous said...

Scott, I was at your inaugural lecture when you made special mention of the need to stabilise this organisation after its years of restructuring and you clearly stated that you had no intention of continuing that behaviour. This even earned you a rousing round of applause.

At one of your more recent briefings I was one of the interested professional staff members listening closely to your response regarding reduction to professional staff. My understanding of your message was that the reduction to admin staff numbers would not require forced retrenchments, but would be carefully considered reductions based on the needs of the area as vacancies arose. That each vacancy would be analysed to assess the need for the work being performed compared to the direction the university is taking and only after such analysis would any decision be reached regarding the removal of the position.

Here we are over a year since you took the helm and what we have seen is almost non-stop restructures and now there are admin positions being cut from the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Health without any analysis of the needs for the position that we can see. Worse there appears to be targeted removal of staff, not just positions, that to my knowledge is totally against the University’s own policy on change and certainly contrary to all previous restructure actions. What justification is there for “selecting” which staff will be made redundant – when I also understood it was positions made redundant with staff offered alternate employment or at least the chance to compete on merit when positions and staff numbers no longer matched?

To say that I am disappointed would be too mild an expression. To say that I am discouraged and dismayed might be a little closer to the mark. How can this organisation expect to become a “great university” if we behave in a less than equitable manner towards our own people? Worse how can we go out to the marketplace telling potential students to “be what you want to be” when we treat our own staff in a manner that inhibits their ability to do the same?

The culture of an organisation must be driven from the top down, the examples set by the leaders of the organisation will be followed – both the good and unfortunately the bad. It is time this organisation took careful stock of exactly which aspects of its reputation it aspires to be “great” in. Will we be a great research organisation, a great educational organisation, a great employer or will we just be great at moving people around like chess pieces and constantly destabilising and demoralising our staff? It’s your call Scott, you are the leader of this organisation and we want to hear how you will lead us to being a “great” university known for its exemplary treatment of both its students and staff. The recent and ongoing restructure actions are shining examples of what not to do – will you honour your early commitments and make a stand or should we just accept that it was all just more rhetoric following on from the example of our previous VC?

Anonymous said...

Dear Scott,

I visit the blog regularly because it is good to hear latest developments and happenings from you (straight from the horse's mouth). Unfortunately you have not been writing anything of late and I am quite disappointed. I am sure there must be a lot happening in the Uni.

Hope to hear from you more often.

Best Wishes,

A timid well-wisher.

Vice Chancellor - CQUniversity said...

Dear Anonymous

Thanks for your comment. You’re right, whoever you are, that I did say that I had no intention of restructuring on a scale the University experienced in 20007/2008 which resulted in some more than 200 people no longer in the employ of the uni. And I remain committed to that ideal. You’re also correct in your summary about analysing each vacancy as they occur. We are, and will continue to do that. I do differ from you, however, in your analysis of the change occurring in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Health ---which is based on new requirements and emerging needs brought on as the Faculty adjusts to the four-school environment implemented over the last 12 months. Up to five positions are likely to be affected as we follow and work-through the accepted consultative process, used throughout the organisation for some time now. Like all universities, CQUniversity is dynamic. We, particularly, are in a period of renewal which will see us change – new programs are emerging, investment is occurring, campus characteristics are changing. Talented staff are driving these changes. And it’s inevitable that these changes will impact staff too. It’s the nature of the environment we work in --- we are consultative and transparent about all proposed and implemented changes.You are aware, I expect, of the shift in emphasis I am placing on what we used to call Human Resources – now the People & Culture Directorate, which over the coming months and years will work with me to concentrate our efforts on training and development areas so we – organisationally and individually – are better equipped and resourced to respond to change.
In terms of our reputation – we will be great at research in areas in which we excel; we will be a great educational organisation that will raise the bar in terms of the student experience; and we will be a great employer that invests in the development of people. In fact I think we can achieve greatness in all things we do – big and small. Don’t you?
From my conversations with staff and students and by our actions we have made some major strides down that path – a path that is neither straight nor narrow. Here comes the rhetoric: It will have its share of diversions, obstacles and cracks that we’ll need to contemplate as we progress and no doubt we’ll trip-up a couple of times.
A clear direction for CQUniversity, however, has been set-out – a roadmap as it were – which we are all referring to and making our own.
I’m sorry that you are discouraged. My commitment was – and is – to you, personally, to build up CQUniversity and to have it acknowledged as one of Australia’s great universities. Along the way we will rip-up the path and lay a new surface. And as I have said in a previous blog and in my conversations with you, we’ll have to take out the compass and make some adjustments from time to time, including additions as well as reductions….
I’d be pleased to share my views with you directly and listen to your concerns if you contact my office.