Emma Macdonald August 08, 2012
The ANU's most senior administrator has resigned and two of the senior executive are poised to announce their departure in coming weeks.
The moves will complete what appears to be a ''changing of the guard'' in the executive ranks, clearing the institution of almost all of the appointments made by former vice-chancellor, Professor Ian Chubb, now Australia's chief scientist.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young announced to staff this week that Brok Glenn, executive director (administration and planning), was retiring but would continue to work at the ANU until a suitable replacement was found.
Dr Glenn, who holds the most senior administrative role at the university - overseeing planning and finances - said he had been treated very well by Professor Young and was ''retiring entirely on my own terms''.
''This is a big job and a big institution with a lot going on and after working with the best vice-chancellor in Australia, Ian Chubb, I decided [to stay] to see Ian Young in,'' he said.
Professor Young took over from Professor Chubb 18 months ago.
''The place is now powering ahead in the way that Ian Young wants and I am going on my own terms, on my own timing and going happily,'' Dr Glenn said.
Professor Young said Dr Glenn had made an enormous contribution to the ANU and the two had never had a disagreement.
While no announcement has been made yet, it is also believed that Pro Vice-Chancellor (learning, teaching and students) Elizabeth Deane is expected to announce her resignation shortly. This is despite signing a five-year contract just last year.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (research) Professor Mandy Thomas is also about to resign - ostensibly to join her partner Professor Peter Hoj, who has been announced the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (e-strategies) Professor Robin Stanton is also retiring at the end of the year, a move which has been flagged for some time.
Since coming into the job last year, Professor Young has made a number of executive appointments - bringing on a new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (research), Professor Margaret Harding to replace a Chubb appointee, Professor Lawrence Cram.
Professor Young has also created two new positions, including Deputy Vice-Chancellor (academic), Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (international and outreach) Erik Lithander. Only one executive, Pro Vice-Chancellor (innovation and advancement) Professor Mick Cardew-Hall, remains from the Chubb era, although he is heavily involved in the ANU's commercial investment arm, ANU Connect Ventures, and less in day-to-day management of the institution.
The National Tertiary Education Union expressed concern at ''what appears to be a rapid turnover of senior staff and the significant loss of experience and insight''.
Union ACT division secretary Stephen Darwin said the ANU was in a difficult period as staff negotiated their next Enterprise Bargaining Agreement which would be a ''challenge for the new executive''.
''It is important the vice-chancellor is advised by an executive who well understands the ANU and the broader Canberra community of which it is part.''
He noted Professor Young had ''inherited a well-respected and well-regarded university and this legacy must be understood and respected by those who are now taking over.'' Professor Chubb did not wish to comment on the staff changes yesterday.
Professor Young has had a difficult year, suffering intense criticism after announcing in March he wanted to cut $40 million from the budget and that 150 jobs would go - cuts he later backed away from.
By May he targeted the ANU's School of Music for budget cuts, announcing 32 jobs would go.
During the industrial campaign to save the School of Music, staff and students expressed anger that the ANU's governing council had no local voices within its external members. While six council members are staff and student representatives who live in Canberra, the seven nominated council members, comprising legal, business and arts representatives, all live and work interstate.
Professor Young said ''The ANU is a national university with a national role'' adding that ''the members of council have a very full understanding of all the issues surrounding the School of Music.''
The first tranche of voluntary redundancies at the School of Music are just being finalised.