Emma Macdonald June 11, 2012
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young has been named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for ''distinguished service to tertiary education". Photo: Marina Neil
The Australian National University features prominently in the Queen's Birthday honours list, with both Chancellor Gareth Evans and Vice-Chancellor Ian Young receiving gongs.
But disgruntled staff and students at the ANU School of Music may not be celebrating the awards as the future of 13 staff positions and $1.3 million in proposed funding cuts hangs in the balance.
Professor Young has been named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for ''distinguished service to tertiary education through leadership, strategic management, research and academic roles, as an author, and to international education collaboration.''
He said yesterday he was ''honoured and humbled to be named in company with so many great Australians''.
''This is a thrill for me and my family, but also a recognition for colleagues who have supported and collaborated with me over the years.''
ANU Vice-Chancellor since March last year, Professor Young's distinguished career includes a seven-year term as Vice-Chancellor at Swinburne University of Technology from 2004, being Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Adelaide between 2001-2003, and Executive Dean within the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences between 1999-2003.
Professor Young has been a chair or member of numerous high-level tertiary bodies and round tables and is a Fellow of both the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Institution of Engineers.
However, the National Tertiary Education Union described the timing of the Queen's Birthday gongs as ''unfortunate'' given escalating industrial tensions on campus as a result of Professor Young's proposed cuts to the School of Music and Professor Evans' support for them.
Professor Evans, who has been made a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his services to conflict resolution and international relations, has backed Professor Young, saying the school in its current form is financially unsustainable and it should seek ACT and federal government support as well as greater philanthropic funding.
Union ACT division secretary Stephen Darwin said staff and students would feel the high honours were ''insensitive and poorly-timed given the current pressure put on the School of Music''.
Professor Young is considering the results of community feedback for his proposal and is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the outpouring of community support to keep the school's high-calibre performance staff and curriculum is being harnessed by the chief executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chris Peters, who said he was hopeful of presenting a package of donations for the school within the fortnight.
Mr Peters said not only were Canberra's wealthy and business people willing to get behind the school, but he had been surprised by the number of ''average citizens'' who were keen to preserve the special role it played in Canberra's music, cultural and educational scene.