James Cook University is proposing to scrap crucial areas of education and research for Townsville and Cairns and cut 30 academic jobs altogether.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union today launched a campaign that will urge JCU management to look at other options which don't further erode the institution's viability.
Management proposes to stop programs in creative arts, tourism (in Townsville), planning, conflict resolution and aquatic vertebrate disease research, as well as other “non-aligned” work.
"Cutting jobs is not the answer to JCU's problems," NTEU JCU Branch Secretary Jonathan Strauss said.
JCU student numbers have been in decline for nearly a decade. The university abandoning various courses has had a major impact on its attractiveness to students.
"Constantly reducing JCU's offerings is driving enrolments lower. This will make the university's financial situation even worse.
"With staff workloads through the roof, it simply doesn't make sense these positions could be redundant.
"The staff to student ratios that management cites as its reason for these job cuts don't add up. At the same time, the university celebrates that ‘JCU’s excellent student-teacher ratio has clearly been reflected’ in a 5-star graduate employment rating.
"JCU's own strategy says we are woven into the intellectual, economic and social fabric of our communities.
"But these cuts tear directly at that fabric. Job losses and a reduced educational offering are deeply unfair for North Queensland."
NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said regional universities needed to serve communities.
"It's impossible for regional universities to grow when managements reach for job cuts at every sign of financial adversity," she said.
"At a time when the Universities Accord is looking at how we grow higher education, especially in the regions, such job losses will hurt the entire sector."
For interviews contact: Jonathan Strauss (NTEU JCU Branch President) 0437 790 306
Simon Foale (JCU Branch Academic Vice-President) 0408 134 254