‘A climate of fear’: from collegiality to corporatisation

Bob Bessant


 Chapter 4 of The Subversion of Australian Universities, edited by John Biggs and Richard Davis (Wollongong: Fund for Intellectual Dissent, 2002), pages 52-84.


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Contents page of The Subversion of Australian Universities

This chapter is concerned with the changes in the culture and governance of Australian universities with particular reference to the years since 1988. It is argued that the Federal governing party for most of the 1980s and 1990s favoured a form of university governance and a university culture more akin to that of the former CAEs than that of the traditional universities of the pre-1988 period. It is suggested that the general characteristics CAEs brought into the university system became dominant in Australian universities by the late 1990s, especially in relation to academic freedom and university autonomy. With this there has been pressure on universities to corporatise their management and culture.[1]

In their first hundred years Australian universities were small institutions largely concerned with training for the professions and generally quite isolated from the mainstream of Australian life and culture. The Universities of Sydney and Melbourne had been established in the 1850s modelled on the Scottish and English examples, yet different in several aspects. One area of significant difference for this chapter concerns the powers of university councils/senates. Whereas in British and European universities there was a long tradition of internal self-government with which was associated various rights and privileges, the Australian universities had no such tradition. Academic staff who were mostly recruited from Britain tried to apply the British and European traditions to the Australian scene, but this was difficult due to the manner in which these universities were constituted, their dependence on government grants and their lack of development of any close relationships with their local communities.

The statutes which led to foundation of the universities in each colony gave the ultimate power in university decision making to the councils/senates composed of lay members appointed by the colonial governments with at first no representation from the academic staff. Conflict on academic and financial matters between professors and council/senate members was common. Professors of the University of Melbourne made many attempts in the early years of that university to broaden the curriculum and to abolish the study of classics, but the council resisted this until 1880 when after a protracted battle, the council approved science subjects being included in the matriculation examination.[2]

Lack of academic autonomy went with a lack of community support and little understanding of a university’s traditional role. This was reflected in the failure of the colonial universities to attract substantial grants from private sources which forced them to rely heavily on the colonial and later state governments. Before the 1940s Australian universities were made up of very small departments (often only a professor and one or two lecturers) largely devoting themselves to teaching and with little emphasis on research.

The era of expansion which began during the Second World War brought large numbers of academics from Britain and North America who found their lack of influence in university government hampering their ability to carry out their teaching and research, the latter becoming increasingly important in the 1950s. Clashes between councils/ senates and professorial boards became frequent.

The most significant single event to influence this conflict was the Orr Case, a cause celebre, which involved the staff and council of the University of Tasmania (see Chapter 3 for details).

In all the literature on the charges made against Orr and the subsequent court hearings it is clear that the case would never have arisen if Orr had not been one of the main activists behind the moves leading to the Royal Commission. The University Council was seeking to maintain its authority over academic staff and Orr’s fate was to be an example to others.[3]

While sexual harassment emerged as an issue in universities in the 1970s it was not seen as a problem in the 1950s. Complaints on these grounds seldom went far and certainly not to the extent of the very public dismissal which was orchestrated by the University administration. Universities did all they could to prevent such complaints becoming public.

The Orr case may be very relevant to the history of sexual harassment in universities, but it was not seen to be relevant then because the perception of many academics of events related to the Royal Commission was that Orr was being singled out as an example to all academics who stood up against their university councils. It was not what he was alleged to have done but why he had been chosen.[4]

While Orr did not regain his post, the case did more than anything else in this period to bring the academic community together. Financial support was given to Orr and his vacant chair was declared "black" by philosophers internationally. It was not filled for eighteen years. The reputation of the University of Tasmania was seriously undermined and the difficulties that the University had in the following decade in recruiting staff was a salutary lesson to councils of other universities.[5] It helped to reinforce the belief that decisions on academic matters should be the prerogative of the professorial/academic boards and the Councils should not interfere in matters concerning staffing, courses of study, teaching and research. The tenure statute that the University of Tasmania finally agreed to, which gave staff security of employment, was seen as a model for the new universities which were established in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Orr Case ushered in a period of some thirty years from the late fifties to the late eighties when notions of academic freedom, collegiality and university autonomy were seen to be worth pursuing and protecting. In this chapter the emphasis is on how these ideas were undermined by successive Federal governments from the mid-1980s to the present by favouring a form of university governance and a university culture more akin to that of the former Colleges of Advanced Education than that of the traditional universities of the pre 1988 period. It is suggested that the general characteristics CAEs brought into the university system have become dominant in Australian universities, especially in relation to academic freedom and university autonomy. With this there has been pressure on universities to corporatise their management culture.


The Murray and Martin Reports

At the national level during the fifties and the sixties, federal government policy supported the growth and prestige of the universities not only by the injection of massive funds for capital works, but also with the enthusiastic interest of the Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies. Menzies had a very clear view of the functions of universities based firmly on the British university traditions.[6] In an address at the University of New South Wales in 1964 he expounded his views on academic freedom: 

The integrity of the scholar would be under attack if he were told what he was to think about and how he was to think about it. It is of vital importance for human progress in all fields of knowledge that the highest encouragement should be given to untrammelled research, to the vigorous pursuit of truth, however unorthodox it may seem. It is for this reason that in Australia we have established the autonomy of universities, and have, so far as I know, and I hope I am right, consistently refrained from interfering in their work with what I call political executive directions.[7]

During the controversy over Orr, Menzies announced the establishment of a wide ranging committee of enquiry into the future role, finance and functioning of the universities. He invited Sir Keith Murray (Chair of the British Grants Commission) to head the investigation. The Murray Report which followed was a reaffirmation of faith in the practices and traditions of the British universities. The committee affirmed its support for the ideal of academic freedom as well as highlighting the lack of academic involvement in the function of universities. The committee proposed a more prominent role for the vice-chancellors as the academic leaders of the universities. It sensed a growing "dissatisfaction" with the government of universities "which if it persists will do serious harm to the morale of the academic community." It pointed out that the important decisions on university finances and administration were made with little or no discussion with the academic community into the decision making process.

There comes to arise ... not a natural unity of governing body and academic, but a natural disunity, and almost a natural state of tension. If the Professorial Boards had more vigour there would be conflict; but in many cases there is no conflict only because the Professorial Boards have lost hope.[8]

One of the main means of bringing the academic staff into the decision making process was seen to be through elevating the status of the vice-chancellors. These were in this period seen only as the executive rather than the academic leaders of the universities. The Report suggested that they should become chairmen of the professorial boards and thus be made to feel personally responsible for explaining the decisions of the boards to the councils/senates.

This Report, together with the growth in status and confidence of the Australian academic community, had made it possible during the sixties for university staff to exert a significant degree of influence over the academic affairs of the universities. In most cases vice-chancellors came to assume an academic as well as an administrative role and chaired both academic and council committees. They emerged as the key individuals in university government. By the end of the decade university councils had virtually ceased to interfere in academic affairs. Decisions on staffing and promotion, degree programs, courses of study and research were, in practice, taken by the professorial/ academic boards. While these had to be ratified by the councils/senates under the terms of the university statutes, this had become a formality. A clear division of responsibility between the governing body and the academic leadership of each university had developed.

This divide worked well in most universities through the sixties, seventies and eighties with support for this aided by the influx of academics from Britain who brought with them similar attitudes towards university government as those in Australia.

Notions of academic freedom and university autonomy were very much to the fore in this period and this was closely associated with the fear that governments would interfere in research. Research had become the essential requirement in appointments and promotion for academic staff. It also boosted the elite perception of universities and aided the belief that academics were part of a world wide community of professionals who owed more allegiance to their professional peers in other universities (especially outside Australia) than those within their own universities. Teaching expertise was seen as of minor consequence (if not irrelevant), and virtually no academics other than those in education faculties had teaching qualifications.

These emphases on research rather than expertise in teaching and the differences in their decision making processes were significant elements in the general cultural divide between universities and CAEs. The divide within universities between the responsibilities of councils and academic boards was not recognised in the teacher’s colleges, the technical colleges and later in the CAEs. Orr’s legacy was not seen to be relevant to these because these institutions had very different histories compared with universities.

Many of the former technical colleges that became CAEs were established in the later years of the nineteenth century. They had a strong tradition of independent college councils with their directors as key administrators and who generally exercised a form of top down management. There was little or no tradition of staff participation in decision making. Staff were there to teach and research was not on the agenda.

In the early years of technical education the institutions had strong links with the trade unions. Their teachers and administrators were imbued with the faith in the essential efficacy of manual labour and with this went a contempt for the intellectual, non practical elements associated with the grammar schools and universities. There was considerable conflict (especially in Victoria ) in the 1920s and 1930s between those supporting the ‘practical’ education in technical schools and colleges and those favouring the‘academic’ education in the high schools. In these early years the technical colleges made a special effort to involve industry and from the 1930s most had representatives of industry and commerce on their councils and curriculum committees. Their strong college councils eschewed any interference from the education departments. There was a firm, if not evangelical belief in the ‘practical’ nature of their courses in contrast to those of the universities, and this was consistent with their close associations with industry.[9]

The CAEs arose out of the recommendations of the Martin Report of 1964, which recommended the establishment of institutes of colleges in each state to oversee the functions of the technical colleges. They were to help raise the status of the colleges which became known as institutes of technology or colleges of advanced education. It was also to help ease the pressures on the universities as the demand for tertiary education increased. They were to cater for the students who would be ‘overtaxed’ by a university education. This was the basis for the ‘divide’ in the so-called binary system.[10]

A multitude of relatively small primary teachers colleges (from seven in 1946 to twenty eight in 1962) were established to cope with the baby boom after the Second World War. There was also an expansion of faculties of education in the universities to meet the demand for secondary teachers. The Martin Committee recommended that they be controlled by boards in each state, e.g. State College of Victoria, and it was not until the late seventies that they began to merge with the CAEs and the universities.[11]

But teacher education had no prestige in the universities, nor in the reigning Liberal Party. The English tradition that a good honours degree was all that was necessary to teach in a secondary school or a university was the prevailing orthodoxy in universities. It came as no surprise that the main sufferers of the 1981 federal Razor Gang’s amalgamations were the former teachers colleges.[12] Nevertheless, this did not extinguish the influence of the colleges within the newly established CAEs.

In these teachers colleges there was not the same tradition of independence from the state governments as with the technical colleges. Generally they were under the close supervision of the education departments, especially for senior appointments and finance, even though there was little direct interference in the administration of the colleges, especially as some of the colleges had notoriously strong principals who ran what might be called ‘very tight ships.’ As in the technical colleges, the heads of the teachers colleges were the supremos, perhaps even more so than in the technical colleges because they did not have strong and representative college councils to temper their rule.

By the 1970s the former teachers colleges were seeking independence and autonomy as part of the CAEs. Much of this was based on the perception by the staff and administrators of the independence of the universities, especially as these colleges had always had much closer links with the universities than the technical colleges. Nevertheless, like the latter they were teaching institutions. Even though research was not unknown, it certainly had none of the status and importance it had achieved in the universities. The change to CAE nomenclature did little to change these key historical differences between the colleges and the universities. They were to remain long after the official demise of the binary system.


The divide between CAEs and universities

Not only were there significant differences in respect to administration and culture, there was the reality in funding and resources. In 1985 academic/student ratios were on average 10% better in the universities compared with the colleges. There were more senior staff in universities (53% at senior lecturer level or above compared with 28% in the colleges). Equipment funding was $450 per EFTS in universities compared with $230 in the colleges. Support staff in universities was more generous (Student/nonacademic staff ratio 8.0 cf. 12.2 in colleges) and the provision of laboratories was on a much more generous scale.[13] The difference in library provision was obvious. The older universities (and even some of the post-war universities) had built up substantial collections. The value of a good university library was well understood in the universities, whereas in the CAEs (except for those based on the old teachers colleges), provision was insignificant. As Ingrid Moses has suggested, the establishment of the CAEs had exacerbated these differences and endowed universities with ‘more autonomy, more funds, less accountability’.[14] Over the ten years following the abolition of fees by the Whitlam Government in 1973, the student numbers in the higher education sector increased by 100,000 of which 70% were in the CAE sector.

Many of these differences in funding and resources were due to the predominance of teaching which was concentrated on undergraduates in the CAEs in contrast to the emphasis on higher degrees and research (in addition to undergraduate degrees) in the universities. Universities had always argued that they needed higher per capita funding and more attention to laboratories, libraries and equipment because of the demands of their research and higher degree components.

There were also important differences towards the universities and CAEs between the main political parties. The Liberal Party had historical and personal links with the universities and the prestigious private schools where most of the Liberal parliamentarians had been educated. The care and development of the universities was seen as a Liberal Party initiative, while the members of the Labor Party had strong suspicions that academic freedom and institutional autonomy were smokescreens to cover the expenditure of large sums of money on research and overseas trips with little accountability. The universities like the private schools were seen to be associated with the ‘upper class’, the professionals and the more highly paid public servants.

The Labor Party had close ties with the technical colleges from the very early days of the formation of the Labor Parties in the colonies. The CAEs rather than the universities were seen as the model for the expansion of higher education and also to further the party’s policies on equity and equal opportunity.

A major rationalisation had occurred by 1985 wherein advanced education institutions had been consolidated from 81 to 45, four involving universities. These changes were seen to be fully in accord with Labor Party equity policies in that they provided more access to higher education and that the larger institutions were able to provide a greater range of subjects and courses to choose from.


The Unified National System

When Dawkins inaugurated the Unified National System in 1988 this was ostensibly to bring together the existing binary system (so-called) to form a unified system of tertiary institutions with similar aims and under central direction by DEET in respect to finances, staffing, research, equity, performance indicators and management.[15]

The Labor Party’s long preoccupation with notions of equity and uniformity in education were reflected in the Dawkins’ initiatives. But there was much more than equity considerations behind Dawkin’s endeavour. He was one of the chief architects of the prevailing economic orthodoxy and management practices initiated by Labor premiers Wran and Cain and prime minister Hawke in the early eighties.[16] The culture and administration of the CAEs, and in particular those such as QUT, RMIT and WAIT, could be much more readily adapted to the demands of economic efficiency with their close links with industry and their top down management structures compared with the traditional universities. They engaged in applied research, worked their staff much harder than universities, and also had much smaller costs per student unit. Nor did they have all that "collegiality" with its numerous committees slowing down the decision making processes. The CAEs provided the model which Dawkins followed, not that of those elite traditional universities with their numerous monuments dedicated to a former Liberal Party prime minister.

There was an urgency about these changes and a confidence that within the foreseeable future the multitude of tertiary institutions would be compacted into a much smaller number of institutions, all to be designated "universities." Almost overnight the former CAEs were to become universities or to merge with universities. Indeed there was an unseemly rush by the CAE directors to change their titles and the titles of their senior staff to vice-chancellor, deputy vice-chancellor, professor, associate professor, etc., with little or no regard to the traditional university academic requirements for these positions. This almost magical transformation from colleges to universities initially served to highlight the wide gulf between the new and old universities, especially in regard to notions of autonomy, collegiality and research. These were largely foreign concepts for the new pretenders. But this was only an indication of what was to come. Dawkins’ concept of what he wanted a ‘university’ to be was much more akin to the culture of the CAEs than that of the established universities.


The new management structures and academic freedom

There is no doubt that there was a growing need for more efficiency in university management in the 1980s. The decline in resources per student load required closer supervision of university resources. Legislation related to equal rights and industrial awards required a closer look at university procedures. There was pressure to use performance indicators for public accountability and also pressure on universities to recruit full time overseas students. The federal authorities were well aware of these problems.

While the White Paper steered clear of directing the universities to a specific form of academic management, it was apparent that the top down structures of the CAEs were favoured to ensure ‘strong managerial modes of operation’, ‘adequate levels of consultation and accountability’, ‘streamlined decision making’, and maximum flexibility in the capacity of an ‘institution to implement new policies’.[17] There was no suggestion anywhere that other forms of management reform might have been more suited to universities.

Some of the vice-chancellors in the old universities quickly proceeded to institute changes in their management structures along these lines. For others it has led to interminable conflict which continues to this day. The problem was that top-down corporate management practices challenged institutional autonomy, academic freedom and collegiality.

Institutional autonomy was seen to be challenged because there was a clear thrust in the White Paper for a more speedy and efficient direction of institutions from the top, that is from DEET and the Minister, followed by the further direction within institutions down the line to the rank and file. Initially this appeared to threaten the ability of the institutions to make their own decisions by way of long established processes, usually slow moving committee work. Even before 1988 the federal authorities were demanding responses from the universities which were seriously testing the ability of university administrations to respond. After 1988 DEET fired continuous salvos of demands at the universities which inevitably required responses that allowed for little or no consultation as under the traditional academic management structures.

Academic freedom was also seen to be threatened because the new structures were "top down." There was a worry that academics would be told what to teach and what to research. Nor was it long before they discovered that they were much more likely to receive research grants if they were linked to the Government’s current list of national priorities or to the latest whims of the Minister and/or the media.

The demise of academic freedom and collegiality was more clearly reflected in the side-lining of the old academic/professorial boards in the traditional universities. This is partly related to the general decline in professorial authority in university governance which has been accentuated by the emergence of the corporate management structures and the very severe dilution of the status of professors with the virtual automatic change for many senior academics to ‘professor’. These boards were mostly reduced to briefing sessions and in some universities by-passed altogether.[18] In other universities where academics resisted this trend, there were the most problems in instituting corporate structures. In most of the new universities arising out of the CAEs this was not a problem for there was no established tradition of academic involvement in the governance of the institutions.

A key aim of the UNS was to create larger institutions as ‘a necessary condition for educational effectiveness and financial efficiency’, even though after the round of mergers in the late seventies early eighties there was no evidence that these led to any increase in efficiency or effectiveness. The mergers were closely related to the management changes within these larger institutions. They provided an ideal opportunity to develop top-down line management and with this a new tier of middle management to strengthen the support of the vice-chancellors at the senior management level.

These new middle level managers were established to the rhetoric of "devolution of responsibility." Faculties or departments were grouped under the umbrella of super-faculties and super-deans or pro vice-chancellors. A university with some twelve to twenty departments would have these grouped into four or five faculties (often with very divergent academic interests) for purposes of efficient management.

This followed the classic top-down management style which had its origins early in the twentieth century, but which had been discarded by many corporations in the commercial world. It was seen as a duplication of effort and resources which could be much more efficiently located at the "factory floor."

Some universities spent millions of dollars setting up these middle managers each with large bureaucracies actively engaged in "job creation," and largely duplicating the work in the departments and at the top management level. Others have located much smaller units (a middle level manager with one or two assistants), mainly concerned with monitoring finances.[19] The super faculty has been a source of conflict because the rhetoric of devolution was deceptive - devolution from the central administration to the super faculties did occur, but evolution of control away from the departments to the super faculties also took place.

A further indication of this change in the management and culture of Australian universities compared with those universities which existed a decade previously was the establishment of a Senior Executive Service (SES) originally formed in the state and federal public services. The super deans plus pro and deputy vice-chancellors with the vice-chancellor constitute the new SES group in the universities. In theory this is the new corporate decision making body (generally 8 to 10 members) in most of the universities. Nevertheless, whether this does exercise real power is largely dependent on the particular vice-chancellor who may well have a smaller group selected for any number of reasons, e.g. male bonding practices, sporting interests, long term friendships, exclusion of women. There are still those vice-chancellors who make most of the crucial decisions themselves, but this has been a vice-chancellorial characteristic long before the UNS.[20]

These changes in the management of universities (and especially those constituted as universities before 1988) were directly linked to the survival of academic freedom, collegiality and institutional autonomy. However, even though the general trend of change was similar, the specific mode of change relied very heavily on the particular strand of tertiary education dominant in the institutions from which they had arisen.

To illustrate this point what follows describes what occurred in four universities which have differing histories.


The University of Sydney

The oldest university in Australia had a long tradition of institutional independence as it prepared the elite professionals and the future leaders of society in many fields.

Its organisational structure with a VC, DVC and Registrar working with the Senate and Professorial Board and the faculties remained virtually unchanged even in the period of very rapid expansion of the 1960s and 1970s. ‘It simply grew steadily larger, multiplied its disciplines and fitted the new courses into much the same structure and curriculum organisation’.[21]

The most significant change in the seventies was the ‘democratisation’ of academic government. The students were appeased with representation on committees from the Senate to the departments and the Professorial Board was radically altered to become an Academic Board with substantial representation from non-professorial staff and students. Non professorial staff were able to become deans and heads of departments. But as in other universities which had undergone this democratisation process in the 1970s, not much changed in the basic functioning of the University in teaching and research. Nevertheless the notion of collegiality and non professorial participation in decision making was to be retained strongly in the University well into the 1990s.[22]

There were efforts made in the 1980s to rationalise the administrative structure in an attempt to group together a number of departments and schools into ‘more manageable’ units. In fact very little came of this which highlighted the general conservatism of the University and the difficulties confronting anyone attempting administrative change which would undermine the centres of power in the University which were located in the faculties.

The power of the faculties became very evident after the Boston Review, which advocated a consolidation of the faculties. After much discussion came a consolidation of the faculties into four academic groups each with a PVC as head.[23] But this was not what it seemed as the dean of one faculty commented. He saw two fundamental tenets behind these academic groups:

The first one was that the academic groups in no way changed the academic governance. Faculties propose degree programs, syllabus, details and so on and those issues properly go from a Faculty to Academic Board and from there to the governing body... The group has no role in that, nor should it, because that’s a case they make as a faculty about their discipline direct to the Academic Board. 

The other was: 

The VC determining 16 budget lines to 16 faculties was not to be changed. There was not a role for the PVC to say: I will cut up the cake.[24] 

The reality was that the VC had worked towards full corporate responsibilities for the four PVCs but he was defeated on this. McNicol, the VC, was seen as a strong centralist and concerned that the authority and power base in the University be in the centre, not in the faculties. It was believed that management and control of the faculties would be more readily achieved through the four PVCs. However the deans did not want to lose their direct access to the VC. To complicate matters some of the PVCs were also faculty deans![25]

It seems that for most of the University’s history the budget was distributed by ‘grace and favour’ (as with most of the older universities). For example some deans such as medicine and some heads of departments such as physics had much more clout budgetwise than less prestigious faculties and departments As one long term academic in the University, commented:

It would be true to say that under Ward and no doubt his predecessors, a lot of what is now done in committees was done behind the scenes through personal contacts. Individuals who wanted something, either singly or in groups, went to see the VC informally and talked about what they wanted: grace and favour.

This had long term effects even when budgets became more transparent from the early nineties under McNicol. For example within Science the 1996 budget still reflected the grace and favour days with each Physics undergraduate bringing in 40% more each year to the Department compared with Chemistry; similarly with PhDs, where the same figure was 33%. These anomalies were unlikely to be sorted out within the faculties.[26]

Sydney had a long history of academic staff engaging in research. In 1939, 136 articles and books were produced and in 1946 the PhD degree was established, one year after Melbourne.[27] This meant that in the period of expansion after the Second World War most academics joining the University would have had an expectation that research was part of their work, unlike most other tertiary institutions in Australia. Research being such an individualistic occupation and shrouded by a belief that it should not be hindered or restricted in any way, it is not surprising that the last thing academic researchers wanted was a University bureaucracy over-seeing their efforts. Even in the mid-1990s the management of research at the University was minimal compared with other universities. After all Sydney was doing quite well in the research status stakes so what was the need for a bureaucracy?

In 1996 it was still not clear what happened to the University’s research money. It seemed it was rolled into the operating grant and a small portion kept for the faculties on the basis of research performance. One academic indicated that the PVC Research was not even sought for an interview with the Boston Review Committee. There was certainly no great pressure from the researchers for the establishment of an elaborate bureaucracy as in many universities, although some thought this lack of interest from the centre went too far.[28]

Professor McNicol cut short his seven year term in the middle of 1995, He had found it difficult to break through the long established cliques in the University and remained an outsider. He was resented because he was seen as a centralist, on about "the authority of power structures in the centre." "What he wanted and where he tried to go was to get four PVCs who had corporate responsibility and no direct involvement in the group of faculties."[29]

McNicol was trying to achieve what many of his VC colleagues had already established - a corporate, top down management structure with a new middle level tier of super-deans. But he had a similar problem to the VC of Queensland - the resistance of the academic community to change that threatened the autonomy of the academic heads, professorial and nonprofessorial.

It was a resistance based on a long tradition of independence in teaching and research. In its extreme it was a fear of being told what to teach (as in the CAEs) and what to research. New resource powered super deans could well bring efficiencies and rationalisations, but the this was not worth the loss of independence.

Only a new VC (Professor Gavin Brown) who acted swiftly and was heavily imbued with the corporate ethos could break this nexus as he did on 3 March 1997. As from that date it was decreed that the University was reorganised into three ‘colleges’ - the College of Health Sciences (7789 enrolment 1996), College of Humanities (13979), College of Science and Technology (9792), each headed by a PVC with responsibility for overall academic leadership, budget, staffing and building usage and equipment within their college. Each college was large by Australian standards (larger than some universities) and the cost of administering these colleges could take a substantial slice out of the University’s budget. depending on whether the emphasis was towards further devolution to the faculties or whether devolution stopped at the college level. Corporatisation would appear to have conquered one of the last bastions of the traditional university ethos in Australia.[30]

Nevertheless, it could be argued that Sydney had done very well in the status stakes in the 1990s in spite of the rather disjointed nature of the centre and a few traumas in the faculties. The faculties and the departments went along their merry way largely ignoring the centre and achieving good results for the University. There were what appeared to be sound management reasons for establishing the three colleges, but their acceptance by the academic community did not come overnight.


Queensland University of Technology

The history of QUT was very different from the University of Sydney. QUT was ostensibly the outcome of the teachers’ college and technical college strand, but the nature of the merger was such as to ensure the dominance of the technical strand.

The Brisbane CAE was formed in 1982 as an amalgam of four CAEs - North Brisbane CAE, Carseldine (established as a CAE in 1972 out of a teachers college founded in 1961), Mount Gravatt CAE,1968, Kelvin Grove (established as a teachers’ college in 1914 and a CAE in 1965) and the Brisbane Kindergarten Teachers’ College which could trace its origins back to 1911. The CAEs at Caseldine and Mount Gravatt were the main primary teacher training institutions.[31]

By the late 1980s these CAEs had developed some diversification of courses but teacher training was dominant and the links with the Education Department remained.

The Queensland Institute of Technology (QIT) was founded in 1965 when it absorbed the professional courses of the former Central Technical College. In 1985 the College conducted a major evaluation of the governance structure and it was organised into eight Schools which were to form the basis of the University in June 1989.

QIT had a good reputation for the quality of its courses but only limited autonomy since it was answerable to the state Board of Advanced Education, which, in turn had to approach the federal authorities if QIT wanted to bring in new courses. It was a single campus with a single purpose - expertise in teaching. When it achieved university status the name changed and so did the titles of the senior staff, but it was still very much the old QIT with Dennis Gibson, Vice-chancellor who had been Director of QIT since 1982.

When it became apparent that the new university would have to merge with the Brisbane CAE in 1990 as a result of the Dawkins Unified National System, the QUT was well placed to dictate terms and to preserve in the takeover the cultural and management characteristics of the former technical college. This was facilitated by the similarity of the management style of the two institutions - top down, centralised structures with much of the minutiae of administration handled in the centre.

What emerged out of this takeover of the BCAE was a university with eight faculties. Seven were related to the QUT’s existing structures and one (Education) encompassed the remnants of the BCAE. The disciplines of the BCAE, e.g. maths, science, were located in the appropriate departments outside Education. (The Mount Lawley CAE was absorbed by Griffith University in 1990.) All positions were thrown open and everyone had to apply for the jobs but, as could have been anticipated, even with some shifts in senior positions the all pervasive culture of QUT was maintained.[32]

Gibson rejected the semi-independent campus model favoured by the BCAE in favour of cross campus faculties. He was determined to retain a simple top down line of management and he rejected the popular trend to interpose a level of middle management with super deans/pro-vice-chancellors. The inner circle remained small and discrete, with the eight deans responsible to the DVC. To make it even more simple he worked hard to reduce the University to three campuses when it had started with five. He tried to retain a personal management style which was much harder to maintain in a widely dispersed institution.[33]

One dean, who had had considerable experience in traditional universities, claimed that the QUT Council was ‘more powerful and more intrusive’ than any Council he knew. ‘The whole business of what courses are going to run in two years time’ never comes before the Academic Board. It goes straight from the Executive to Council. QUT was driven by its Council and the Academic Board was completely sidelined. It was as "weak as dishwater," one academic observed.[34]

All the major committees of the University reported to the Council or via the VC to the Council. The PVC (Academic) who chaired the Academic Board did not have a place on the Council. Similarly the PVC (research) was sidelined with matters concerning research from the faculties by-passing the PVC and going directly to the DVC.

There was no tradition of academic participation in university affairs. One professor who had been at QIT/QUT for twenty years put it crisply:

QUT has always had a very authoritarian style and we do not have the ultimate freedom for the individual lecturer. We have never toyed with the notion that lecturers are autonomous beings. Our courses have always been closely structured and we have relied very heavily on industry feedback.[35]

There were strong influences from industry on QUT courses, influences going back to the days of the Central Technical College. Every Faculty Advisory Committee included ‘outsiders’, with chair ‘outsiders’, the latter sitting on the Faculty Academic Board. Liaison with industry and the professions on particular courses was close. This approach was a positively perceived and sustained difference from the other two universities in Brisbane.

This close association with the ‘outsiders’ in course development and the top down management structure is seen to go hand in hand with this image of QUT as a university that gets things done quickly with none of the hindrances from the personal whims of academics or long discussions on committees such as academic boards.[36]

The cultures of QUT and the BCAE in 1990 did not encompass research, although some individuals engaged in research without official encouragement. Once gaining university status, research was imposed. It was an absolute necessity for it was seen as a fundamental attribute of a "good" university. A research culture had to be developed and in QUT terms this meant "quickly." All the administrative structures were put in place and the staff were told to do research.

Support for research in the university was restricted to a limited number of research centres as a means of concentrating resources. While this did not prevent academics from going into other fields, they would have known they would not gain institutional support. This applied in a similar way to higher degree students. The emphasis was on ‘practical’ research, i.e. research which would have quick rewards for industry. There was no place for ‘pure research’ at QUT.

The University had followed the QIT tradition of intensive strategic planning and budgeting along corporate lines. Action plans for all sections of the University were demanded in the context of the detailed QUT goals. These were perused by the Council so that it would retain tight control over university directions. One dean noted that this was something you would never have seen in a university ten years ago (nor in many today, for that matter) and he went on to describe:

Strategic five year plans, strategic one year plans, then plans for everyone on the central committees. Its a finely wrought little document. And then of course, all of that is meant to in some way feed off and feed into the major University planning, because the University has a five year plan and a one year plan. I don’t think we have worked that out properly yet.[37]

Five years after the merger of QUT with the BCAE the management culture of the University was not radically different from the days of the QIT. Structures had changed but this did mean that management had changed. The Executive Officer indicated that if the inner circle wanted to get something done structures were largely ignored and a special committee would be set up to work through the problem. She indicated that the University was a much bigger institution but "it still operates as though we were a smaller organisation... so in terms of management we are still running the place in the same sorts of ways that we always ran the place."[38]


La Trobe University

La Trobe was one of the first of the established universities (founded 1967) to embrace the changes envisaged by the Dawkins' White Paper. It had no teachers or technical college antecedents except for a very recent merger with the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences. It was influenced strongly by the British university tradition having relied very largely on the influence of British academics in its early years. It was one of a group of new universities established in the sixties and seventies to meet the dramatic expansion during the Menzies golden age for the universities.

The early administrators had close links with the armed forces and this probably did not help in the relations between administrators and students which were quite bitter during the "troubles" at La Trobe in the early seventies. Partly as an outcome of this conflict and also the activities of a relatively youthful academic staff, the academic management was "democratised." This meant that non professorial academics and students were able to participate in decision making, especially on the Academic Board, Council and their committees. Student interest soon waned but the academics took their increased participation seriously with a strong emphasis on the discussion of policy matters. Academic Board meetings were often prolonged.

The main challenge to the professors was the decision to allow heads of departments to be elected, if the members of the department wished. While some departments, especially in the sciences, decided to retain their professors as heads, there were soon many departments with senior lecturers or readers as heads.

Major changes occurred with the arrival of the new VC, Professor Michael Osborne and the increasing pressures from DEET for universities to corporatise their management structures. However, one of the key changes was well under way before the appearance of Dawkins. This was the mutually agreed merger of La Trobe and the CAE, the Lincoln School of Health Sciences, with the latter becoming a School in the University. With this the opportunity was seized to corporatise the non academic management structure.

Professor Osborne was one of the new breed of VCs. Max Charlesworth has aptly described them as ‘the professional/managerial’ vice-chancellors. ‘One might almost speak of the tycoon vice-chancellor or, in some cases, the buccaneer vice-chancellor, or even the imperial vice-chancellor’.[39] Osborne, like his predecessor Professor John Scott, also came out of the British tradition but his approach was very different from Scott. He proceeded to initiate a thoroughly top down corporate structure for the academic management of La Trobe, although it was also apparent that he had some misgivings.

He set up a Strategic Planning Committee in March 1990 and its Report was presented in October 1991. The justification for the changes described in the Report were contained in one paragraph. The VC argued that La Trobe could no longer escape the major issues generated by the Dawkins reforms which brought ‘more strident calls’ from governments and their agencies

for accountability, demands for better teaching and for evidence of this in the shape of so called performance indicators, insistence on detailed scrutiny of academic profiles of institutions, pressure for rationalisation of offerings, criticisms of poor and inefficient management practices, requests for mountains of information on every aspect of the University...[40]

The main feature of the Report was a major change in the academic government of the University. The ten Schools were reduced to four faculties (Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Economics, Humanities, Health Sciences) each headed by a super dean, deputy dean and faculty board on which there was one representative from each department or school. Sometime later when La Trobe took over the Bendigo CAE, this was made a fifth faculty in the University. A new head of the Bendigo campus was appointed who joined the other super deans. A large administrative bureaucracy was created around each dean and a very considerable sum on refurbishment of offices was outlaid to accommodate the new administrators.

Where departments had previously had a significant influence over staffing and budgetary matters, these decisions were made by the deans. The previous right of the departments to bring matters before the School was abrogated and left to the discretion of the deans of the new faculties. The deans were allocated their budgets from the central administration and on their discretion they retained a substantial percentage to pay for their administration and what was left was distributed to the departments.

At the top of the academic pyramid there was no scaling down of the bureaucracy with an expanding number of PVCs and DVCs. The Academic Board was reconstituted with a preponderance of senior managers and its meetings became little more than briefing sessions.

These were more significant changes for La Trobe than they would have been for universities which had not been so influenced by the democratisation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In a very brief space of time it had become a classic top down management corporation ruled by managers who were remote from the factory floor and whose doors were firmly closed to the rank and file. Nevertheless, the culture of the university built around those of the traditional university could not be eliminated overnight. There still remained a strong adherence to collegiality and academic freedom in the departments which has only been diminished in recent years with the departure of so many academics who valued these ideals.

La Trobe is one of the few of the traditional universities where senior management has wholly embraced the corporate structures and the corporate ideology which goes with them, as distinct from other universities which have gone through the motions of restructuring, but have tried to retain much of the traditional ethos around consultation and collegiality. Differences of this nature between universities are more likely to be due to the particular idiosyncrasies of the vice-chancellor and/or the strengths and weaknesses of the leading academics and administrators.


The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland was founded in 1910 and in spite of the early rhetoric about a "people’s university," the University settled down to follow the management and cultural style of the British universities but with one significant local difference. Its Act and its early history made its Senate much more responsible to the State government compared with the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne. There were close links with the Queensland Education Department for many years. This was highlighted by an Act in 1941 which was to control education in Queensland from the kindergarten to the university.

In this the Vice-chancellor, J D Story (1939-1960), took a leading role. He had taken on the unpaid role of VC after many years as Director of Education in Queensland. He was not an academic and did not attend the Professorial Board or the AVCC. It was no surprise that the University retained many of the tight public service attitudes regarding finance, leave etc. These were still evident in the late 1970s.When the number of staff had grown to well over 2000, the VC still had to approve all leave applications. The University did not have a long tradition such as the University of Sydney of academic freedom and university autonomy.[41]

A full-time fully paid VC only came with the appointment of Professor Schonell in 1960. The new VC was well versed in the notions of academic freedom and university autonomy, but the government still retained Story to oversee the University’s finances.

It was not until the mid-1960s that research was treated seriously, although it had been part of the original Act and some individuals had undertaken research over the first fifty years. This was highlighted in 1965 when the University received the second lowest allocation of research money from the ARGC in Australia, even though it was one of the largest universities.

During the troubled years of 1969-1972 the students and staff vigorously opposed the intrusion of the State government in the management of the University, and when the new VC (Brian Wilson) arrived in 1979, he made a special plea for ‘no government meddling in the University’s affairs’. It was during these years too when there was an important new alignment with a challenge to the bastion of the professoriate, the Professorial Board. Automatic membership of professors was abolished on the new ‘Academic’ Board and provision was made for elected academics. At the same time (for the first time ) the Board had a Research Committee.[42]

By the early eighties there had developed a strong resistance in the University to government interference in University affairs, and also there was an important democratic element within the main university committees in support of the right of academics to influence decisions on academic matters. These two currents were to dominate the management style of the University until 1996.

In 1980 after only a few months in the University Wilson indicated that he wished to replace the existing faculty structure by a smaller number of schools under the leadership of super-deans which would compete with others for the resources. They would then allocate them to the various departments within each school. It was the middle management approach which was to become very popular in the 1990s, but he was a decade too early. It was a direct challenge to the democratic, collegial model, and it was seen as an attempt to undermine the powers of the Academic Board. Wilson was drawing on his recent experience in the Canadian higher education scene at Simon Fraser University.[43]

It took two years for the VC to achieve a compromise, but it was very different from his original proposal. It was to be left to his successor to implement his original plan seventeen years later. The compromise established PVCs (instead of super-deans) for humanities, physical and technological sciences, biological sciences, social sciences and health sciences. They would belong to the Academic Resources and Planning Committee which would include the VC and DVC. Each was to be advised by a Group Council made up of the departments in the Group and embraced budgetting, resource and personnel allocation and administration.

The thirteen faculties remained separate from this structure with control over the basic elements of academic work - teaching, curriculum development and research. Where previously a committee of the Academic Board had distributed the resources each year after looking at the sixty-five departments, the new structure gave the VC a more direct route to where the resources went via the PVCs. The Board no longer retained a direct involvement in resource distribution.

This scheme which was implemented from 1983 established two parallel administrative structures. It was a compromise between the VC’s desire for a top down structure with the PVCs taking much of the administrative load from the VC’s office and providing a relatively small managerial group at the top, and the strong resistance within the academic community to this type of structure which was seen to be replacing a collegial model with a corporate model. In the early days of the new scheme the new PVCs were viewed with considerable suspicion as agents of the VC.[44]

The first attempt to alter this structure was made in 1986 when a committee found that there was little evidence of problems arising from the parallel structure and recommended no significant changes. Another review in 1992 tackled what was perceived as the ongoing problem (at least by some of the senior administrators), the separation of resource allocation (by the Group Councils) and academic decision making (by the faculties). But again there was strong opposition, in fact many academics saw the system as working well.[45]

It was not so much that "it is intrinsically a good system," said one academic "because of the people in it," or as another put it, "I guess it works, but it works despite the structure, because people make it work. Irrespective of administrative structure it will either work or won’t work because of the people in it."[46]

The Group system had devolved greater autonomy and control into the hands of those responsible for the delivery of teaching and the conduct of research. On the other hand while the faculties supervised courses of study, course content, degree courses and research, they had no role in the allocation of resources to support these activities. The faculty deans had no direct control over the budgets or staffing in the departments within their faculties. This was seen as a very positive outcome by many staff.

There was a problem with some of the PVCs whose "operational styles did not support the concept of collegiality in decision making." On the other hand the PVCs complained that they had no control over the academic quality of what was being offered.[47]

It was clear from the Committee’s report that there was a classic conflict here between the attempt to impose a corporate management style which was at loggerheads with notions of collegiality and democratic management. On paper the system looked cumbersome, almost unworkable, yet it seemed to function very successfully. In the intervening years between 1983 and 1992, the University had gone from strength to strength in most areas.

But there was a perception by some of the senior management that there had to be change and this came with the appointment of Professor Hay in 1996. Within a few months he had achieved what the previous VC had been trying to do for fourteen years. He introduced a classic top down management structure of the type which was by then common in many universities. The 16 faculties and 6 resource groups were replaced by 7 faculties, each led by an executive dean as from January1997.[48]


The corporate university and the demise of collegiality

These case studies reflect a diverse reaction to the Dawkins initiatives which is characteristic of the whole sector. Nevertheless the direction of change is quite clear, even though the speed of change has varied between institutions. Some of the traditional universities such as La Trobe took on the Dawkins imperatives quite early in the 1990s, others arising out of the CAEs virtually had them in place before the White Paper and some in the late 1990s are still struggling towards implementation. Much of the problem with the latter has been the ability of their VCs to push through the changes. In many cases VCs have been hesitant to act not only because of the opposition within their own universities, but also because they too had misgivings about the trend of events. Some chose to retire and leave it to their more corporate minded colleagues. A new breed of VCs appeared were been very effective in corporatising their universities, e.g. Hay (Deakin, University of Queensland), Brown (Adelaide, Sydney), Gilbert (Tasmania, Melbourne), Osborne (La Trobe).

There are a very few exceptions to the above where universities are resisting corporatisation. But there are always exceptions and there are even two universities from technical/teachers college backgrounds where the VCs tried or are trying to develop universities with the more traditional culture involving the staff in decision making and collegial practices.

Generally those universities which had strong traditions of collegiality and academic freedom resisted the corporate model, while other universities quickly fell into line with Dawkins. In other words the culture and management styles of the former CAEs have spread through the whole tertiary sector. Even research has become orientated towards ‘what is good for the institution’ and what industry and governments want.

The concepts of academic freedom and institutional autonomy which were seen as fundamental to universities in the pre-Dawkins era are now seen as irrelevant and outdated. Whereas previously there was a concerned literature on these, during the 1990s they have been virtually ignored and discarded. Those academics who have any regret at their demise are accused of harkening back to an era ‘which did not have academic freedom or autonomy anyway’. For example Simon Marginson put the case against collegiality quite succinctly:

I very much doubt that the answer lies in returning to the earlier systems of collegial governance, at least in their traditional forms. They were elitist, hierarchical, unaccountable outside the college, exclusive of junior academics and of general staff; and exclusive of women. They were also inefficient: slow to respond, and unable to initiate new things. People rarely took responsibility for the good of the institution, or each other, preferring to focus on themselves and their departments to the exclusion of all else. It is not surprising that collegial systems have been so readily by-passed.[49]

For the corporate minded economic rationalist the speed of making decisions is a measure of efficiency. Accountability is gauged according to the ability to meet the demands of industry and commerce. ‘For the good of the institution’ is how much money one can gather to boost the institution’s finances. Universities are still elite and hierarchical today in spite of the new ethos. The only real difference is that there are more members of the elite, especially in the levels of higher university management. Whereas previously the senior academic staff were involved in the decision making process now it is the corporate managers, many of whom once were academics. Apparently the critics of collegiality do not see government by top down management as elitist.

Strangely enough the outdated form of corporate management which most universities have adopted is a fundamentally hierarchical (low, middle, upper levels) with decisions from the top down. Good corporate management today involves those who carry out the decisions being part of the decision making process and avoids substantial middle level bureaucracies. This may take longer, but it is much more likely to maintain morale in the institution and it could well be more "efficient" to consult those who are at the "coal face."

It is also a myth that until the arrival of the economists universities were unaccountable to anyone outside. One the historical features of Australian universities has been their accountability to the professions and the public services in respect to the training of the professionals. This was seen as their most important function. Some would argue they have been far too accountable in this regard.

To suggest that academics rarely took responsibility for the "good of the institution" ignores all those (in particular before the 1990s) who took some pride in their institution, especially in the older universities such as Sydney and Melbourne. There were many other ways in which academics could work for the "good of the institution" other than by fund raising. The effect on the morale of the university staff by corporatisation and the realisation that they have been largely deprived of participation in decision making is far more damaging to the institution than this so-called "irresponsibility" of the past.

There is another myth which the supporters of the Dawkins imperatives have promulgated. It is that universities have much more institutional autonomy now than previously. However what has actually occurred over the last decade is the abandonment of any trust the Federal Government had in the ability of universities to handle the federal grants. They have imposed numerous checks and balances on universities which have severely restricted their autonomy. They have required an increasing number of paper trails for academics and administrators to follow linked to attempts to measure accountability and quality. They have sought to force ‘efficiency’ on the universities by successively cutting their grants so that universities would both direct their endeavours to the ‘market’ and at the same time keeping their staff on tenterhooks about their jobs.

Roderick West, chair of a recent Federal Government inquiry, expressed his alarm at the straitened circumstances of some universities: 

cost efficiencies on the factory floor are different from cost efficiencies in the academic community... In satisfying the demand for efficiency in management, an enterprise may lose sight of its ideals, of its humanity and even its professional integrity. If this happens, there is no true efficiency.[50]

As a result universities today have little freedom to take initiatives which do not require outside resources and this immediately makes them dependent on interested parties. Whatever the institution does in these activities it must bring a financial benefit to the institution. This requirement in itself restricts the scope of these activities.

The corporate culture has taken over wherein the profit motive is dominant. The staff are seen to serve the interests of the corporation, to provide its finance, to support its commercial endeavours, to market its products and to charge profitable services to its clients. When linked with a remote senior management which issues directives to the staff, this becomes essentially a de-personalising process. The demands of the dollar become all pervasive. A department may be of international renown because of its research, but it will face closure if it cannot attract enough clients and grants. A staff member who is in an area which does not rely on research grants and where research is essentially individualistic or where student numbers have declined is at risk because he/she does not bring in sufficient funds to supplement his/her salary. The criteria which are applied are based on monetary policy. Other considerations which could involve national interest, public good, future directions, etc. are ignored.[51]

This is not institutional freedom or academic freedom in the old sense but commercial freedom to develop new courses, new research projects that will bring in the dollars to the institution. While this can be seen as forcing a ‘greater measure of self managing autonomy’ and making universities ‘more responsive to effective innovations’ to external demands, it brings with it a severe restriction on the ability of the institution to engage in teaching and research that is seen as unprofitable for the university. This eliminates a large slice of human endeavour. Those areas which have suffered and will continue to suffer both in teaching and research are history, philosophy, politics, legal studies, economic history, libraries, the classics, many of the languages, music, the arts, and the natural sciences, to name a few. They will suffer not only with fewer, if any, students, undergraduate and postgraduate, but also in their research areas.


Engendering a climate of fear

Lord Conrad Russell recounts a story about his father:

My father has described a period of two years ‘during which it seemed likely that the whole of the rest of my life might be consumed in looking at that blank sheet of paper’. The book which resulted was Principia Mathematica, and those two years, however much they might appear totally unproductive were a very valuable investment in academic time. We are now told that that the development of the digital computer would have been impossible without that research.[52]

Research was vital to the differentiation between CAEs and universities before the 1990s. But it was research of a significantly different kind from the research which CAEs chose to emphasise and which Dawkins favoured when with his magic wand he turned them into universities. Even though universities did engage in applied research it was what has been called "pure research" which carried much of the prestige, but which could also bring far reaching insights such as the example above.

Academic freedom is vital to all research, but even more so for pure research. It requires that element of freedom which allows academics to test the "received wisdom" of the aspect of the arts and sciences in which they specialise. It is freedom which allows them to do this without fear of recrimination, whether from within the university or from outside. It is founded on devotion to finding the truth. Without this the whole concept is worthless.

With this goes security of employment. The fear of being dismissed, made redundant or forced out on a package is not conducive to research nor to teaching. Unfortunately today many university staff live in this "climate of fear." It is engendered by:

All this is exacerbated by top down decision making which is leading to a situation in many universities where academics are being told what to teach and what to research "for the good of the institution"; in other words, teaching and research which will bring in the dollars. None of this helps the morale of the staff, especially when they see millions of dollars of university money sunk into commercial enterprises, often only marginally connected with education.

This chapter has relied to a large extent on an ARC project which involved visiting 20 universities in 1995-7 gathering data and interviews on changes in university governance and management. From the wealth of data collected it is not easy to generalise about universities. It has been argued that they come from diverse origins which still influence their individual cultures today. They retain many staff who have an allegiance to the culture from those institutions in which they began their academic careers. Nevertheless, there has been one overriding imperative emanating from the federal authorities, sustained by both Labor and Coalition Ministries, that universities must adopt the culture of the corporation. The one generalisation that can be safely made is that this imperative has been largely successful. With this there is little or no room for notions of academic freedom and collegiality. Where they survive they survive under duress.



[1]. Much of the material used in this paper was from the data gathered with the help of a major ARC grant.

[2]. Geoffrey Blainey, A Centenary History of the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1957, p. 8.

[3]. See A. K. Stout, The Staff Associations and the Orr Case, Vestes, no. 1, vol. 2, April 1959, pp. 13-14; John Kerr, Academic Freedom and Academic Boycott, Australian Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 4, December 1958; A. K. Stout, The Philosophers and the Orr Case, Australian Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 1, March 1959.

[4]. Cassandra Pybus virtually ignores why Orr was chosen in her book Gross Moral Turpitude. The Orr Case Reconsidered (Melbourne, 1993).

[5]. The detailed academic work on the Orr case is to be found in W. H. C. Eddy, Orr, Brisbane, 1961.

[6]. For details of Menzies’ views on universities see B. Bessant, Robert Gordon Menzies and Education in Australia, Melbourne Studies in Education, 1977, pp. 77-78, 89-101.

[7]. Robert Menzies, The Universities - Some Queries, Inaugural Wallace Wurth Memorial Lecture, University of New South Wales, 1964, p. 13.

[8]. Report of the Committee on the Australian Universities (Murray Report), Canberra, 1957, pp. 7-11, 94-99.

[9]. See B. Bessant, Education and Politics in the Development of the Education Systems of NSW and Victoria 1900-1940, with particular reference to post-primary education., PhD, Monash University, 1971, ch. 5.

[10]. Commonwealth of Australia, Report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia (Martin report), 2 vols., Canberra, 1964.

[11]. Ibid.

[12]. See B. Bessant, Lessons From the Past. Lessons for the Future, Educational Researcher, no. 1, 1996.

[13]. Hugh Hudson, The Binary System, Journal of Tertiary Administration, vol. 10, no. 1, May 1988, p. 42.

[14]. See Ingrid Moses, The Binary Experience - Success or Wasted Effort? Journal of Tertiary Administration, vol. 13, no. 2, October 1991.

[15]. See Higher Education: A Policy Discussion Paper (Green Paper), Canberra, 1987; Higher Education: A Policy Statement (White Paper), Canberra, 1988.

[16]. B. Bessant, Corporate Management and the Institutions of Higher Education, Australian Universities’ Review, no. 2, 1988, p. 10.

[17]. White Paper, op. cit.

[18]. A survey of academic boards in the ARC project found that there was an almost universal shift away from funding and any financial decision making at the academic board level.

[19]. There was one vivid contrast between the super dean in one university in control of some 7000 ETFSUs in two widely dispersed campuses who had a full time senior administrator and a secretarial assistant to assist him. He also taught in a course and had two major ARC grants. In another university the super dean had some 6000 ETSUs to control on one campus and 12 full time administrators to help him. He had much the same responsibilities as the other super dean but he did not research or teach.

[20]. In most universities there was an inner group either unofficially or officially constituted who made the key decisions. How the members of this group were selected depended very much on the VC. For example one VC liked people around him who could talk over things while jogging. Another preferred people who were good raconteurs around the bar, while another had a very keen interest in football and attracted colleagues who could keep up with his knowledge in this area. With such interests women were automatically excluded.

[21]. W. F. Connell et al., History of the University of Sydney, vol. 2, Sydney, p. 92.

[22]. Ibid., p. 102.

[23]. Ibid., pp. 424-25. The groups were: A - agriculture, science, veterinary science, Orange campus; B - architecture, economics, law, engineering, business; C - dentistry, health sciences, medicine, nursing; D - arts, Sydney College of the Arts, music, education.

[24]. Tape transcript, pp. 2-3.

[25]. Tape transcript, p. 6.

[26]. Tape, head of department in sciences.

[27]. Connell, op. cit., p. 481.

[28]. Comments on various tapes.

[29]. Tape, senior administrator.

[30]. University Statistical Summary, 1996; University of Sydney, University Organisational Structure, 3 March 1997.

[31]. QUT Submission to Council, 28 September 1990, p. 3.

[32]. Ibid., pp. 5-7.

[33]. Tape, senior academic manager.

[34]. Tape transcript, dean, p. 12.

[35]. Tape, professor.

[36]. Tape transcript, senior administrator, pp. 5-6.

[37]. Tape transcript.

[38]. Tape transcript.

[39]. Max Charlesworth, From Dawkins to Where?, Journal of Tertiary Administration, vol. 15, no. 1, May 1993, p. 7.

[40]. La Trobe University, Report of the Strategic Planning Committee, October 1991, p. 3.

[41]. Malcolm Thomis, History of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, p. 252.

[42]. Ibid., p. 338.

[43]. University of Queensland, Review of the Academic Organisation of the University, 26 May 1992, p. 9.

[44]. Tape Transcript, senior staff member,

[45]. Review, op. cit., appendix 3.

[46]. Tape transcript, professor.

[47]. Tape transcript, head of department.

[48]. University of Queensland, A Revised Organisation for the University of Queensland, 6 September 1996.

[49]. Simon Marginson, University Organisation in an Age of Perpetual Motion, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 18, no. 2, 1996.

[50]. Age, 28 May 1998.

[51]. For example universities can and have closed down or cut substantially their education departments with no apparent regard for future teacher requirements and have opened many new law faculties with little concern that they may be producing a surfeit of lawyers. For the free marketeer this is not a problem - ‘market forces’ will sort it out.

[52]. Conrad Russell, Academic Freedom, London, 1993, p. 24.