July 16, 2020

COVID-19 update from our CEO

You may have seen recent news that UNSW Sydney is the latest university to announce job losses as part of its efforts to remain sustainable.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on so many people, businesses, and organisations. The university sector has also taken a serious hit. As many of you already know, universities were locked out of Jobseeker, so our partner universities (UNSW, Swinburne University of Technology, and The University of Western Australia) have had to rely on internal changes for ways to remain viable as they weather the impacts of policy changes to do with COVID-19.

Each university is responding differently, but with the latest announcement from UNSW, I wanted to get in touch to provide an update.

What’s happening at CSI's partner universities?

  • At UNSW, the University is currently in the voluntary redundancy (VR) phase, where they are trying to reduce a forecasted shortfall.
  • At Swinburne University of Technology, they have already called for VR are currently in the next phase, looking at potential compulsory redundancies to reduce their forecasted shortfall.
  • UWA have signed the NTEU Jobs Protection Framework Agreement, which keeps jobs but cuts fractions, wages and defers salary increases.

What does this mean for CSI?

First and foremost, the Centre for Social impact is of critical importance to all our partner universities, in quality and importance of research, education offerings, and strategic intent. More than ever, ‘social impact’ is mentioned as being a key component of mission and vision. CSI helps deliver on that.

In addition, some key points to mention are:

  • Our education courses are increasingly popular, and with many already existing online, in some areas our enrolments are stronger than ever.
  • Our research continues to have demonstrable impact across many areas, including homelessness, disability, education, employment, social enterprise, outcomes measurement, and more. We continue to highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on many different areas with our fact sheets.
  • Our point of difference, that we work across sectors, is proving to be more important than ever before, as we look for ways to bolster our not-for-profit sector, by working with business, government, and philanthropy to provide a rigorous evidence base for the future. As part of this, we are soon launching our national Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector Survey.
  • We have a National Agreement across our Institutions and a number of collaborative projects and funded roles that are important for each of our institutions and help to achieve CSI’s core purpose.

Of course, CSI is not immune to the impacts on our universities. Our staff are a combination of academic, professional, fixed term, and casual who are all employed by each of our academic institutions. Some staff are tied to external funding, others are not. We are a lean organisation with a high performing team, and we are all playing our part in helping our universities survive and then thrive into the future. As part of this, we are continually looking at ways to bolster our sustainability while we continue to produce important work which highlights the challenges and opportunities that currently face our for-purpose sector.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge our incredible teams nationally and across each of the universities. Our staff have never worked so hard and in such challenging circumstances. Please be assured that we are committed to doing all that we can at CSI to remain sustainable and to keep our people employed.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions, and as always, thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards,

Professor Kristy Muir
CEO, Centre for Social Impact

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