CHARLES Sturt University (CSU) will take urgent steps to review its workforce, courses and campuses in a bid to offset an $80 million decline in revenue.
The hit is largely a result of the current impacts on the university's international program with a draft plan financial sustainability plan due for stakeholder engagement by June.
The university has a campus in Port Macquarie and is currently amid construction of a $40 million stage two expansion due for completion in February 2021. The new development will include additional learning and teaching spaces (flat floored and tiered), a laboratory, breakout and meeting spaces, student kitchen and facilities, a space for small events, and additional car parking.
By the end of stage three works, Charles Sturt University is expecting to see around 5,500 students at its Port Macquarie campus.
Like many sectors, universities are facing significant hardship in the coming years. At Charles Sturt, we have a decline in revenue of $80 million, the majority of which is associated with our international program. We must act quickly and with purpose to remediate this financial position.Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
CSU's transformation program, Sustainable Futures, is designed to reshape and reposition the university to ensure it continues to deliver excellence. This will build on the strengths of the university and ensure its future is financially and academically sustainable, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said.
"Like many sectors, universities are facing significant hardship in the coming years. At Charles Sturt, we have a decline in revenue of $80 million, the majority of which is associated with our international program. We must act quickly and with purpose to remediate this financial position.
"Our plans are designed to ensure we have an operating model across our courses and campuses that is viable, market responsive and drives academic excellence.
"It is imperative that we ensure financial sustainability and return to a balanced budget by the end of 2021 while delivering higher education and research opportunities for the people of regional Australia."
Unfortunately, we will be unable to achieve the savings required to be sustainable without job losses.Prof Andrew Vann
Professor Vann noted that to achieve these objectives, CSU must implement an operating model that is structured to meet the university's needs and those of its communities, delivering distinctive degrees and quality teaching, learning and research.
The university's plan will focus on key areas to deliver the savings required. This includes changes to the workforce, courses and campuses and a review of non-salary expenses.
"Each element of our operating model will be reviewed to ensure we deliver a course and subject portfolio that is high-quality and sustainable. We expect to release plans for consultation on the first round of changes by the end of June 2020," Prof Vann said.
"Unfortunately, we will be unable to achieve the savings required to be sustainable without job losses. We do not have a target number - we will review our operations carefully and with respect to ensure we have the right structures to deliver our sustainability objectives.
"As the number one provider in online education, we have demonstrated that we have the capability and drive to be a leader in quality higher education, this program will cement our position well into the future.
"The university will communicate with our staff, stakeholders and students to consult on the proposed changes as they evolve. This is not a decision the university has made lightly and we are very mindful of the impact this would have on any staff affected, however it is imperative we act now to preserve a future for our university - an important anchor in the regional communities in which we serve."
The university will make final recommendations regarding a second round of workforce changes by early 2021 with a view to return to a balanced budget by the end of 2021.
The university executive and University Council have committed to a 10 per cent pay cut for an initial period of six months to support savings targets.