QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said the university’s response to the impact of COVID-19 centred around providing best-practice online learning and maintaining jobs.
Professor Sheil praised staff across the University who had successfully moved courses online and who were now preparing for both an online delivery of courses in Semester 2 as well as a staged return of classes to the University’s Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove campuses.
“While much of the University’s courses were already being delivered in a mixed-mode to provide greater flexibility to students, there has been a significant stepping up of online material and interactive digital content,” Professor Sheil said.
Professor Sheil said the COVID-19 situation meant a significant loss of revenue in 2020-2023 was inevitable.
“It is now also clear that we cannot expect new international student enrolments in 2020 and this will impact on our enrolments in 2021 and future years,” Professor Sheil said in an email issued to staff today.
She said QUT anticipated a revenue loss in 2020 of approximately $100 million. She said there had been a detailed review of the university’s capital development program and decision made to slow or pause a number of major projects.
“In order to maintain as many jobs as possible the University will pause major capital works developments, most notably the Law and Social Justice Precinct at Gardens Point.
“This will involve not moving forward with the development of the Law and Social Justice Precinct at Gardens Point, and refurbishing the X Block site to accommodate the new Carumba Institute, the Oodgeroo unit and an Indigenous museum and exhibition space.
“Work on the Health and Wellness Precinct at Kelvin Grove will progress through planning stages only.”
Professor Sheil said external recruitment would be largely paused until further notice.
She said she was in discussions with the University Executive and other senior staff members to identify potential savings and foreshadowed a reduction in executive and senior staff remuneration.
In reviewing the University’s operating costs Professor Sheil said the University must be cognisant of the profound disruption and ongoing changes to the global and national economy.
“Preserving jobs and providing opportunities for redeployment and retraining will be paramount for QUT,” she told staff.
“To that end we will also need to consult widely and seek individual and/or collective agreement on other possible measures in respect to leave, reduced working hours, loadings and increments.
Professor Sheil said activities and efforts would be directed toward maintaining commitment to the priorities set out in QUT’s strategic plan, Blueprint 6, and the core purpose of QUT - to provide transformative education and research relevant to communities.
“At this difficult time, I want to acknowledge the hard work you have undertaken to date to enable our collective energy to be directed to where it is needed most – to our students and our QUT community,” Professor Sheil told staff.
Rose Trapnell, QUT Media, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 or firstname.lastname@example.org