The University of Tasmania’s 2019 Annual Report has finally been released.
The university reports on a calendar year basis. The Auditor General signed off the 2019 report in February 2020. The Board (known as the Council) adopted the report in May and sent it to the government as required by its governing Act. It’s been sitting in someone’s in-tray for the last 3 months. Another Covid victim no doubt.
Apart from the financials it’s a pretty skinny report.The overview for the year occupied only six pages. Even then it was a cut and paste from previous offerings, from the now outdated Strategic Plan 2019-2024 dated July 2019 for instance. UTas is “not long-term economically sustainable and being economically sustainable is no easy task…….At an operating level, we break even. Still, there is no surplus to see our facilities renewed for the next generation.” If there were sustainability questions in July 2019, they would have been more evident when the Council signed the report in February 2020. Even more so today in a pandemic world.
Serious as it was, sustainability didn’t get another mention. The rest of the overview degenerated into a public relations pastiche with more proper nouns and acronyms that you could poke a stick at…… The Ways of Working project, the People Strategy and College People plans, the Academic Leadership Development Program, which led to the Lean (sic) and simplification momentum continuing to build across the University via a new process improvement tool called Go-See-Fix, the unsuccessful attempt to satisfy the international Athena SWAN charter atho’ UTas did get a Bronze Award accreditation and is committed to continue commitment to the SAGE initiative. It might as well have been written in Swahili. If a student served up drivel like that in an assignment, you’d fail them. Irrelevant twaddle especially when there are pressing matters of sustainability.
The brief overview concluded with two pages describing UTas’ building program which is fitting perhaps because more than ever UTas is a property developer with a side hustle in education.
The financials confirm this.