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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 1. March 3, 1954

Know Your University — 1. The University of New Zealand

page 5

Know Your University

1. The University of New Zealand

Even if the University of New Zealand were to be abolished completely today, we would have to create an organisation largely similar to it tomorrow to deal with the central function of the University system in New Zealand. Since well over 80 per cent of the income of the Colleges is derived from a central Government, and since Now Zealand needs some central co-operation in standards for its University degrees, and needs coordination between the Colleges in the interests of hundreds of students who remove from centre to centre yearly, and since a great number of Scholarships, research funds and other matters have to be centrally organised yearly, it is clear that whatever it is named, some coordinating University body is and will be established. The special Professional Schools throughout New Zealand are Special Schools of the University of New Zealand and to regulate the establishment and location of new ones, and assist the development of existing ones, some centralised policy is needed. Moreover, it is wise that there should be a body which can study the philosophy and development of University education in a small growing community on a Dominion-wide basis.

At this Conference I want to tell you about the functions performed by the University and to tell you where the fees you pay for examinations go; to outline the directions of evolution which the University is taking at the moment and perhaps suggest what the pattern of the future is likely to be. Before going into more detail, however, let me say again that I understand perfectly that loyalties are strongest in smallest and most Intimate communities. In education, starting with the family where ties are usually strongest, we often find that school loyalties can remain stronger than college loyalties throughout the life of the individual.

Similarly, loyalty to the University College where you live and study and make friends in naturally much stronger than any loyalty you might feel to a remote University of New Zealand which only examines you and charges you for the privilege of sitting examinations and conferring degrees upon you. That is all perfectly understandable and right, yet it is also true that many New Zealand graduates, specially when they go overseas, do find themselves merging their national pride with their pride in belonging to the University, so that often at a late stage a certain loose loyalty to the University does emerge. Whatever feelings you may have about the University, there is little call for you while you are actually studying in one of the University Colleges to have any particularly warm feelings about the University, which seems only to take your money and give precious little in return. However, the University docs have vital functions concerning all of you, and I do want members of the Conference to have more knowledge about it because, like everybody else, remote as we arc from the actual teaching of students and personal daily contact with teachers, with all the warmth of personal relationships that these entail, we would prefer to live in an atmosphere of reasonable understanding and even tolerance: perhaps in extreme cases, even appreciation! We sometimes feel that captious criticism is rather more often directed at our work than the circumstances warrant and only lack of a true understanding of the University's functions and activities could be the reason for this.

Dr. G. A. Currie, vice-chancellor of the University of New Zealand.

Dr. G. A. Currie, vice-chancellor of the University of New Zealand.

The Various Bodies

I shall attempt to cover and explain shortly the activities of the various bodies within the University before going on to give you a detailed description of Just what happens to the fees that we collect from degree and University Entrance examinations.

To begin with, there is the powerful body, the Senate, in which rests the authority given to us under the University of New Zealand Act. Theoretically it is the governing body of a unitary University which consists of four Constituent Colleges and two associated Agricultural Colleges. Actually the kind of single complete University which was, as I understand it, intended by the Commission of 1926 in their Report has never really functioned, nor have those who have had the control of matters in the Colleges and in the Senate apparently wished it to function. It is in fact a mixture of federal and unitary' in its functioning. The colleges are the real universities in a Teaching sense. The Senate is composed of a majority of persons who are concerned directly with the University Colleges so that whatever policy the Senate develops must be considered to be what the Colleges want. The Senate mots once or twice a year in different University centres and it has an Executive which meets monthly in Wellington to conduct any business between meetings of the main body.

The Academic Board, composed of Professors from the Colleges and the Academic Heads of the Colleges, is responsible for academic policy throughout the system and in the main the recommendations of the Academic Board are accepted by the Senate. The Academic Board receives recommendations which come up through the Professorial Boards of the Colleges so that in the end the academic policy is Intended to be representative of the best thinking of academic men throughout the system. Critics of the Board would claim that it has to and the lowest common denominator amongst the proposals sent up by the Colleges and so becomes, they think, a brake on certain kinds of educational experimentation.

The Entrance Board, compose of Professors from the Colleges, members of the Education Department, and representatives of independent schools, sets standards for admission to the University. These standards. I think you will agree, are best to be equal throughout the Dominion, just as Great Britain has found that the General Certificate of Education applied on a nation-wide scale is most acceptable as a basis for entrance to all the universities there. Some extreme separatists suggest that each College should set its own [unclear: entrarrce] standard, but so far as one can see, a general standard throughout is preferable.

The Grants Committee, composed of persons selected by the Senate for their wide general interest in and knowledge of University affairs, along with the Heads of the Colleges, is charged with the responsibility of advising the Government on the financial needs of the University as a whole. That means all of the Constituent Colleges, the Agricultural Colleges and the Special Schools such as Medicine, Engineering. Dentistry. Architecture. Home Science and so tions to the Government about the forth. In addition, the Grants Committee considers and makes representations to the Government about the building needs of the Colleges.

In addition to the statutory committees there is a multitude of Scholarship Committees Research Fund Committees, ad [unclear: hv] committees concerning Special Schools and other matters which deal [unclear: parately] with University problems throughout the year.

Uses of Fees

At this stage we can go back to the central office of the University and see Just what it docs and how it uses the money from fees collected from University Entrance candidates and from yourselves, as well as from those who offer themselves for ad eundem recognition and higher degree examinations. You should understand right at the beginning that though the Government grants about a million pounds a year through Vote Education, as recommended by the Grants Committee to be distributed to the University Colleges, the University of New Zealand receives for its own special purposes from the Government only £6900 per annum. The clerical costs of running the University office arc only about the same as the clerical costs of running the Medical School at Otago. It has always been run on "shoe-string" finances and has been a remarkably efficient and economical examining administrative machine. Then where does all the fee income go?

First and foremost I say flatly that the great majority of examinations in the University arc only just selfsupporting or actually run at a loss. Some smaller subjects are so costly to examine that even to set the papers and have them printed costs more than the fee income. The money returned to the Colleges to supplement the salaries of members of staff; to pay the actual examiners for the work; to pay for supervision, paper, postage and so on, for the examinations is m most cases as great or greater than the sums received. Fortunately, however, there are some large examination groups, the fee income from which shows a favourable balance to the 'University of New Zealand and it is from those particular groups chiefly that the means to pay for certain University of New Zealand activities comes. Those worthy examination subjects which are responsible for the favourable balance are mainly Accountancy, University Entrance and Medicine; and University Entrance shows a credit balance largely because of the accrediting system. By far the largest expenditure by the University of New Zealand from the balance of its fee income goes into Scholarships at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level. Here are the sums paid last year by the University for Scholarships:
University Junior Scholarships (40 yearly) £5,736
University Senior Scholarships (24 yearly) 2,612
University Research Scholarships (16 yearly) 3,200
University Postgraduate Travelling Scholarships (about 10 yearly) 6,020

Bank charges, etc., make this figure up to £17,615.

Now to meet this cost in part the University has an Income from Invested funds and an income from the rent of the University building in Bowen Street, but the bulk of the money has to be found each year from the current favourable balance on fee income from Accountancy, Medical and Entrance examinations. The acutal sources and amounts of money used to pay for Scholarships are as follows:
Interest on Investments £3,312
Rental revenue on building 2,359
Statutory charge from general fee revenue 3,000
Charge to General Account income for Research Scholarships 3,200
Deficit of Scholarship Account made up from General Fee Income Account 5.744

You will see then that of the total amount paid in Scholarships, no less than £11,944 had to be found from current fee income to pay the Scholars during that year, and it is the same every year now. It is true that the whole Scholarship system has been built up on fees without consulting the people who had to pay them, but I doubt if you would criticise the system as unwise or shortsighted. It has been of inestimable benefit both inside the Colleges and for overseas travel to a large number of gifted New Zealanders since the system was established away back in 1872.

If we assume that the cost of travel for Senate, Academic Board, Grants Committee, Entrance Board and other committee meetings are met by the Government grant, then the whole cost of running the office, conducting examinations and giving degrees would be paid for from fee income, but the whole surplus is taken up in paying for Scholarships.

As a further service, the University meets all the costs of travel to interviews and administration of Rhodes Scholarships and for other similar Scholarships and it plays a significant part in the selection of Fulbright. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Commonwealth Fund and Nuffield grantees, Shell and other Scholarships and, of course, engages in a multitude of those minor activities which are most efficiently handled centrally. Examples of such services are War Concessions to veterans, consideration of applicants for ad eundem status, and so on.

Next issue Dr. Currie speaks of the Financial and Academic activities of the University of New Zealand.

On this page is the first of a series in which we introduce the upper strata of the University to the uninitiated. All the various Councils and Boards which exist in or about the College must, in a sense, have some relevance to the students. It is our intention that this series, "Know Your University", be an introduction to these Councils and so forth; we hope that in them the relevance to student life and well-being of such organisations as the N.Z. University and the Profesorial Board will be mode apparent. The first article is taken from the speech which Dr. Currie delivered at Curious Cove Congress. It is, we feel, a very good introduction to the purpose and functioning of the N.Z. University, which is at the top of that heirachy of control extending from the students upwards.