Associate Professor Sarah Masters
On Monday 24th February Massey University released a proposal document for discussion around provision of science teaching and research at its Massey Albany Campus. The New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC) has many staff and student Members who work and study at the Albany campus as well as several Fellows. The NZIC is very concerned regarding the proposal to remove provision for chemistry teaching and research at Albany. We are also deeply disturbed to hear that many of our members and indeed all faculty, support staff and students based there are very stressed and struggling to cope with the uncertainty surrounding this process.
Chemistry was one of the original science subjects offered at Massey Albany in a supporting role to Food Tech when the sciences were established on site ~25 years ago. The chemistry faculty, like all chemistry groups in NZ, provide foundational knowledge and capabilities to many of the other sciences and engineering at Albany. The faculty have established longstanding contacts with local industry and, although the chemistry major has only been at Albany for 7 years, the graduates are sought after and have found employment in many local and international companies, educational institutions, and have gone on to higher degrees.
Across the University, Chemistry is recognised as one of the outstanding performers in terms of research performance (QS top 500) and the Albany group make a significant contribution to this overall ranking. They have strong links to many outstanding institutions and researchers around the world. Within the wider community they serve as a focal point for chemistry education with, amongst other activities, workshops targeted to assist schools to deliver the NCEA spectroscopy standard being given to 320 students from more than 10 local high schools.
“The NZIC understands, and supports, the need for consultation on this proposal however the stress and uncertainty being suffered by staff and students is of great concern” states Associate Professor Masters. “Massey University has a duty of care to all staff and students and this has not been met in the handling of this process. The whole thing has been very poorly managed. The NZIC fully supports the retention of science teaching and research at the Albany campus and particularly that in the discipline of Chemistry.”
We are particularly concerned around the very short timeframes for both consultation and proposed implementation should this proposal go ahead.