30 May 2006

TSU Short Staffed

Staff shortages at the end of the Semester test the resources of the Technical Services Unit

On several days over the past few weeks up to half of the full-time staff of the Technical Services Unit have been or are on personal or other leave. Since this period at the end of Semester One is among the busiest of the year, there is an impact on the ability of the TSU to deliver services to the Division. Of particular concern is the TSU’s lack of resources to support teaching and assessments in media-oriented units in Creative Communication and Professional Communication.

One casual staff member has been contracted to help out, but it is not easy to find casual staff with the necessary skills and experience to be immediately productive without support. Traditionally casual staff are also students or sessional staff, but at this time of the semester they are often too busy to take on extra work with the TSU when we need the support.

Because of the cyclical nature of the demand for services, it might be prudent for the Division to consider developing an extended pool of potential casual staff and train them up to help out at times of peak demand: particularly the beginning and end of semesters and other teaching weeks. Whether the casual staff are recruited and managed by the TSU or the Schools requiring the support needs to be discussed.

With recent retirements there is also an opportunity for the Division to reassess the way its resources are managed, but there are also the challenges of managing changes in experiences and expectations as new people take over from those on whom the Division has relied for such a long time.