Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

We are working to highlight and stop academic workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We are a group of staff and students who have been bullied for speaking out about misconduct.

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This will help us gather as much information as possible so that we can put an end to this bullying with its’ decades-long history.

“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Female staff at the University of Newcastle

Earlier this year, in one of her "From the VC's desk" pieces, Caroline McMillen noted that 

"As an Employer of Choice for Women since 2009, we will continue to address challenges facing women as they build their careers. I am pleased to see our representation of women across the organisation is a healthy 60.8 per cent".

In contrast, a recently published journal paper by Suzanne Ryan and Bert Groen (University of Newcastle) and two other academics has investigated  the casualisation of university teaching ("Casual academic staff in an Australian University: Marginalised and Excluded")..  The university is not named but considering the lead author is from the University of Newcastle, it is assumed that the study was conducted there.

They noted that

"Casual academics are estimated to carry 50% of the teaching load in universities, including up to 80% of the first-year teaching load"

"the majority of sessional respondents to be female, middle-aged, with a postgraduate degree and approximately five years’ academic experience".  

"the issue of greatest concern to survey respondents was the discontinuity of employment arising from the uncertainty of teaching allocations that adversely affected their ability to plan finances and other aspects of their lives " viz.
  • Discontinuity of employment
  • Insufficient notice of teaching allocation
  • Impact of income uncertainty on financial planning 
  • Employment risks in refusing demands seen as unreasonable 
  • Impact of variable hours on family life 
"Sessionals receive very little in terms of training and development, advice and feedback, and access to basic human resource support. "

One head of school spoke of the "inequitable treatment of casuals demonstrates awareness of the problem: “Yes, they are treated like slave labour."'

This journal paper reports that casual/sessional academics are invisible 
  • "The feeling of invisibility is common among ses- sionals as they are generally excluded from mainstream school activities and com- plain of being ignored by their course coordinators".
  • "the invisibility of casual academic work and the nature of teaching result in underpaid and unpaid work". 
Employer of Choice for Women???


  1. The School of Humanities and Social Science has quite a few female sharks who see it their business to destroy the lives, careers and academic disciplines of their colleagues in order to get themselves promoted.

    One self-righteous fascist shark was solely behind the scheme to have many of the majors of the School reduced to minors to get herself a big promotion.

    We all remember the "executive summary" this particular shark "scripted" that was used as the blueprint for the by now infamous Bachelor of Arts "external review" of 2011. (Read "Staff in the Dark about Arts Changes" of HES, the Australian of September 28, 2011 for info) The BA review committee was full of cronies of the major "stakeholders" and its draconian "recommendations" smelt of a xenophobic white supremacist's mandate for South Africa under apperteid.

    Hello shark, no matter how high you fly, we will remember you to your rotten bones for your fascist and anti-cultural assault on academia.

  2. The shark in question should be investigated by ICAC for fudging figures (a serious crime under Australian law) and for appointing cronies (her own research partner, her own PhD student and tutor) on to the "external" program review committee. In any decent institution of higher learning, someone would have been sacked on the stop, but at the UoN, she has been promoted yet again. We judge that place by the behavior of the women it has promoted and the presence of those very women there is most worrying.

    This is another reason why many of us question the UoN's claim that it's a world class university. Please don't insult our fair judgment and intelligence. We know a world class university does not retain bullies, mediocrities at the expense of excellence and integrity.