Currently there is a proposal before the Minister of Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, that Lincoln University and Telford Polytechnic should amalgamate. The governing councils of both institutions are in favour. In my own opinion, the issues have not been thought through sufficiently.
On the surface it may seem a ‘good idea’, but Australian history shows consistently that trying to combine institutions with such different levels of courses is a pathway to failure. As a former councillor at Telford, a current professor at Lincoln University, and someone with some experience of amalgamations in Australia, these matters are of considerable interest to me.
Under current Government policy and funding, it would seem that there is no future for Telford as a stand alone institution. So Telford has sought an amalgamation from Lincoln. From Lincoln’s perspective the attraction is that Telford is well cashed up, with about 10 million dollars in the bank. Also, Telford has approved student places in excess of what it now needs and these funded positions can be transferred to Lincoln. Lincoln desperately needs more students to help pay for its overheads, which are excessive given its current student numbers and funding. However, how Lincoln might attract the students to fill the newly available places is less clear. (Without the additional students, the funding from Government for these student places will disappear.)
The other challenge for an amalgamated institution will be how to bring together the huge differences in educational philosophy between one institution that focuses on applied and practical course at Levels 1-4 in the NZ Qualifications Framework, and another that focuses on Levels 5 -10.
My submission to Minister Joyce is attached. lincoln telford merger submission keith woodford