Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Vice Chancellor Grant Robertson?

He's not Qualified & Does not Deserve the Job. What an Awful Message to Send Kiwi Students: NZ is not a Meritocracy.

Big Media are reporting that their mate, former Finance Minister Grant Robertson "will retire from Parliament next month as he becomes the vice-chancellor of his alma mater Otago University". What an outrage. Vice Chancellors are meant to be distinguished scholars. Meant to have a PhD. Meant to have had a lifetime of researching & teaching at the highest level.

Our former Finance Minister has done none of those things. It took me 15 years to train for my job at Auckland University. It is impossible for a guy like Robertson to have a clue about what it takes to publish an academic paper, teach a great course, or attract the interest of a major business or philanthropist in one's field, without having been through that 15 year learning process. Does Otago think it is an extension of the NZ Labour Party? That the academic ideal of a search for the truth doesn't matter? That education is so politicized its best to have a politician running it? Otago already became politicized when it got close to Labour via folks like Michael Baker supporting the Ardern-Hipkins-Robertson Covid elimination "strategy". Hang on. Robertson has said in a Press Conference he is qualified because he "had once been a student at Otago". Its a national embarrassment.

What is this game of former members of parliament getting jobs they are not qualified for? What kind of message does it send our young people studying hard at school and in tertiary institutions? It doesn't matter how much you study or how smart you are? Better to become a politician if you want the top job at a University paying $500,000? Research is a waste of time? It's who you know not what you know if you want status and to earn big bucks? If you know people in Wellington then people will employ you hoping you can use your networks there for them? We're no longer a meritocracy? The University of Otago Council should resign. The whole lot of them.

By the way, here is a small part of the CV of the Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University, the main competitor of places like Otago and Auckland in our region of the world:

Professor Duncan Maskell
Professor Maskell holds a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. He is a research specialist in infectious diseases. Professor Maskell’s career also includes the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and Wellcome Biotech .. In addition to academic & university leadership roles, Professor Maskell has enjoyed an active entrepreneurial career, co-founding four biotech companies among his accomplishments, including Arrow Therapeutics, which sold to biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and Discuva, which sold to Summit Therapeutics.

Why should your children go and study at Otago University anymore - wouldn't they be better off going to Melbourne or Sydney where the Vice Chancellors actually have experience in research, teaching and academic leadership?


Professor Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. He has previously worked at the Reserve Bank, Oxford University, and the London School of Economics. He runs the blog Down to Earth Kiwi from where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

time for a new Med School.
And I mean now let the fools play their games, they fool nobody and their commentary is valueless left wing rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Look at the real agenda:

VC Robertson and (" Professor " Ardern at Harvard) are part of the bigger picture..... they are being rewarded for their role in advancing He Puapua.

They could ago even further they continue in their roles......

Robert Bird said...

I could not agree more. Why can’t the government tell the University of Otago to sack him and find a better qualified candidate; or funding may be an issue.

Rob Beechey said...

I have always been drawn to Robert MacCulloch’s wise and thought provoking essays and his latest opinion to gift the most incompetent finance minister the position of Vice Chancellor, is a standout. Robertson has single handedly destroyed the New Zealand economy leaving little option for the incoming government but to operate effectively. Only our corrupt MSM would cheer on such an unworthy appointment as they did for Bully boy Mallard who received a plumb diplomatic job. Then the most poisonous snake ever to have slithered into parliament is honoured by Harvard University. The entire Otago University board has clearly signalled to current and future students that this institution no longer strives for learning and educational excellence but now tolerates gross mismanagement

Anna Mouse said...

'Does Otago think it is an extension of the NZ Labour Party?' - Yes, I think they may very well believe they are....

I am not a graduate of that institution but I say good luck in their survival.

The one I went to also seems to have headed in the same vile direction and are at present declining in standards too.

NZ Universities are no longer the havens when it comes to critical thinking and free speech.

Let us hope that the tide may turn (soon).

DeeM said...

The message it sends is clear.
No matter how witless, useless, incompetent and irresponsible you were in your previous career, you'll be welcomed with open arms by NZ academia and their awful institutions.

All they care about is that your favourite colour is red and you lean heavily to the Left when you walk.

Vice-Chancellor Robertson BA - Below Average...Bloody Awful...Barely Accountable!

Anonymous said...

An effusive eulogy to Robertson in today's NZ Herald ('Robertson achieved the goals from his maiden speech') ends with '... Robertson was part of a Government that, last year, answered that particular call from Otago (that the sector is under severe financial stress) by giving the institute $21 million'. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I recall reading reading recently something along the lines that Otago University wants to position itself as a world leading indigenous University. Grant Robertson doesn't need an academic background if the focus is the promotion of a racial agenda rather than academic success.

Anonymous said...

Again, the value of my Otago degree plummets in the opinion, of my (especially international) potential employers when they check on Otago University (or whatever newly invented te reo name).
Now run by a financial dunce, and wallowing in tribal Maori nonsense - yeah, that looks really great ony CV.

Anonymous said...

True to the old saying, with regard to Mallard and Robertson: "The scum always rises to the top".

Anonymous said...

What DEI boxes does Robertson tick. On the face of it he is less qualified than Claudine Gay