The current restructure of the University of New New England is progressing well according to Professor Brigid Heywood, UNE vice-chancellor and CEO.
The cost cutting project is being carried out under the program name of Time for Change and is within schedule .
"We have begun to process expressions of interest for the employment opportunities created by the new structure and expect the majority of interviews to be completed by mid-December," Professor Heywood said.
"All vacancies have been offered in the first instance to existing UNE staff as part of our commitment to minimise adverse impacts."
During the first week of November, UNE staff were presented with final plans outlining the university's organisational restructure, which was first announced in July, marking the end of the consultation period.
At the time the National Tertiary Education Union branch president Gabriel Donleavy said she feared the university could enter a "vicious downward spiral".
Professor Heywood said UNE's Time for Change program was initiated to enable a resilient and sustainable future for UNE, its students, staff and communities.
"Our financial difficulties have been made very clear since the Time for Change program was first announced. The triple burden of long-term drought, bushfires and COVID-19 created significant operational issues," she said.
"We have set out to design a new model of operations to create opportunities for growth and meet the needs of an evolving student market.
"I am proud to say that our target savings were achieved within the deadlines I set out in July, without resorting to forced redundancies. The voluntary redundancy program has resulted in a reduction of our ongoing payroll costs of around $20 million."
A consultative process was carried out across the institution, stretching across UNE sites in Parramatta, Taree, Tamworth and Armidale.
"Throughout the consultation period, over 200 group and individual meetings were held where details of the Time for Change proposals were presented and discussed," said Professor Heywood.
"I would like to acknowledge and thank the staff who will be leaving us in November and December to pursue their careers beyond UNE, or to enjoy retirement.
"I thank them for their valuable contributions; in some cases up to 50 years of service."
Professor Heywood said it had been a challenging year and she was grateful for the resilient manner in which UNE staff had engaged with the process.
"I'm pleased to say UNE is on track to implement the first phase of the new structure on 1 January, 2021," she said.
At the time of going to press the UNE had not confirmed to the Express how many employment opportunities were being recruited, how many voluntary redundancies had been approved or if the UNE archives would be affected.