More than 100 staff have already put up their hand to take a redundancy at the University of New England.
As the university looks to slash its annual wage bill by $20 million, it had called for voluntary redundancies and on Thursday started a 20-day consultation period with staff to discuss what the organisation will look like after the cuts.
Following the financial hit caused by bushfires, drought and the COVID-19 panedemic, UNE vice-chancellor Brigid Heywood said the changes were required.
"It is not a pleasant thing, to have a conversation with your workforce about losing approximately 15 per cent of our valued staff," the VC said.
Addressing payroll costs was the last in a series of cost reduction measures undertaken by UNE to ensure future operational costs were reduced in line with falling revenue.
While the redundancies and savings were phase one of the restructure, the consultation with its staff is what the university is calling phase two.
On Thursday staff were provided with draft plans for the new organisational structure, Prof Heywood said.
With the phase one goal appearing to be within reach, Prof. Heywood said the second phase meant informing staff about the proposals for a new model of working.
On Thursday afternoon, staff spokesperson Dr Bea Bleile, a senior lecturer in mathematics, said she had not yet seen the draft plans.
She said a staff meeting had also been held on Thursday where a motion of no confidence was passed in the UNE Council, the university's governing body which signed off on the VC's plans.
She said it was after that meeting had been organised that UNE announced it would be providing staff with details of the change.
"It was half an hour before," Dr Bleile said.
While Prof Heywood had highlighted the impact of drought, bushfires and the pandemic on the university, Dr Bleile questioned how the first two had hurt the university financially.
Acknowledging that what they did affected the whole region, Prof Heywood said they did not make decisions lightly.
"I hope at the end of all of this we will have been commended for taking an open, fair and honest approach around some very difficult institutional decisions."
The restructure was announced in July when UNE revealed it was facing a $25 million loss this year, and a similar forecast for next year.