Plus Southern Cross split and “Fed what, where?”
Boomer of an opportunity
Deakin University is the naming rights sponsor for the Women’s National Basketball League team now known as the Deakin Melbourne Boomers for the 2015-16 season. As part of the arrangement all 50 000 Deakin students have free club membership, “with exclusive benefits.” Perhaps not that exclusive.
Sticking with two
UTS students demanding the university rule out switching to a three-semester model can relax (CMM yesterday) as the university has so ruled. “There are no plans to make third semester compulsory. Subjects need special permission to run in third semester and this has been discussed with students,” UTS DVC (Education) Shirley Alexander says.
The National Tertiary Education Union did its best to save business lecturer Davood Alizadeh’s job. He was retrenched by CQU because his position was abolished and replaced with one that required a PhD. The case in the Fair Work Commission turned on a Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency requirement that staff must have a degree higher than the level of the courses they teach, or have compensating practical expertise (CMM yesterday). Failing that, the union argued, CQU could have cannibalised casual teaching positions to keep Mr Alizadeh on.
The FWC was not convinced by either argument, which is very bad for Mr Alizadeh. It’s not much good for the union either, demonstrating that it cannot help all its constituents at the same time. In this case it defended a staffer without a PhD whose job was replaced with one that went to a woman with a doctorate. And in suggesting casual positions should have gone to fund one full time job the union put the tenuous employment of casuals at risk – a group the NTEU is very keen to be seen supporting. There is going to be a great deal more conflict following this decision with a generational jobs war between older experienced but formally under-qualified staff and younger degree-heavy casuals desperate for more work.
Keeping the web working
ANU is the new home for the Australian office of the World Wide Web Consortium, the 380 member organisation that sets the operating standards that keeps the www working. Talk about a triumph for the commons. Dr Armin Haller from the School of Accounting and Business Information Systems will manager the office but CMM is told that Australian Bureau of Statistics data scientist Laurent Lefort has played a big role in building the Aus presence.
Southern Cross not shining
Two years of bargaining at Southern Cross University has not secured a new enterprise agreement, so no one will likely be surprised if it takes a while longer – which it likely will. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union was outraged (it often is) yesterday, reporting that management had replaced its lead bargainer with two new people who unionists say have “no knowledge of the institution or the negotiations to date.”
Certainly university management has not seemed keen on the process – it put an offer to staff without union support last month, (CMM, June 23). This is a high-risk tactic, which only works when campus unions are on the nose with staff – which the NTEU is not at Southern Cross. The management proposal went down decisively.
However last night SCU management replied that its new bargaining team followed a staff resignation for “purely personal circumstances,” and is born of a desire to get a deal done. The problem, the university said, is that neither side will budge on the union’s call for a three per cent pay rise annually across the agreement. “(This) is not affordable and cannot be paid. The university is resolute in demanding that agreement be reached on an affordable salary increase before any further time is spent on other clauses”
Federation U will announce a new corporate brand build today, using staff and students talking about the regional Victorian institution and why they love their campus. Fed U has run some of the best recruitment creative in the business but awareness of what was once the University of Ballarat outside its catchment is not stratospheric.
And the Open Day Award goes to
Edith Cowan University for pitching Open Day (August 9) events at its Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, (Mt Lawley campus); “explore the facilities and meet the staff who helped propel Hugh Jackman, Lisa McCune and Tim Minchin to stardom,” at the university “fame factory”. There is a bunch of clever promotions for other courses as well but CMM suspects fame will pack them in.
Flinders can explore what it likes
CMM wonders if South Australian climate change minister Ian Hunter secretly wants Bjorn Lomborg to set up shop in Adelaide. By demanding Flinders U have nothing to do with Dr Lomborg the Wetherill Government should have given academics there little option but to tell ministers to sod off, that the state does not get to boss scholars about. In any case CMM wonders whether if Mr Hunter is baying about the wrong issue. There is no doubting that Dr Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus Centre are best known as climate contrarians but that’s not their only interest. The more strident and specific the denunciations get the easier for a VC to pitch some form of Copenhagen collaboration as encouraging debate.
Mind you, easier is not the same as easy. As NTEU branch secretary Julie Petticrew (writing in a personal capacity) puts it; “It appears patently obvious that the current federal government seeks to legitimise their regressive pro-fossil anti-renewable energy stance by finding a home for Lomborg and his centre within an Australian university. I am astonished that Flinders would even consider being exploited as part of the Abbott government propaganda machine. … In my view, the potential risk to Flinders’ reputation as a credible research institution is significant. I for one would be seeking alternative employment for fear of guilt by association should Flinders University proceed with this lunacy.” Ignoring a minister sticking his bib in is one thing, for Flinders to ignore its own is entirely another. Just ask Paul Johnson – the University of Western Australia VC announced a centre for Dr Lomborg without talking to staff first, and was forced to back down.
Monash U is looking for somebody to manage its relationship with the Australian Research Council. The position description includes all the usual dynamically pro-active stuff but also requires “utilisation of excellent relationships with key ARC staff.” This will narrow the field down, being nice to the altogether agreeable ARC boffins is one thing, understanding what they are talking about is another.