La Trobe goes with the wind to abandon fossil fuels

Plus Murdoch fails to keep things casual

Group of Eight urges transparent ATAR

And historian Cribb escapes ANU cuts

Can Charles Darwin U really be a great Victorian and do people who fund their own voced get what they pay for? 

Pieing time

As CMM predicted yesterday, Uni SA VC David Lloyd has accepted Uni Adelaide VC Warren Bebbington’s challenge to cop a pie in the moosh in the Ultimate Pie Challenge for the Childhood Cancer Association. Bebbington was pied on Tuesday.

Thursday

 It could be true

Charles Darwin University could take over Berwick Monash campus,” is the headline on a Megan Bailey story in the Berwick Leader. In fact what Ms Bailey wrote is that a local mayor and CDU VC Simon Maddocks have spoken. When CMM called CDU a spokeswoman said the university “is not commenting at this stage.” That noise you hear is people in Warrnambool calling Professor Maddocks.

Group of Eight advocates transparent ATAR system

The Group of Eight has again endorsed the ATAR, in its submission to the Higher Education Standards Panel inquiry into transparent undergraduate entry standards.

In April Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson described the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank as “the best available method of assisting students and our universities gauge if a prospective students has the capacity to complete their chosen course of study,” (CMM April 13). Now the G08 adds its position is “well aligned” with HESP’s.

However the group also calls for clarity in what an ATAR actually is, suggesting, “a simple step would be to ensure that ATAR references unambiguously relate to unadjusted ATARS and that any ‘adjusted’ ATAR prepared for institutional decision-making should be clearly described as such.” The Eight also urges plain language, easily accessible explanations, including “institutional course information websites” which “should cover all admission pathways including those intended to ensure equity of access for students who have experienced, or are experiencing, disadvantage.”

And apparently acknowledging the role QILT will quickly come to play in informing the market the Go8 recommends; “data on student retention and progression within courses of study should be provided on the QILT website.”

The new submission also backs Marnie Hughes Warrington’s call for universal access to entry information on every university.

Last month the ANU DVC reported her university was knocked back by state based tertiary admission centres when it asked for them to make information on it easily available. “One told us we needed a campus in their state, even though we teach programs like the Diploma of Languages online to students around Australia. Another told us we could not belong to two centres; the third simply told us that our application ‘could not be supported at this time’, Professor Hughes Warrington reported (CMM April 13).

“The role played by the TACs is complex and often subject to their state focus, juxtaposed with their operation in a national higher education system. There is a valid argument that if the institutions in a state are able to enrol a student from anywhere in Australia, then information on the opportunities at all universities in Australia’s national higher education system should be freely available to all students. That is not currently the case, ” the Eight states.

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Another move from Macquarie

Charles Areni is moving to the University of Wollongong where he will commence at the end of next month as executive dean of business. Professor Areni is a marketing academic with consultancies ranging from the Commonwealth Bank to the Houston Astros. He is now a professor at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management. Professor Areni follows Macquarie graduate business school dean Alex Frino who moved to Wollongong as DVC Global Strategy in February.

Uni Canberra recruit

The University of Canberra’s ELICOS and pathways college has a new head, Jo Asquith, previously head of international students at James Cook U.

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Cribb continues at ANU

CMM understands that Professor Robert Cribb, is not leaving ANU, despite being named in staff cuts at the School of Culture History and Languages. The move to retrench the prominent historian of Indonesia (and orangutans!) created an international furore but word is Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt has suggested Professor Cribb be transferred to the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.

Murdoch fails to keep things casual

Murdoch University has lost a Fair Work case over its refusal to consider a development and communications directorate employee’s application for conversion to permanent status. Stephen Hayes has worked on fixed term contracts for specific tasks since 2012. Management said he could not apply for conversion under the existing Enterprise Agreement and the National Tertiary Education Union said he could. Commissioner Bissett agreed with the union, finding the university must consider Mr Hayes’ application.

This is a specifically Murdoch matter but with the NTEU keen to increase opportunities for fixed term employees in the new round of enterprise bargaining it will be widely noted.

La Trobe goes with the wind

The La Trobe University Council wants out of investments in companies with “a strong involvement in fossil fuels,” within five years. This will not be easily accomplished given La Trobe invests in pooled funds rather than directly in listed companies. However CFO Gary Seach says the university is “working proactively” to divest from the top 200 fossil fuel companies.

La Trobe says, the change is “in response to suggestions by a group of students and staff passionate about reducing the impact of climate change,” who lobbied the university.

 

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No more Tony at Teqsa

The ever-polite Tony Mithen is leaving the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency at the end of the month. From then the Agency’s polite “no comment” to most inquiries will come from Lynda Edwards.

Do they get what they pay for?

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education and Training runs the nation-wide survey of TAFE students and others in publicly funded courses on behalf of governments. This year NCVER is expanding the survey to include people (and how’s this for a novel idea) who actually fund their own courses. Interesting to see what paying with their own money does to satisfaction rates.

UNESCO adamant on access

UNESCO backs open access in a new statement that rejects the for-profit publishers’ gold access, free-to-read but pay-to-publish model. “A mere shift towards the pay-to-publish model will institutionalise the influence of these companies, and discourage new entrants and models other than article processing charge models the UN agency announces.

And this would be a very bad thing indeed; “Simply shifting payments to support APCs may lead to higher systemic costs, curb innovation, and inhibit the scholarly community’s ability to take advantage of new models and tools.”

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Know something the world needs to know? Anonymity guaranteed but lots of questions asked, stephen4@hotkey.net.au