Just add snow

University of the Sunshine Coast exercise physiology PhD student Klaus Jungbuth will represent Ecuador in cross-country skiing at the Winter Olympics. He is using “Buderim’s hilly landscape to prepare,” USC says.  Pyeongchang, Buderim, hard to tell them apart.

No enterprise agreement at UoQ just yet

Union members at the University of Queensland have laid out what they want management to deliver next week, to avoid industrial action in pursuit of a new enterprise agreement. A meeting of the campus National Tertiary Education Union on Wednesday demanded a pay-riseabove CPI,” an improvement in job-security conditions and “no diminution of procedural protections.”

With a cash and percentage pay offer that translates to 1.7 per cent per annum for lower paid staff already out there, UoQ observers suggest that something between this and the annualised December CPI (0.6 per cent) is do-able.

As to job security, the union’s position is driven by rank and file concern about a round of restructure driven redundancies in UoQ admin and what is said to be “among the highest” levels of academic casual staff in the country. However, the union makes no mention of management’s push to extend the span of campus opening hours, to provide student support, which may indicate a trade-off is possible.

Which leaves the union meetings refusal to accept an end to the existing system where discipline rulings are subject to appeal to a committee. Management wants to restrict appeals to matters of fact and/or new information. Perhaps the enterprise agreement at Deakin U might provide a solution where the principle of full appeal remains but matters are dealt with by an independent arbiter acceptable to both sides, ( CMM May 16).


Chefs for success

Pathway provider Navitas says a Griffith College video makes “recipe for a successful student experience”. About students for students. Marketing directors who make recruitment adverts that the VC will like take note.

Teaching-only universities: they could be coming

A learned reader points out the possibility of Australia having more than one type of university (CMM yesterday) has occurred to the government. The last budget commissioned the Higher Education Standards Panel to review criteria for higher education providers and report in the first half of this year.

“A review provides an opportunity to ensure a coherent tertiary education sector with clear but permeable demarcations to reflect changing VET and higher education requirements and expectations. Even if no change flows from this examination, it is timely to consider the effectiveness of the provider category descriptions,” budget papers stated.

What is especially interesting is the option of opening competition by ending the existing requirement for universities to teach and research. “The review will include public and stakeholder consultation around options to change provider categories, including the possibility of a teaching-only university category.”

So, where’s the review then? Coming, CMM understands planning work is underway with the process still scheduled for coming months.

As a way of dividing universities and thus reducing the impact of criticism over funding cuts this would be hard to beat. And the possibility of teaching-only private providers being allowed to call themselves universities while competing on price might also have occurred to the government.

Big BusEco achievers

Some 13 Australian and three New Zealand universities make the global top 200 Times Higher business and economics list, announced yesterday.

ANU is equal 36th in the world, with the University of Texas, Austin. It is followed by; UniMelbourne (42), UNSW (55) Monash (74), UoQ (=76), UniSydney (83), UniAuckland (101-125), QUT (101-125), UniNewcastle (126-150), UTS (126-150), UniAdelaide (151-175), UniCanterbury (151-175), UniWaikato (151-175) Griffith U (176-200), UniSA (176-200), UWA (176-200).

The shape of things to come, slowly

In NSW students received their ATAR information via a blockchain this year, an Australian first as far as CMM knows.  This is brilliant and is the start of individuals having their own life-long record of every course they complete and documented competency they acquire at any institution in any jurisdiction.  But with each state running their own admissions centres and separate VET and higher education loan based IDs don’t hold your breath.

The long view at ANU

Perhaps Marnie Hughes Warrington began her chronicle of the rebuilding of ANU to capture the achievements of educators, administrators and engineers transforming the campus – no small thing in itself.

But her project has grown, exploring how construction shapes culture, design establishes an enduring ethos, how understanding environment allows ANU to settle into, rather than sit on, the landscape –how the natural world is always omnipresent, even in lakeside Canberra, where landscape is made by human hand.

But the ANU DVC digs to the bedrock of Australian history in her new essay – placing ANU in the context of culture and knowledge millennia older than its own origins, recounting what Indigenous Australians have explained about the land the university now occupies.

“Last week, the four local Indigenous groups gifted the university the name Kambri to describe the centre of campus. There has been no greater privilege in my working life than to have been there at the moment that they offered this gift for the first time. It was the straightforward, matter of fact act of four elder teachers: you impart knowledge in the hope that the people who receive it will learn from it. …

When people write about, or give lectures on the meaning of a university, they inevitably turn to sources like that of Cardinal Newman and talk about free enquiry and the transmission of ideas through alumni. These are good ideas, but in the gift of Kambri we see the crucial role of country in what makes a university a university.”

Hughes-Warrington is writing way more a construction narratives

Skinful of money

University of Sydney spin-off Elastagen has been sold to pharma company Allergan for US$95m, with further payments if the technology reaches the market. Elastagen is a synthetic spray-on skin for use in surgical wound repair and scar remodelling. The company was founded by UniSyd biochemist Tony Weiss.

From manufacturing to knowledge economy at Flinders U

The potential for South Australia to transform from a manufacturing to a knowledge economy is on display this morning, with Flinders U opening a Future Factory in what was the Mitsubishi plant at Tonsley.

The Future Factory is a German-built facility with automation, sensor, monitoring, robotic and cobotic technologies which Flinders will use for training, education and research. The Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub is a joint venture of Flinders U, the state government and the Innovative Manufacturing CRC. They will work with companies based on-site, including Siemens, Zeiss Vision, ZEN Energy and SAGE Automation.

“When you bring imagination, ambition and technical ability together in a collaborative and immersive environment like Tonsley, the remarkable can happen,” Flinders VC Colin Stirling says.