Top ten worries of uni IT experts

plus ANU’s monopoly on Canberra hospital internships challenged

and NTEU claims deregulation defeated

Doesn’t apply in Parkville

“Leaders have limited capacity to control their own destiny. They serve at the mercy of the group they lead. Fortune, that raging river, is never far away,” Uni of Melbourne’s Glyn Davis on parliamentary party leaders – certainly not vice chancellors, yesterday.

Tuesday June 28

What worries IT experts

How information technology can improve student outcomes remains the number one concern of university IT directors for the third straight year according to a survey by their national council. Information security and education technology enter the top 20 list for the first time, in 3rd and 4th spot, according to the Council of Australian University Directors of IT. Research support dropped from third last year to tenth this, due Caudit suggests, to improvements in the area. The top ten are: student outcome tech, supporting emerging tech, information security, innovative tech for teaching and learning, digital strategy, IT for workforce change, changing business functions, learning analytics, research support, ID and access management. What puzzles CMM is the decline of “access, anywhere, anytime.” With universities putting lectures on-line to free up time for small-group teaching this should surely be a big deal but it seems not, the universal uni was 11th in 2014, 9th last year and has now slipped to 14th spot.

Change agent of the day

Kevin Bell is Western Sydney University’s new PVC for “digital futures” which means he will (among other things) “lead innovation in learning and teaching, support digital technology integration across programmes and campuses, and analyse the impacts of these initiatives.”

Professor Bell joins WSU from Northeastern U in Boston and was previously with Southern New Hamsphire U, where online enrolments are ten times the size of the on-campus student community.

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Opening ACT access for hospital interns

In 2014 the ACT Government decided to give ANU medical graduates priority for internships at Canberra’s public hospital, ahead of graduates from other Australian universities, then graduates from New Zealand followed by everybody else. This inevitably excluded Qinglin Wang, a Chinese doctor who needed to serve an internship to complete requirements to practice in Australia. His was one of 463 applications for 96 internship/registered medical officer places of which 78 went to ANU graduates with the rest going to other domestic docs.

Dr Wang took his exclusion to the ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where senior member Allan Anforth has now found for him ordering he be, “be considered on his merits for the next internship intake” and receive a $40 000 payment.

“The consideration of the applicant’s merits should be free of any assumptions to the effect that all ANU graduates would be superior candidates to the applicant on their merits just by reason of the fact that they are recent ANU graduates. There should be no assumption that the undergraduate clinical placements of ANU students is superior clinical experience, or preparation for work, than the years of clinical practice of the applicant including the years he has spent in Australia in aged care, and the additional course he has undertaken since coming to Australia,” Mr Anforth orders.

The ACT’s policy is not, he added, “motivated by the unproven assertion that new ANU graduates are ‘better’ candidates for practice in the ACT then those of the rest of the country and the world,” but, at least in part, “a motivation to promote the economic and academic viability of the ANU Medical School.”

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App of the day

Swinburne student Simon Murphy has created a match app for soccer refs (CMM June 28), which has now had a run at international level in an Olympic warn-up game between the Matildas and New Zealand.

NTEU claims victory

Most university lobbies kept quiet about the election yesterday (first time for everything), presumably because they have no idea who they should tell they are looking forward to working with as minister. But not the National Tertiary Education which could not contain itself and announced that if not dead undergraduate fee deregulation looks pretty crook. According to the comrades, the ALP and Australian Greens senators plus upper house members Nick Xenophon, and Jackie Lambie have signed the union pledge to oppose deregulated fees. The NTEU also estimates a majority against deregulation in the Reps, especially if Cathy McGowan and Bob Katter (which it thinks is possible) join Labor, Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie. “So while we will have to wait for the final declarations from the election, there is more than a glimmer of hope that we can finally lay to rest the Christopher Pyne prescription for the sector. NTEU members can rightly be proud of the work we have all done over the past 3 years to get to this point,” National Assistant Secretary Matthew McGowan posted yesterday.

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UNSW’s Indian advisor

UNSW is upping its India profile, appointing former consul in Sydney Amit Dusgupta as the university’s first country director there. More recently Mr Dusgupta was campus head of the SP Jain Business School in Mumbai, (SPJ also has a Sydney campus). He will be “a key ambassador” for expanding research collaborations.

Public sector slump

With private provider figures now included in national numbers we know the total number of people in training was 3.9m in 2014, nearly twice the government-funded figure (CMM, June 16). And yesterday new numbers from the estimable National Centre for Vocational Educational Research revealed revealed the growing role of the private sector. The number of students in TAFE and publicly funded providers in 2015 was down 10.7 per cent, to 1.6m from 2014. Both Victoria and NSW lost 83 000 students each, although South Australia had the biggest proportional share, down 16 per cent. TAFE lobbies across the country argue the fall is due to government cutting funding and stuffing up IT resources and student support. Private providers (those not being investigated by ASIC) point to their superior service. Whatever the reason the private sector is where the growth was last year. It will be interesting to see what happens when the scandals among for-profits over the last 12 months start feeding into the figures.

Look! Up in the sky! … it’s, an academic

“He’s the lecturer Swinburne deserves,” the university proclaimed, spruiking the work of Liam Burke, “world-leading expert” on comic-book film adaptions. CMM is sure it’s meant in a positive way.

UK grads going ok

UK graduate destination data puts unemployment among the 2014-15 class at 6 per cent, down 1 per cent on the preceding year and 3 per cent on 2011-12. Some 75 per cent were working full or part time and 15 per cent were undertaking further study. ICT grads had the highest unemployment rate of 10 per cent, although this was down 4 per cent on 2011-12.

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