Now-how in La Trobe U student recruitment

The university has a new prospective student campaign, “the impact is real”

Standard stuff – featuring examples of the good LT U does, but pitched to present-facing pragmatists, “We all know that global impact needs to start somewhere, so we’re making it happen right here and now,” is the pitch

As opposed to? Well there is neighbouring Monash U, which has a core recruitment message that its graduates can make the future less horrible. “It’s time for us to act. It’s time to change it. Because if we don’t do something now, there’s no telling what our future generations will face,” is the MU message.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Michelle Picard and Shannon Johnston (Murdoch U) on expanding student access to work integrated learning by building it into a degree programme. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus Ginny Barbour (Open Access Australasia) on the power and potential of research repositories. They “have a critical role in archiving, preserving and sharing the diverse content produced by universities so it can be used by others and have the greatest impact on our society.”

and Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on teaching on-line and in-person and why there is demand for both. “My expectation is that our physical campus will remain vibrant and powerful, and our cloud campus will continue to develop, so that both sets of students are supported to grow and meet their aspirations for higher learning. Simultaneously, some staff will continue to teach mostly on-campus, while there will also be more options to work remotely,” he writes.

Expert Opinion: why we don’t learn Indonesian

Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks the language – we need more like her to build Australia’s relationship with our very large neighbour

Problem is there are only a couple of thousand people studying Indonesian at university.

In Expert Opinion CMM asks what is to be done – and Liam Prince from the Australian Consortium for “In-Country” Indonesian Studies explains. His excellent analysis is EO @ Episode Nine

Too good to miss at CQU

There was a Central Queensland jobs and skills roundtable yesterday, billed as a prelude to the national one

Treasurer Jim Chalmers was there, so was Assistant Minister for Education and Regional Development Anthony Chisholm, which made it an excellent occasion for CQU, where it was held. Which VC Nick Klomp seized, tweeting it was “a great opportunity to also showcase some of our amazing training and mining technology.”

World standard research: it’s not what it used to be

The Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency specifies at least some of universities’ research must be “world standard”

Good-o, but the Australian Research Council looks like introducing new performance ranks in next year’s review of university research performance. Until now the ARC has assessed research at five levels from “well below” world standard to “well above”. World standard is average for all “universities worldwide.”

Critics have long suggested this is not that flash – given there is a bunch of ordinary research published around the world  and that work from Aus universities should be compared against the Europeans, UK and North America (and presumably elite) Chinese universities.

It appears the ARC takes the point – it proposes to change the existing categories for next year’s Excellence in Research for Australia review (CMM March 14).

Instead of the present, “well above world standard” and “world leading” there would be; high performers (A): “universities that are comparable to other high performing institutions,” high performers (AA) “universities that are clearly above the average expected of high performing institutions” and (AAA) “universities that are among the very small number of the best of the high performing institutions.”

Which would mean uni research at “world standard” would be average indeed.

Industrial rituals at Uni Queensland

It’s enterprise bargaining time, which means unions signalling displeasure at management through protected industrial action

This starts with union members asking the Fair Work Commission for permission to vote on a slow or stop work. Last week the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union at Uni Queensland did just that but uni management, as is its right, objected.

Management was not happy, telling the FWC it wanted to know where, when and for how long work bans on the university’s on-line systems would occur if union members voted to impose them.

The union responded by committing to giving management three days’ notice of any action, so Uni Queensland withdrew its an objection and the vote will go ahead.

“Like asking Parisians in 1848 to apply for a DA to build a barricade” an observer who remembers strikes of the 1970s suggests.

The JRG package: fourth time lucky

Job Ready Graduates delivered what the conservatives had failed three times to achieve, Tebeje Molla (Deakin U) and Denise Cuthbert (RMIT) argue in a new paper.

COVID gave the then government cover to “repackage pre-existing policy agendas” – the deregulation of student fees that Christopher Pyne failed twice to legislate in 2014 and the selective increases that Simon Birmingham could not get through the Senate in 2017.

But packaging a restructure of UG fees as necessary to help the economy weather what was pitched as the COVID crisis allowed the then government to  “(re)articulate its pre-existing neoliberal policy agendas of privatising and economising HE,” (authors’ itals).

What changed from 2014 and ’17  to 2020 were new emphases in JRG, “a focus on the employability of graduates, incentives for study in select fields through new fee schedules, and a recasting of equity exclusively in terms of opportunities for regional students and universities.”



Chris Armstrong joins Uni New England as DVC R in October. He moves from NSW Deputy Chief Scientist and Engineer.

James Arvanitakis is appointed director of the Forrest Research Foundation (as in Andrew and Nicola Forrest). He moves from the Fulbright Foundation and replaces former UWA VC Paul Johnson.

Sven Rogge becomes science dean at UNSW, starting October. It’s an internal appointment.