Huzzah! of the day

Goes to Uni New England for continuing its community vax programme. There will be walk-in vaccinations for five-eleven-year-olds, at the Armidale campus sports centre, on Jan 29-30.  It follows the university’s community vax programme in New England in the winter (CMM August 27).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

With blended learning set to stay , Lisa Tee and Susan Blackley (Curtin U) write on creating on-line laboratory and practicum course components. Theirs is Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s first 2022 selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

David Chinofunga (James Cook U) on access to advanced maths in schools. Disadvantaged students miss out on courses that build careers.

Panel advising on $240m for unis

To ensure universities head in research directions the government approves of there is a $240m for four “trailblazer” research and industry hubs (CMM November 25)

And to suggest which might be best to blaze trails, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment announces a panel, “to support the selection.”

Members are Janean Richards, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Paul Wellings (former VC Uni Wollongong), Andrew Stevens, (Industry Innovation and Science Australia), Judi Zielke, COO, CSIRO (EOI stage), Dom English, (DESE).

43 000 international students arrive

The Commonwealth opened the borders to fully vaxed international students on December 1

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced the arrivals last night, adding that the “reopening of our borders” sends a “clear signal” to the 150 000 student visa holders offshore, that “Australia remains a top study destination.”
Mr Hawke also announced changes to the Temporary Graduate visa to allow current and former holders to return to Australia and to apply for “a further stay.” The new arrangements apply from February 18.

People with a Temporary Graduate visa outside of Australia between February 1 2020 and December 14 2021 are eligible. A further visa extension for graduates is planned for July 1.

ARC to rate Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies will be a category for the next editions of the two Australian Research Council performance metrics

The ARC announces an Indigenous Studies and Excellence Group to, “raise awareness of the new discipline and how it will be implemented in ERA and EI.

The new category in Excellence in Research for Australia (next year) and Engagement and Impact (2024) follow the creation of new research codes for Indigenous Studies, (CMM December 3 2019).

The group’s membership is; Lisa Jackson Pulver (Uni Sydney) and Bronwyn Harch (Uni Queensland) co-chairs, and Larissa Behrendt (UTS), Bindi Bennett (Bond U), Reuben Bolt (Charles Darwin U), Tony Dreise (Uni Southern Queensland), Ralph Horne (RMIT), Sarah Howard (ARC), Duncan Ivison (Uni Sydney), Nathaniel Lewis (Uni Sydney), Dan McAullay (Edith Cowan U) Jennifer Milam (Uni Newcastle), Chris Moran (Curtin U), Helen Morgan (Uni Queensland), Cindy Shannon (Griffith U), Mary Spongberg (Southern Cross U), Nathan Towney (Uni Newcastle), Irene Watson (Uni SA), Peter Yu (ANU).

Bradley Smith (James Cook U) discussed using the new research coding in the two ARC reports in CMM here.

Claire Field warns the higher education landscape is being reshaped


And the future for VET depends on the federal election

COVID-19 makes it impossible to confidently predict the future of the sector over the next 12 months, but 2022 starts with a number of challenges already in play.

At 20 December 2021 – half of all international higher education visa holders were offshore, compared to just 10 per cent in VET. These figures highlight the challenges the higher education sector has faced during COVID, and while superficially they indicate VET is in better health – recent media reports suggest this is not the case.

In addition, changes to the ESOS Act flagged in the new International Education Strategy will require providers to achieve an optimal mix of international students (presumably fewer students from China, India and Nepal) and to have an optimal mix of domestic and international students at the classroom level. These reforms will challenge international education providers as they seek to rebuild.

And with universities using international education revenues to fund research –the ESOS reforms are likely to have a wider impact.

Research will also be affected by Minister Robert’s ‘Letter of Expectations’ to the Australian Research Council stating that future research grants should be more closely focussed on National Manufacturing Priorities, and that the ARC should “fast track” the development of new measures of the quality and impact of research. According to the minister, these new world class research benchmarks should “set a rising standard over time.”

With six Australian universities (two public and four private) not meeting the current research quality benchmarks required to maintain their status as a university under the revised Higher Education Provider Category Standards, and with universities potentially having less money to spend on research as they diversify their future international student cohort, the higher education landscape is being fundamentally reshaped.

Meanwhile in VET the future shape of the sector hinges on the Federal election outcome. Labor has articulated a pro-TAFE agenda (albeit with some potential challenges for TAFE), while the coalition can be expected to continue their focus on efficient pricing and funding contestability.

Claire Field is the host of the free ‘What now? What next?’ podcast. She examines the challenges facing the sector in more detail in the latest episode.

Two jabs good, three jabs better at Uni Sydney

The university tweets, “we have our fingers crossed” for first semester

In the meantime, it advised yesterday that “any changes” to Welcome Week (commencing February 14) will be announced by January 31. Classes are scheduled to start February 21 and any changes to “delivery mode” will be made by February 14.

The university encourages “those eligible” to get a booster vaccination but separately states it requires all on campus to have proof they are “fully vaccinated (or have a negative test result no older than three days). So, it appears two jabs are good but three are better.


Soil Science Australia 2021 awards go to, publication medal: Thi Bao Anh Nguyen (Uni Melbourne), PhD thesis: Chelsea Janke (Uni Queensland), Prescott award (outstanding contribution): Brajesh Singh (Western Sydney U), Teakle award (awareness of social science): Silvana Santomartino (PSK Environmental), Life membership: Cameron Grant (Uni Adelaide)

In Monday’s appointment/achievements of the summer Carol Kulik’s (Uni SA) name  was misspelt