Reasons for keeping lectures: the good, the bad and the ugly
The last textbook chapter
Merlin Crossley on being comfortable in a data desert
There’s more in the Mail
In Features this week Matt Brett from Deakin U on “reimagining higher education with transparency in policy, planning, actions and evaluation.”
Plus, Jeffrey Gil (Flinders U) writes on Confucius Institutes, where they come from, what they do and whether they should keep going in Australian universities.
No Macquarie U magic pudding
The university asked important campus people for their fave children’s books
Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton said one of his is Norman Lindsay’s The Magic Pudding – readers looking for the obvious joke about resources that never exhaust will be disappointed. The NSW Audit Office reports Macquarie U is good on key financial indicators. Although, the AO does report international students account for more fee revenue than locals.
Tehan appoints new HE advisor
Kent Anderson joins the education minister
A year back Professor Anderson decided to give it away at UWA, after four years as DVC community and engagement.
According to VC Dawn Freshwater’s advice to staff then, Professor Anderson said he was, “looking forward to recharge and is super-excited about exploring an unconventional and innovative direction in his future career,” (CMM August 2 2018).
Which he has now achieved – there is never anything conventional about life in a cabinet minister’s office.
Since leaving UWA Professor Anderson has spent five month acting in the DVC academic portfolio at Uni Newcastle. He also serves on the Higher Education Standards Panel, the board of the National Library and as an expert member of the Council for International Education.
A great wall around research: the national security challenge for unis
There are claims unis depend too much on Chinese student fees and do not stand-up enough for Hong Kong students but the big-issue for now is their research-ties with foreign powers (which means China)
Education Minister Dan Tehan tackled all three on RN Breakfast yesterday, making politically sensible points about international education (unis are handling their student numbers) and campus free speech for all (he’s in favour of it).
But he was careful in his comments on research, confirming universities and “agencies” were meeting “to work out best practice guidelines when it comes to foreign interference, when it comes to cyber-security.”
What this is about. “One of the most important things here is that government and the university sector need to work very closely on these issues, we need to put in place clear markers as to what is expected and what the government would like to work with the university sector on,” Mr Tehan said.
This did not sound like “crisis talks,” as news stories described the officers-level meet. Instead, it may be part of the preparation for a previously announced meeting next week of VCs and the minister (CMM August 19). All international research collaboration has to be in the national interest, “and if that means we have to put markers around certain research then that’s what we will do,” Mr Tehan said yesterday.
What it might mean: CMM wonders whether this is the security-establishment making the most of an opportunity.
In July last year the Department of Defence surprised the research community with a supplementary submission to Vivienne Thom’s review of the Defence Trade Control Act. This suggested amending the act, “to allow the Australian Government to more effectively control access to Defence and Strategic Goods List technology and other technology that may be used to prejudice the security, defence or international relations of Australia” (CMM July 13 2018). To the relief of the research community Dr Thom knocked this back in the review. But she, “was persuaded” that DoD have powers to investigate researcher compliance with the Defence Controls Act and refer matters to the Federal Police, (CMM February 15 2019).
What could be next: Overall university groups and science bodies were happy with the Thom Review – which would make it hard to complain if a “compliance investigation” provision turned up in research guidelines.
Another Uni Queensland MOOC achievement
One of its courses is shortlisted for the edX 2019 prize
Bized academic Tyler Okimoto is nominated for “Leading high-performance teams” part of the university’s fee-charging business micromasters, which can be for-credit towards Uni Queensland postgraduate degrees.
Another Uni Queensland MOOC won the edX prize last year, Blake McKimmie, Barbara Masser and Mark Horswill’s Psychology of Criminal Justice MOOC. (CMM November 19 2018).
MOOCs from the university have been finalists in all four-years of the award.
When Facebook isn’t enough
Tiago Barros from Publons is in Canberra next month, talking about peer-reviewing, of which he knows a bit
Publons, now owned by Clarivate Analytics, is a site which logs researchers’ peer-reviews for 3000 partner journals. “You can prove how much peer review you have done and how often the top journals rely on your expertise to vet the world’s research,” Publons promises.
Dr Barros will be at the Australian Publishers Association peer review seminar on Thursday September 12.
Huge gift for Monash U
The university announces an $8.8m gift to fund Raydon Scholars
These are PhD scholarships in the faculties of arts, art, design and architecture, education and law, “with preference given to asylum seeker students and students from refugee backgrounds.”
The funds come an endowment last year from the Narodowski Investment Trust, “to support a significant PhD scholarship program in perpetuity.”
The university already offers the Alex Raydon Scholarship for Refugee or Migrant Students.
While the first six Raydon scholars are announced, Monash U is uncharacteristically quite on the source of what it describes as, “one of Australia’s largest philanthropic gifts” for research in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Change on the way at Uni Newcastle
The long-awaited academic restructure is set to start
Kent Anderson’s successor (above) Liz Burd is not mucking around – briefing staff on the proposed academic restructure the day she was announced as interim DVC academic. The proposal is up for consultation until mid-September. “Liz has been closely involved throughout the entire development period of the change program. I am confident that she will carry this change process through with transparency, integrity and the utmost care for the people and the functions,” VC Alex Zelinsky told staff.
The move towards a new structure follows a period of peace after a long enterprise agreement negotiation last year and a restructure of the university’s BA, unpopular with some staff, in 2017.
Ian Thomson is the new head of the UTS Animal Logic Academy, “a world-leading animation and visualisation school” teaching a “one-year postgraduate degree. Mr Thomson is the previous head of the advertising and digital media faculty at private provider Macleay College.
Ashkay Venkatesh receives an hon doc from UWA today. Professor Venkatesh (Princeton U) graduated with a UWA science honours degree in 1998, aged 16. He won the Fields Medal last year.