Everything isn’t going at Uni Adelaide

The University Adelaide’s website announces in large type, “UNIVERSITY CLOSE-DOWN”

But if you are in the market for a second hand thingatron, sadly this is not your “everything must go” moment.

Shutting the joint down for a week is part of last year’s staff-agreed savings package which included everybody taking extra leave.

The thingatron will start-up tomorrow week, (Monday the 26th is an SA public holiday for ANZAC Day.)

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

In the rush to on-line teaching it was easy to over-look research postgrads, many being even more isolated than usual.  Trina Myers, Wasana Bandara, Sharon Altena (all QUT)  and Rebecca Evans (JCU) suggest ways to help them. This week’s contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s long-running series, Need Now in Teaching and Learning.

Amanda-Jane George (CQU) and Julie-Ann Tarr (QUT) on the big issues in uni-industry collaboration. There’s way more to it than demand- and supply-push incentives or commercial returns

 Marnie Hughes-Warrington (Uni SA) and Andrew Klenke (Swanbury Penglase Associates) on what 19th century Adelaide as testlab shows us about innovation. “If we want translation and commercialisation to grow, we need to spend more time thinking about what makes mixed systems work, and to support them. It is strange to focus on translation and commercialisation funding without addressing shortfalls in research funding, for example, and to not think about social as well as economic innovations.”


Innovative ATN

The Australian Technology Network’s “Innovation driven future” on-line conference is on this week, with three-themes covered over three days, collaboration, innovation ecosystems and globalising them

There are bunch of ATN speakers, plus high-profile policy people including Chief Defence Scientist Tanya Monro and Education Minister Alan Tudge.  Want to know how the Europeans do it? There a 6pm AEST session tomorrow with Arno Meerman, from the University-Industry Innovation Network.

Bowman begins as he means to go on

New Charles Darwin U VC Scott Bowman always looks happy at a funding announcement

It took a whole four days since he started for there to be one – Professor Bowman was at the Friday announcement of the federally funded Northern Australia Drought Resilience Hub, based at CDU.

Professor Bowman was expert in attracting funding when VC of CQU – starting work, which may pay-off on acquiring the ultimate status-symbol – a medical school (CMM March 9 2018, February 21)).  The drought hub was probably won long before his appointment but if there is a flood relief research programme you can bet Professor Bowman will be on to it.

Drought hubs are being established across the country, with this one covering the top ends of Northern Territory and WA. There is no word on how much it  will have but others of that ilk get $8m from the feds, plus contributions from participating organisations.

The SA version certainly does –  also announce last week, it will be based at Uni Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus with Flinders U and Uni SA also involved.

 Rite of passage

Patricia Davidson puts down her old Twitter handle, @nursingdean (Johns Hopkins U) and picks up her new one (@UOW_VC) – via, Twitter.  She formally takes up the Wollongong handle on May 21.


Swinburne U hacked

 The university advises a data breach starting in 2013 exposed names, emails “and in some cases” phone numbers

Around 5200 staff, 100 students “and some externals” are exposed.

The source was “event registration information,” which had “been inadvertently made available on the internet.”

It’s not there now and Swinburne says it is contacting all-impacted, to “apologise and offer appropriate support.”

“A case of very open days,” a Learned Reader suggests.

A training sign in the budget skies

Employer-funded job training for staff about to be made redundant may be FBT free

There’s an exposure-draft of the necessary Commonwealth legislation, for comment by April 29.

“The increased rate of globalisation and technological change, and the changing nature of work and labour market, are among the forces driving the need for continued upgrading of skills throughout life. Retraining and re-skilling plays an important role in allowing Australia’s labour force to benefit from the ongoing transformation of jobs and workplaces,” the explanatory memo states.

If there is serious new money for post school education/training in the budget guess what it will fund.

Define “constructive” at Southern Cross U

SCU has a new academic workload model – based on EFTS, rather than the old allocation based on hours required to complete work by disciplines and teaching mode

This upsets the National Tertiary Education Union which says the new arrangement breaches nine clauses of the SCU Enterprise Agreement. The union has accordingly notified an industrial dispute.

There is also a draft letter circulating among academic staff asking the chancellor, Nick Burton Taylor to get involved because, the text states, university leaders are  not listening to concerns (CMM April 6).

But management tells CMM that it has consulted on the new arrangement and that “substantial changes were made to proposed versions of the academic workload model on the basis of staff feedback.” Plus, the university “continues to consider opportunities for refinement, assisted by constructive feedback from many staff.”

Thinking locally on cheating globally

There was an announcement last week on an Associated Press site that runs press-releases . It was by a PR agency promoting “a professional essay writer service”

Not, you understand, that the Polish registered provider offers to actually write essays for clients. Rather, “all products are provided solely as examples to research, reference, and/or for you to learn how to properly write a paper.”

But the products provided will help and students could pass them off as their own work.  “Once you have placed an order and paid for it, a professional essay writer will start researching your topic immediately. They’ll find relevant facts, analyse the findings, and write a polished, meaningful essay that will bring you an ‘A’ grade,” the service’s website states.

The puff-piece was not written by the immensely influential Associated Press news service and is clearly marked as “paid content.” So, unless AP takes the promo down there is probably not much that can done to stop students anywhere, including Australia, reading it.

It demonstrates how hard it will be for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency to stop offers for such services from off-shore.

Last month TEQSA CEO Alistair Maclean told the Commonwealth Parliaments Joint Committee of Public Accounts, “we will be announcing very shortly court orders blocking websites offering academic cheating services,” (CMM March 12). The Commonwealth’s Prohibiting Academic Cheating Services Act forbids publishing/broadcasting an advertisement for an academic cheating service to students in Australia.


Sam Drake is appointed inaugural chair of Electromagnetic Systems and Security at Flinders U.  He will head a $5m Centre of Expertise for Electronic Warfare, jointly funded by the university and the commonwealth’s Defence Industry. It’s an internal Flinders appointment.

Troy Farrell is confirmed as executive dean of QUT’s science faculty, he has been acting for 12 months. Gavin Slade becomes deputy dean of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice. Simone White moves from the new faculty to be a professor in the teacher education school.

Deen Sanders (adjunct professor Deakin U) is inaugural chief professionalist for the Australian Council of the Professions. The council states he, “will engage with national leaders as well as the broader community to advocate for the purpose and value of the professions, professionals and professionalism.”

Hilary Winchester is joining Charles Darwin U as University Secretary. The portfolio includes compliance, policy, audit and risk.