There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

How far could funding for research fall? Larkins and Marshman estimate the drop in international student fees from 2018 to ’24 will cost research $7.23bn That’s 4600 FTE researcher jobs.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on why independent funding protects free speech on campus.

Garry Carnegie (RMIT) and James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the ten unis with the biggest per centage of operating income from international student fees .

Australia’s ARWU achievement

The big achievements are outside the global top 100 – (looking at you Swinburne, Newcastle and UTS)

In Features this morning Angel Calderon analyses the new Academic Ranking of World Universities (CMM yesterday).

He identifies this year’s big achievers, Swinburne U, Uni Newcastle and UTS and points to how they did it.

And he suggests the two universities on the verge of joining the first 500.

Can it last? In the immediate term one, maybe two Australian universities will make the global 100, he says. But overall it will depend on how much universities invest in highly-cited researchers.

IRU supports “the need” for the Tehan package, up to a point

Four points actually

 The lobby, “supports the need for the package overall,” but proposes variations to the bill.

* a budget neutral change to costs for students for courses. The IRU proposes reducing the highest charges to the maximum that now applies and increasing the planned lowest course costs to make up the shortfall

* making the amount per student place government now provides universities a base for university funding. “Universities should not receive less per student on average than they currently do.”

* increasing funded places, “the number planned will only just cover the population growth in the younger age groups in the short term and will fall well short towards the end of the decade.”

And then there are the issues that really exercise the IRU, the “additional accountability requirements with no justification,” in Schedule Five, notably students must pass 50 per cent of subjects to access FEE_HELP.

“This is a major extension of regulation over universities, with a limited evidence base for the need,” IRU warns


ATN unimpressed by the Tehan package

The tech ed lobby is unhappy with aspects of the bill and it’s submission is said to outright oppose the student-protections set out in Schedule Five

The Australian Technology Network is expected to warn that there is no certainty on growth funding, to “maintain student opportunity as Australia’s population grows.” It has “reservations” about charging human welfare students the maximum contribution and reducing total funding for science, engineering and clinical psychology.

But the lobby likes least the requirements imposed in Schedule Five, which it argues, imposes on HE a solution to a VET problem. It adds universities did not know the new regulatory requirements were coming and that they involve “a considerable number of additional requirements on universities, with associated costs, at a time when universities are seeking to manage the implications of a substantial amount of lost revenue associated with the decline in international students.” In particular, ATN points to government oversight of student suitability for and progress in a course.

“There should be consultation with public universities on the application of these provisions before they are legislated, and they should be subject to a regulatory impact analysis,” ATN proposes.

RUN agrees with Andrew Gee

The Regional Universities Network backs changes to the student fee legislation set out by Nat minister Gee

RUN’s submission to the legislation consultation calls for;

*  moving social work, behavioural science and mental health studies from the highest band for HELP charges to the second lowest. “Regional students should be encouraged to study social work, behavioural science and mental health in regional areas to meet community needs in times of crisis.” And if the government will not do this there could be scholarships or “some sort of loading” to encourage study of the disciplines at RUN campuses.

* making the maximum $5000 payment for regional students only available for study at a regional or outer-urban campus. This would need to be included in the legislative instrument –it’s not in the legislation.

Both proposals are in-line with calls by National MP, Andrew Gee – the minister for regional education (CMM August 12). Mr Gee proposed the changes after a meeting with regional uni VCs and chancellors (CMM July 15).

Overall however, RUN “welcomes the measures relevant to regional students, universities and communities contained in the draft legislation.”

It would be hard not to, when Education Minister Dan Tehan announced his plan RUN headlined its response; “Tehan delivers for regional higher education and research.”

Uni Melbourne FOIed

When it comes to counting heads the HE establishment thinks FTE – not your actual individuals

So, to find out how many people, actual people, will lose employment in Uni Melbourne COVID-cuts to casual/fixed term staff the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is FOIing management. It is asking for stats on academic and professional staff and de-identified diversity and inclusion data.

The union is also requesting financial information – this goes to the argument that Uni Melbourne’s reverses are such that it need not go so hard on staff cuts.

It’s a new stage in the “open the books” campaign. “If the vice chancellor wants staff, alumni, donors and funding partners to trust him and his management on the response to the financial pressures facing the University of Melbourne, he must commit to financial transparency,” union branch president Steve Adams said last month (CMM July 24). Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell provided information on the university’s expected deficits this year and next in a message to staff but evidently this is not enough for the union, (CMM August 6).

The university is subject to Victoria’s FOI Act. While Uni Melbourne may find protection therein not to reveal the requested information this would only encourage the union to argue the books are not as red as management warns.

SA Young Tall Poppies of science

The 2020 winners are announced

* Alice Clement (Flinders U) – palaeontology. * Kylie Dunning (Uni Adelaide) – IVF treatment. * Maria Inacio (Uni SA) – aged care. Yan Jiao (Uni Adelaide) – green transport fuels. * Ian Moffat (Flinders U) – archaeology. * Rhiannon Schilling (Uni Adelaide) – crop yeild. * Margaret Shanafield (Flinders U) – riverine care. * Janet Sluggett (Uni SA) – health in aged care.* Yuval Yarom, (Uni Adelaide) – protecting computer data

Appointments, achievements

CQU announces Grace Vincent (previously SA) and Alex Russell are named in the 2020 Young Tall Poppies science awards.

Sarah Chalmers (James Cook U) is the new president of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

 Billy Griffiths (Deakin U) wins the Crawford Medal from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Dr Griffiths is the author of Deep Time Dreaming: uncovering ancient Australia

Kerri Lee Krause (Uni Melbourne) is programme award committee chair for the 2020 Australian Awards for University Teaching.  David Sadler (UWA) is deputy chair.

Asha Rao (RMIT) becomes interim director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute. Tim Brown announced in May that he would stand down in October.

Anthony Tuckett is to join Curtin U in January as director, learning and teaching, He will move from Uni Queensland.