Angel Calderon (critically) reviews big-name rankings
The positives and potential of digital education
Pros and cons for on-line learning partnerships
No issue Monday
CMM is off on the NSW public holiday. Back Tuesday.
There’s more in the Mail
Today in features
* Hugh Bradlow from the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering on new tech
* Sarah O’Shea (Uni Wollongong) on student equity that’s more than an add-on
* Mike Aitken on data creating fair markets – from finance to healthcare @
And on Tuesday look for Kym Fraser (Swinburne U) on why university teachers need teaching qualifications. The new essay in the CMM series on what we need now in learning and teaching.
Research good enough to eat
ANU has a winner in its Bake your PhD competition
Its Bozana Pasic for a confection called, “The structure of Lightening Ridge Black Opals” which appears to use a fair swag of Canberra’s chocolate reserves. When not baking, Ms Pasic is a PhD candidate in experimental petrology.
Beating contract cheating: big sticks aren’t everything
Phillip Dawson (Deakin U) argues contract cheating is a problem on university patches and warns against too-tough legislation
““The proponents of prohibition fail to demonstrate the effectiveness of their proposed approach or discuss how they plan to address the issues of detection, enforcement, penalties, extraterritoriality, and criminalisation of academic activities,” he argues in a new essay, with Alexander Amigud (CMM May 14).
And he warns that the government’s draft legislation goes too far, potentially empowering higher education regulator TEQSA to pursue friends and family who complete parts of a students’ assignments. Doing such things is wrong, “but they should not be a crime.”
He has a petition calling for the scope of the proposed legislation to only cover commercial cheating services.
Uni SA staff agree to new deal
The university will have a new enterprise agreement
University staff voting have approved the proposed deal by by 87 per cent, although the university refuses to reveal how many people turned out.
It concludes what seems the standard Uni SA calm and quiet process, industrial relations there rarely make the news.
The deal is largely in-line with other universities. There’s a salary increase of $1600 at the end of the month, a 1.8 percent rise next year 2020 and a further $1600 payment added to pay in 2021. The university will extend availability of shared paid parental leave, increase paid cultural leave for Indigenous staff, casual workers will have access to domestic violence leave.
ANU in new international uni alliance
There’s a new global alliance of 45 universities, the French-fostered U7, created to coincide with France’s 2019 presidency of the G7 – ANU represents Australia
The U7 is, “the very first alliance of university presidents aimed at structuring and advancing their role as global actors across the multilateral agenda.” It will focus on, universities’ roles in a global world, climate change and cleaner energy, inequality, technological transformations, and community engagement and impact, meeting annually from July.
U7 organisers say the meeting will not be “a scientific colloquium nor a place to advocate for more support for the academic sector,” which might be a struggle for some delegates.
Most university members are from G7 countries, with six African institutions also invited, plus one from Mexico and Singapore. ANU will represent Australia.
A learned reader hopes that the U7 did not send ANU its bank details – people are so unkind.
The many measures of U-Multirank
The new U-Multirank is out, making it a big chance in this year’s Franz awards* for bureaucratically-sound but practically-impossible university comparators.
U-Multirank is designed to be what the commercial rankings aren’t, awash with information for comparing universities on specific attributes in specific disciplines. It is definitely, decisively, definitively not a league table –a great deal of effort appears to have gone into stopping anybody using it as the basis of a top-to-bottom ranking.
The result is a product which addresses the concerns of critics of commercial ratings, who warn a university’s teaching and research performance and the way it compares to similar institutions cannot be meaningfully reduced to a single score.
And for people with the time and interest in how universities across the world compare U- Multirank will surely be useful indeed. But they will need oceans of time and acres of interest because the website is slow and user-frenemy – CMM tried comparing individual Aus universities teaching computer science with EU unis and failed.
U-Multirank describes its function “Universities compared. Your way.” Which is certainly true if you think “cumbersome” is a compliment.
* which CMM just made up.
ANU supporting staff caught in data breach
There’s after-disaster care but still silence on what went wrong
ANU says all staff, students and alumni affected by what is surely less the mother and more the extended family of all data breaches were “proactively” contacted by the university yesterday. But when they say “all” they mean everybody they have a current email for. Given 19 years of records were ransacked they may miss a few.
However, the university is stepping up to help people who do know about the breach, engaging an “identity and cyber security” counselling service to “provide anonymous and tailored advice,” free of charge.
This is good – adding information on what happened would be better, if only so other universities can ensure they are better prepared for data-raids than ANU was. And in the absence of information there is speculation.
Uni Queensland leads appointments achievements of the week
The University of Queensland announces the 2019 staff excellence awards
Innovation: * Dilum Fernando, Civil Engineering. Lead inventor of double-skin tubular arch bridge system. * RDM iDMP-IV Fast-track team. Collaboration between Library, IT Services, PVC Research Infrastructure, UQ Research Data Manager. Research data management programme.
Service: * Scott Tucker, Business, Economics and Law. Fostering culture of collaboration and communication. * Sponsored Research Fellowships. Competitive research fellowship applications, nominations for major prizes and awards.
Community, diversity, inclusion: * Helen Ross, Agriculture and food sciences.
Driving equity and diversity. * Disability Inclusion Group. Dismantling physical, technological and culture barriers. * Working group, steering committee and UQ community contributors. Reconciliation action plan.
Mental and Physical Health, Safety and Wellness: * Sexual misconduct support unit. Response, support and prevention activities.
Leadership: * Marni Jacoby, Medicine. Reinvigorated staff culture. * Spinifex Nano-cellulose Pilot Plant Team at Long Pocket. Australia’s first and largest nano-cellulose production facility.
Other announcements Thursday
Johan Wesseloo is the new director of the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at UWA, where he has worked since 2007. He replaces Yves Potvin, director since 2000.
The University of Melbourne has two new vice chancellor’s fellows. Long-serving federal Labor minister Jenny Macklin will collaborate on inter-disciplinary research, hosted by the Melbourne School of Government. She will also “support” the Melbourne Disability Institute, “to build its position as a global leader in disability research and policy advice.”
Sir John Savill is the newly appointed ED of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health. His role as VC fellow, “will involve acting and advocating for the university” and advising on innovation and infrastructure.”
And earlier in the week
Brad Yu moves from ANU to Curtin U to take up the Optus chair in artificial intelligence.
Sally Robinson moves toto become professor of disability and community inclusion. She joins from Southern Cross U.
Two Uni Queensland historians are elected fellows of the Royal Historical Society, medieval historian Megan Cassidy-Welch (head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry), and Chi-Kong Lai (Chinese history).
Daniel Bell is confirmed as general counsel at the University of Newcastle. He has acted in the role since mid ’18.
Matt Gijselman takes over at the NUW Alliance, a “smart solutions” lobby for the three big cities of NSW. It was formed in July 2017 by UNSW and the universities of Newcastle and Wollongong. Mr Gijselman comes from corporate and government public affairs, he replaces Bran Black, appointed in April ’18.
Jonathan Carapetis is named president elect of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes. Professor Carapetis is director of the Perth based child health research agency, the Telethon Kids Institute. He replaces Vlado Perkovic, the new dean of medicine at UNSW.
Scientist and science journalist Elizabeth Finkel is awarded the Australian Society of Medical Research’s medal. “The ASMR considers science communication to be the most important bridge between scientists, the community and policy makers (it) recognises Dr Finkel’s work and highlights her position as a pioneer and leader of this field.”
Don Weatherburn becomes an adjunct professor with the University of Sydney Law School, following his resignation, after 21 years at the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
Victoria U chancellor, George Pappas will co-chair a governance review of the Western Bulldogs AFL club. The university says it has a “unique association and multifaceted partnership” with the club. Mr Pappas’ co-chair is Bulldogs community foundation chair Gaye Hamilton.
The Council of Australasian University Directors of IT announces its 2019 award winners,
Improving student success: University of Canberra, Student 360 Team
Innovation in teaching and learning: Griffith U, Digital Solutions Team
Excellence in research support: Uni Auckland, Centre for eResearch Hub Development Team
Operational Excellence: Uni Newcastle’s Kesley Kernes, Cliff Kroemer and Jessika Magnisson Baker for robotic process automation
Emerging leader: Uni Auckland’s Tamara Al-Salim
The inaugural ACE award for involvement in CAUDIT goes to Scott Sorley from Uni Southern Queensland