There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the growth of women in university leaderships and the challenges that continue, “universities need to focus on retaining and attracting academic talent but also ensure systems and robust process are in place which not only encourage but actively nurture women to apply for promotion.”

plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the power of universities to encourage greatness and counter group-think

and  Jacquie Tinkler and Gene Hodgins (CSU) on help for students with mental health issues who choose on-line. Some do so to manage study around their particular condition. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

with Garry Carnegie (RMIT) on global university rankings – why they are a menace.

To mask or not to mask – that is the question for Uni Sydney students

The VC says wearing is mainly up to them

In a message to students late yesterday Mark Scott advised that as of Friday masks will not be mandatory “in most settings.”

But they will be required in “clinical settings, laboratories, workshops” and anywhere else specified under state government rules and uni policy.

And the university encourages their use in classrooms, “particularly when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”

However “masks may continue to be worn by students and staff as a personal preference in areas where they are not required,” which is magnanimous of Professor Scott.

As for classes, with some exceptions  “there are no capacity limits” which is in-line with “eased” government restrictions.

ANU’s Katerina Teaiwa is university teacher of the year

The award announcement describes her as “a visionary teacher, mentor and leader, who has made an outstanding contribution to Pacific Studies in Australian and globally”

Associate Professor Teaiwa “contributes to many aspects of Pacific affairs, climate change, the arts and environmental justice in and beyond the classroom,” the citation states.

Universities Australia chair John Dewar announced her award yesterday at an on-line ceremony for the 2021 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Professor Dewar also pointed to next year’s awards. They will be funded by Universities Australia – this years are the last paid for by the Commonwealth.

Jobs accelerated out of the abyss

Some 1400 academic positions were advertised in October, better than the 2019 average of 1000 a month

And it was way better than the bottom of the pandemic – 290 positions vacant postings in April 2020.

The finding is from ANU’s PostAC team, which analyses labour markets to identify demand for people with high-level research skills.

The new number confirms a trend the PostAc team reported in August, when they found academic jobs advertisements in June 2021 were at 90 per cent of June ’19, (CMM August 24 2021).

PostAC also identifies a sharp and fast rebound in non-academic research jobs. Advertisements less declined than plummeted from 15 200 a month in 2019 to 6400 in April 2020. However the 2019 average was reached in February 2021 and advertised demand has continued since.

PostAC  was created to help new PhDs job-hunt outside the academy.

Internationalising education policies

The government is funding international extensions of domestic programmes and policies

Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert announces $10m for six projects including;

* $2.2m for international post docs in-line with local PhD funding in the research commercialisation strategy

* $450 000 to identify opportunities for diversification across the international education sector to improve business resilience and student experience

* $1.5m to “pilot innovative transnational education products”  in SE Asia, Latin America, South Asia and North Asia.

* $1.3m to pilot VET micro-credentials in “skill gaps” targeted at international students

* $4.25m to deliver critical skills courses in partner countries, supporting Australian education providers to expand offshore delivery and build partnerships with industry.

* $300 000 to develop a best practice guide for the sector on international student engagement.


A deeper shade of green at U Tas

The university intends to raise $200m from “investors who share our sustainable values”

The money will go reduce “upfront carbon emissions” by a minimum 20 per cent in construction of new campus buildings.

It’s the most they can  do – what with electricity from the grid being hydro-driven green.

U Tas claims the Inveresk campus development is already reducing “embodied carbon” by 30 per cent, which may mean the bond-funded savings will occur in CBD construction as the university relocates into downtown Hobart.

U Tas joins other universities borrowing to go green. Monash U issued a $218m climate bond in 2016. Macquarie U issued a $250m ten-year green bond in 2018 and Australian Catholic U raised $200m the same year.

Australian Awards for University Teaching

The 2021 awards were announced at a Universities Australia ceremony yesterday

 Teacher of the year: Katerina Teaiwa (ANU)

Career achievement: John  Biggs (U Tas)

Teaching awards: * Nick Brown (RMIT) * Vinod Gopalan (Griffith U) * Ambelin Kwaymulina (UWA)* Michelle Lazarus (Monash U) * Bonnie McBain (Uni Newcastle)* * Katherine O’Brien (QUT) * Katerina Teaiwa (ANU) * Diana Tolmie (Griffith U)

Programme awards: * Edith Cowan U: Inclusion in action * Griffith U: Bachelor of Pharmacy * Monash U: Integrating science and practice: authentic learning and assessment * Uni Wollongong: Jindaola (“educational development grants program facilitated by a local traditional knowledge holder and established in consultation with local Aboriginal community”)

The awards include 78 citations, across eight discipline categories, which are here.

Appointment, achievements

The (US) Association for Psychological Science names its 2022 rising stars, including; Kelly-Ann Allen (Monash U) and Jessica Lee (UNSW)

 Steven Most (UNSW) is co-author of a (US)  Textbook and Academic Authors Association 2022 “promising new textbook” award. The book is Cognition (OUP), co-authored with Marvin Chun (Yale U).

Grace Sara is a new Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.