Another C for CQU (as in Cairns)

CQU VC, Scott Bowman expanded into Cairns, where James Cook U was once the only HE game in town – his successor wants a bigger campus

New-ish VC, Nick Klomp has picked up the baton, or rather the shovel, being photographed yesterday with one, on the preferred site of a new city campus, which would be twice the size of the existing one. “There is a big demand for our courses in FNQ and we want to work with all levels of government to make this a reality,” Professor Klomp tweeted.

To make this happen CQU needs a bucket of money from the feds.

Local federal member Warren Entsch (LNP) was at yesterday’s shovel-opp. So was a bloke who looked remarkably like Scott Bowman.

There’s more in the Mail

New in Features this morning

Merlin Crossley on risk-taking researchers, “gambling on a scientific hypothesis is nearly always a two-way bet and the odds are actually stacked in the scientist’s and society’s favour.

Up in Leiden lights: Australian research ranking success

Angel Calderon (RMIT) analyses the rankings metrics mavens love for hard data, and lots of it

In Features this morning he reports 31 Australian universities make the cut, five up on last year in the new ranking from the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University, in the Netherlands.

“While Australia’s Group of Eight universities perform well across the various metrics of this ranking, every Australian university can make valid claims of resounding success. This is because Leiden ranks on a set of 24 bibliometric indicators of scientific impact and collaboration. For a second consecutive year, Leiden has also produced a set of rankings on open access and gender diversity,” he writes

The new-comers and data on all the local heroes is here.

And scroll down for William Locke (Uni Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education) on how research-strong rankings are realised.

Canberra stays closed to international students

The pilot programme to bring 350 continuing students back to ANU and Uni Canberra is off, for now

The two universities yesterday announced the postponement, “until there is a clearer picture around the COVID trajectory.”

It follows the South Australian government announcing the Adelaide pilot is also not happening now, with “no specific timetable” when it will. The state government told CMM’s Dirk Mulder this is due to Adelaide now excepting more flights of Australians returning home (CMM July 8).

Another Austrade exit

The well-regarded Rebecca Hall is leaving Austrade, where she led international education

She moves to the Victorian Government as commissioner to SE Asia. It is the second senior departure from Austrade in a month, following  CEO Stephanie Fahey’s decision to step-down (CMM June 15). Today is Dr Fahey’s last at Austrade.

Real-world tips for virtual student placements

It isn’t only courses that are on-line, student placements are now a digital experience

It’s an experience new to work integrated learning organisers, so WIL practitioners, Friederika Kaider, Harsh Suri and Wayne Read (all Deakin U), Leoni Russell (RMIT) and Annette Marlow, (U Tas) have created a twelve-tip guide to virtual WIL.

It’s obviously useful now, and it will stay so after the pestilence passes. The authors point to “the changing nature of work, reflected in increased contract and ‘gig’ work (and) the expanding digitisation of jobs” as increasing demand for student placements that aren’t in a physical place.

The guide is  here.

Paying for top research performance

Australian universities celebrate high-performance research rankings, but William Locke points out they have less to applaud on their teaching scores  

Australia looms large on league tables (ARWU, QS, Times Higher), with consistent performances over the last decade or so by Uni Melbourne, ANU, Uni Sydney and Uni Queensland as well as big improvements by UNSW and Monash U.

How they do it is down to money and management, as Professor Locke (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) explains in a new paper for the journal International Higher Education appearing Friday, US east coast time).

The cash has come from student fees, domestic and international. Acknowledging the work of Frank Larkins, Professor Locke points to the big five (Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland, UNSW and Monash), which have had average revenue per EFT, 50 per cent higher than the all-uni outcome.

But it’s the five’s money management that mattered, increasing asset bases, increasing discretionary revenues by recruiting casuals for teaching.

The result is more money available for research but it came at a price, “high student-staff ratios and relatively modest teaching reputations.”

“The big question is whether this performance – in financial management and rankings position – is sustainable in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, an unsupportive government and geopolitical vulnerability that Australian universities find themselves in,” Professor Locke asks.

COVID-19 industrial accord achieves

A committee with representatives from the higher education union and the university system’s peak industrial association approves COVID-19 savings plans at La Trobe U, Monash U and UWA

Where this came from: In April, four vice chancellors, with the National Tertiary Education Union, and uni managements’ Australian Higher Education Industrial Association proposed a national accord. The union would support agreed concessions on wages and conditions at individual universities. In return institutions would submit their COVID 19 financial situation to an independent committee, including NTEU and AHEIA reps and an independent chair.

It was greeted by a nupathon from most Australian university managements, who, among other reasons, did not like the external oversight.

But three of the four VCs who negotiated the original deal went ahead and the committee reports are now in for their La Trobe U, Monash U,and UWA. (The fourth VC, Charles Sturt U’s Andrew Vann, could not convince his council).

What happened: The committee checked the three university’s savings plans, including temporary cuts to wages and conditions and judged them commensurate to revenue shortfalls and the number of jobs they would save.  The universities have already put the packages to staff votes which were carried at all three.

It worked: Despite internal union opposition at all three unis, this has been a relatively no-fuss process. Western Sydney U, and Uni Tasmania, which adapted the NTEU-AHEIA model, also have staff agreements.

In contrast, universities that are going it alone to convince staff to accept cuts to staff pay and conditions in return fo reduced departures are having tougher times. Uni Melbourne lost a staff vote, Uni Wollongong’s staff rejected two cuts-options from management and the university is now in-talks with campus unions. ANU staff voted for management’s savings plan, which the local NTEU opposed, but it only just got up, with a 50.46 per cent yes vote.