You picks your course and you makes your choice

“There’s still time to follow your dreams,” NSW Universities Admission Centre encourages university applicants, Friday. “Alternatively” a learned reader rues, “you can apply for a course because everybody tells you it will get you a job that pays.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

GEORGINA BARRATT-SEE, ELLA KAHU and KATHY EGEA on ways to avoid burnout. “We can only be compassionate caring educators if we are well ourselves,” they write. New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus PhD students did it tough in the pandemic. AI TAM LE (Deakin U) sets out  six ways to help them

with ANDREW NORTON reflecting on 25 years of analysing HE policy

and JIM NYLAND (Uni Southern Queensland) on why we need an engaged universities accord and what should be in it.

Aus unis $100bn asset-rich

the big five have $37bn

In Features this morning Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) sets out the public university system’s wealth, and the way it grew in hard times.

“Significant strengthening of balance sheets for many universities has occurred. Any decreases in international student fee incomes have been more than compensated for by increases in other revenue streams,” Professor Larkins writes.

The big five research universities in particular have assets aplenty – over a third of the university system total.

Uni Melbourne leads with $10bn.

“Given the uncertain global environment for higher education, major challenges confront the sector to remain internationally competitive, especially in research and student recruitment. The recent track records provide confidence that Australia has a strong and resilient higher education sector to meet global challenges,” he concludes.

Southern Cross U staff back management on pay

The university’s offer split campus unions, backed by the professional-staff based Community and Public Sector U and opposed by the National Tertiary Education U

Management offered improvements in conditions and pay lifts in a 9 per cent-10.5 per cent range across 2023-25.

The CPSU endorsed the offer as “fair” balancing the university’s “challenging financial situation” and local cost of living increases.

The NTEU campaigned against it, arguing the pay component is “inferior” to a recent deal at Western Sydney U. The union is also at odds with management on academic workloads, notably the block teaching model adopted last year.

There was a solid two-thirds turn-out for the all-staff vote last week with management’s offer getting up 685 to 604. The agreement now goes to the Fair Work Commission for approval.

This is a big win for management – one which it would not likely have won if the two unions were united in opposition.

Most staff at any university are not union members but those that aren’t listen to the comrades on wages and conditions – except if they are divided There were similar circumstances and outcome in an enterprise bargaining dispute at Charles Sturt U in 2013 (CMM September 22 2013).

Uni Southern Cross VC Tyrone Carlin was courteous in victory in a message to staff, “thank you for your engagement and participation in the journey we have been on. I genuinely believe that the agreement that we have collectively endorsed is a real step forward for our university.”

Although there is surely a hint of irritation in his reference to the “elongated bargaining process.”

Uni Queensland’s excellent ARC outcome

It wins three of the 11 new Australian Research Council centres of excellence

The partnerships programme “is one of our largest and most prestigious schemes” says Australian Research Council CEO Judy Zielke. There is $384.9m in federal funding over seven years for this round, with $375m from “universities and collaborators” and $304, in cash and kind from 221 partners

Lead organisations for the new centres are

Uni Adelaide: Plants for Space (“on-demand, zero-waste, high-efficiency plants and plant products to address grand challenges in sustainability for space and on Earth”)

James Cook U: “Indigenous and Environmental Histories and Futures”

Monash U: * Elimination of Violence Against Women (“will work closely with practitioners and Indigenous leadership across Australia and the Indo-Pacific) * Weather of the 21st century

RMIT: Optical Microcombs for Breakthrough Science

Swinburne U: Gravitational Wave Discovery

Uni Melbourne: Mathematical Analysis of Cellular Systems (“engineering biotechnological applications”)

UNSW:  Carbon Science and Innovation

Uni Queensland: * Green Electrochemical Transformation for Carbon Dioxide, * Quantum Biotechnology * Indigenous Futures (“transform and improve the life chances of Indigenous Australians”

Two-stage services restructure at Western Sydney U

Western Sydney U restructures admin with VP Finance and Resources Peter Pickering to leave end ’23. But before then;

His division will end in January with functions split into;

* a portfolio Mr Pickering will head, including digital information and security and “strategic project implementation”

* finance, led by existing CFO Darren Greentree who becomes a VP

* infrastructure and commercial partnerships – Bill Parasiris is also elevated to VP from estate/commercial head.

Mr Pickering’s portfolio will be broken up when he leaves.

The conversation you should not miss

What could be more important for a few hours next week than to consider new opportunities and ideas from emerging Indigenous leaders in higher education?

A host of current and emerging leaders have signed onto panel discussions for Poche SA +NT’s online conference Are You Ready, Australia? hosted by Twig Marketing and Campus Morning Mail.

Tickets are available for next week’s sessions, which run over November 10 and 11. Sign on here:


Anggia Prasetyoputri joins the Doherty Institute as the 2022 Australia-APEC Women in Research Fellow. She is a drug development scientist at Indonesia’s National Agency for Research and Innovation.

Bree Willsmore becomes inaugural director of government relations at Charles Darwin U