There’s more in the Mail  

In Features this morning;  Maria Raciti (Uni Sunshine Coast)  on the joined-up education-to-occupation blueprint low SES students want. It’s a new essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Plus Merlin Crossley (UNSW)  points out  the positive prejudice when scientists give talks,

And Tim Winkler  lists ten ways to deal with the virus crisis.


Union calls for uni staff virus protection

The National Tertiary Education Union wants a financial vaccination

Late Friday the NTEU national executive called on university managements to “find significant non-staff-related savings to minimise the impact on staff, particularly insecurely employed staff, arising from the impact of the decline in international enrolments,” and to “reassure their staff now that in the event of campus closures all staff will be paid as normal for the duration of the closure, including casuals and those who cannot work from home.”

The union also wants the federal government to, “provide affected universities with relief to their operating budgets in order to minimise the impact on staff, particularly insecurely employed staff.”


La Trobe U asks about international itineraries

The university bans new bookings for March-April trips to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea

Natalie MacDonald (VP strategy) adds anybody going on private trips to such places need to give their itinerary to LT U in case self-isolation will be needed before returning to work.

Uni Canberra case for WA court

Simon Hall wants $24 000 damages from the University of Canberra because it said its law degree met the educational requirement to practice in WA. It didn’t.

Mr Hall and the university have been in court over where his case should be heard, in a WA magistrates court or the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Judge Troy of the WA District Court has found for Mr Hall and the case will be heard in the west.

But how did the university make representations that its degree met the educational requirements for admission to the legal profession in WA?, CMM asked. “As this case is before the courts we have no comment,” Uni Canberra replied.

Now they tell them

Macquarie U has a statement for staff to read as classes start suggesting students who feel crook should not be there – which might be too late.

The university will announce its COVID-19 contingency plan at an “virtual” all-staff meeting today.

No security breaches in ARC projects

If there are more foreign spies in Canberra than you can point a philby at they aren’t after the Australian Research Council

Labor’s Kim Carr asked in Senate Estimates last week how many Australian Research Council funded projects breached the Defence Control Act, (designed to keep our secrets ours) or been investigated. None, an official answered. Which was the same number as when Senator Carr last asked.

But then again if the government is watching for spies in research the ARC may not be the people to ask. Officers told Estimates that they were not asked to work on guidelines for the University Foreign Interference Taskforce.

Good week for James Cook U

The feds are loaning the university $46m for a new student residence

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is stumping up the cash, with JCU kicking-in $7m. The money goes to a 400-bed facility on the Townsville campus.

JCU also host the new Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre, accredited Friday by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The award is not accompanied by cash, but every honorific counts.

Australia unis keep teaching while Stanford closes classes

Universities telling the world they are putting courses on-line for students outside Australia is having a local impact

Learned readers report students here saying they should be allowed to take classes from home to avoid COVID-19 contagion from commuting and on campus but CMM is not aware of any university cancelling campus-classes.

UTS, for one, tells staff how to respond to requests for attendance exemptions; “acknowledge the students’ concerns but point them to official advice that they should not feel scared and that the risk of infection is very low.”

In contrast, in Friday Stanford U cancelled in-person classes for the final fortnight of the current teaching quarter, this week and next. The university is staying open, but management does not expect things to get better. It has also cancelled events for new students scheduled for April 23-26. “We are taking this step after thoughtful consideration,” Provost Persis Dell told the university community.


Not always easy without Elsevier

Not all research systems get along ok without the journal giant

 U Cal researchers are said to have done ok since Elsevier pulled its journals when subscription negotiations broke down last year (CMM March 4 2019 ). But it’s not a universal experience. A learned reader points to Sweden, when the Bibsam consortium of universities and research institutions cancelled on the for-profit journal giant in March ‘18.

A survey of life after Elsevier finds 54 per cent of researchers said their work suffered, although 42 per cent of the overall sample found articles published by Elsevier in off-publisher sites

Medicine, health science, dental surgery and social care were the most effected disciplines and most strongly opposed to the cancellation. Humanities and theology were the least.


Austrade’s COVID-19 social media campaign


What it is: Austrade‘s #InThisTogether sends messages of support to people who can’t be on campus because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, with one clear message, “we are all in this together”.

It’s intended for  Australians to show solidarity and support for those impacted, and for students caught offshore to communicate with their communities here.

Why it matters: While the headlines focus on domestic issues, such as toilet paper acquisition (or lack of) we must not forget there are many affected students still not able to resume their studies. The number will likely grow as other countries are added to travel restriction lists. Making these students feel connected to Australia and their study institution(s) is important for both their personal wellbeing, their study journey and their desire to reconnect in person when the current situation resolves.

Education institutions, agents, sector organisations and individuals alike can participate using the hashtag #InThisTogether on social media posts.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent.

Appointments, achievements

Barney Dalgarno has started as Uni Canberra’s executive dean of education. He has moved from Charles Sturt (CMM September 16 2019).

Cheryl Desha (Griffith U) is named International Women’s Day champion of change by the Queensland Government.

Lee Parker (RMIT) and Stephen Penman (Columbia U) join the Australian Accounting Hall of Fame.