Marketers not spoiled for choice

The Australian New Zealand Marketing Academy asked for nominees to its executive committee but academy president Tania Bucic (UNSW) now advises there will not be a ballot and three people will be appointed.

The new committee members will be announced at the academy’s “winds of change”  conference, at Victoria U of Wellington, next month. No, it is not a reference to the city’s climate.

There’s more in the Mail

New in Features this morning, chapter three of Gretchen Dobson and Dirk Mulder’s series on offshore alumni as a recruiting resource. The new essay looks at university brands and branding.

And Commissioning Editor Sally Kift  on Connectedness 2.0, the best higher education chance for all.

Australian research citation stars shine but China is ascendant

Australia rates fourth in the world for highly-cited researchers

Data provider Clarivate releases its 2019 list of researchers with papers rated in the top 1 per cent by citation.

The ranking crunches Web of Science output in its choice of the 21 “essential science indicator” categories, (which include social sciences).

Australia is home to 271 or 4.4 per cent of HCRs, behind the US, 2737, (44 per cent), China (which Web of Science calls “Mainland China”) with 636 (10.2 per cent), the UK, 516 (8.3 per cent) and Germany, 327 (5.3 per cent).

The rest of the global top ten are Canada, with 183 HCIs, followed by the Netherlands (164), France (156), Switzerland (155) and Spain (116).

Three locals make the top institutions list; Uni Melbourne is listed as home to 34 HCIs, UNSW 30 and Uni Queensland 29. In contrast, top-placed Harvard U has 203, one hundred ahead of second place Stanford U, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences third, with 101.

This is a good result for Australian institutions – the number of HCIs based here in the 2014 WoS analysis was 80.

However, the notable rise is China, which moved from 7.9 per cent last year to 10.2 per cent this – an increase the size of the Netherlands total share of HCIs.

Local heroes: James Cook U was the only institution to congratulate its highly cited heroes before CMM’s deadline last night. The five are, Geoff Jones, (marine conservation biology), Morgan Pratchett (coral reef ecosystems), Philip Munday (climate change and marine fish), Terry Hughes, (coral reef studies) and Bill Laurance (intensive land use).

What to do about not for profit, profits

Senator Rennick wonders whether universities should pay tax when they make money

Gerard Rennick (LNP Queensland) is a member of the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration, which is inquiring into migrant settlement in regional Australia. He was asking questions as the committee heard evidence on Monday, about international students in regions. “Given that we already subsidise universities $17 billion, plus the HECS debt of over $60 billion, do you think that the university sector should be paying tax on that for-profit sector?” he asked. The witness replied he was not qualified to answer.

It’s a theme that interests Senator Rennick. In his first speech in the Senate, he suggested universities should underwrite student loans and fund “the economic cost” of housing international students, (CMM September 12).

There is occasional talk around the traps that universities should pay local government rates (most recently in Hobart and Adelaide).  However, Universities Australia presented the standard defence the last time tax on income got a run, in an inquiry into concessions for not-for-profits, in 2012. “Any income earned by public universities is ultimately put to the provision of public services such as subsidised education, not to the distribution of profit to individuals, which is why universities are not and should not be subject to any proxy income taxes.”

Dolt of the day

In yesterday’s email edition CMM transposed numbers on Ramsay western civ centre funding for the University of Queensland. There is $50m over eight years (not eighty million over five years).

Gender pay gap narrows, but there is still a gap

Education and training has the second lowest gender pay gap

The 2019 report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports the men –women gap for all of education and training is 8.8 per cent, down from 9.7 per cent last year and behind only the wholesale trade (8.5 per cent) and public administration (6 per cent) employment categories.  The economy wide average is 20.8 per cent.

The education cash gap is $10 900, compared to nearly $4 500 in public admin. However, women in professional, scientific and technical services are paid an average $31 000 less than men.

The education sector leads all-industries in providing paid primary carers leave, with 79 per cent access, just ahead of finance (76 per cent). Some 65 per cent of professional, science and tech workers can access the leave.

Just over half managers in education and training are women, stable on last year and still way behind the 70 per cent in healthcare.  There is still a skew to male managers in ET, with women accounting for 62 per cent of the total workforce.

Uni Canberra to keep assistant professor programme

The university says it accepts three out of four primary and nine of 12 subordinate recommendations from an independent review of the research accelerator

However, it rejects the recommendation to abolish education-focused assistant professor positions as, “inconsistent with the university’s workforce plan and dedication to high quality teaching.”

The scheme, which can employ up to a quarter of academic staff, sets ambitious research targets for most participants in return for the opportunity of permanent employment. It has been widely criticised on campus as placing psychological and workload pressure on staff.

Vice Chancellor Deep Saini says he will start the process to implement accepted recommendations, before he leaves the university at Christmas. He is moving to Canada, to become VC of Dalhousie U.

Humanities peak body demands UWA Press stay as is

Any diminution of our network of quality publishing outlets for local content risks marginalising studies primarily focussed on Australia”

The Australian Academy of the Humanities joins the deplorathon over UWA’s decision to transform its university press.

“The future of Australian academic journals and our university presses matters because our research system depends centrally on the circulation of research undertaken in Australia. They disseminate a broad array of work undertaken across the system, but particularly that which focusses on problems or issues that directly concern Australians themselves – work that we cannot expect others to do or to publish,” the academy announces.

It appears changing that is exactly what the university has in mind. The intention appears to be for the press to present research at UWA, whatever it is about.

“Only a small proportion of the authors and content published by UWA Publishing relate directly to the university and its work,” the university states, adding the reconfigured press will move to, “open and digitised access to information and knowledge in its support of the university’s academic writing and research,” (CMM November 11).

Feds will still fund training regulator

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget the government announced ASQA would move to a full-cost recovery funding model from 1 July 2020 – it’s not as bad as that sounds


 Naively, I assumed full-cost recovery meant a regulatory agency needed to recoup all of its costs from the organisations it regulated.

That seemed to me like madness. And not just me, as a former ministerial advisor remarked when we discussed the issue, “Imagine if the police operated on a full-cost recovery basis? Their attention would be focussed on issuing speeding tickets and the like, to ensure they had a steady revenue stream to fund their activities. How would they fund major criminal investigations?”

A sensible observation. I was therefore very pleased to read the  details of the ASQA transition to full cost-recovery consultation paper, especially Section 7.4, which proposes the government would continue to meet some of ASQA’s costs. The suggested activities government would fund seem sensible to me. And to return to the earlier analogy – they would save ASQA focussing all of their time on writing speeding tickets.

One issue that isn’t tackled in the consultation paper though is how ASQA will improve its regulatory approach (as ministers have directed) without the imposition of significant new fees?

I have been concerned about this issue and was pleased to sit down for two recent podcast interviews with experts who have previously worked in VET regulatory agencies to pick their brains. They had some great suggestions – you can listen here.

Claire Field is the host of the ‘What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’ podcast.

Appointments, achievements

Brian Anderson (ANU emeritus professor) is awarded Engineers Australia’s Peter Nicol Russell medal for career-contribution.

Anita Ho-Baillie is the inaugural John Hooke chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney. Dr Ho-Baillie is now an associate professor working in renewable energy engineering at UNSW. She appeared last night on the 2019 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher list. The late Mr Hooke donated $5m to the university in 2011 for nanoscience research, including a chair.

Teresa Finlayson is confirmed as Monash U chief information officer. She has acted in the role since August, stepping up from her substantive position of director, strategic enablement.

The National Library of Australia announces its 2020 research fellowships;
Vivien Johnson (UNSW adjunct professor) to work on, “Writing Papunya: The Making of an Illustrated Vernacular Literature 1974-1991

Judith Bennett (Uni Otago), “Constant coconuts, a history of a Pacific commodity”

Sugata Nandi (Uni West Bengal), “Superior and Subversive? Theosophy, esotericism and Indian magic, 1875-1950”

Georgia Pike (ANU), “Community singing in inter-war Australia”

Jeremie Gilbert (Uni Roehampton), “Indigenous peoples cosmovisions, ecological stewardship and the law: lessons from Australia”

Alisa Bunbury (Ian Potter Museum of Art), “Norfolk Island in colonial art and writings”

Louise Hamby (ANU), “Experiences at Milingimbi through Axel Poignant’s Photographs”

Susan Martin (La Trobe U), “I loved a sunburnt country”