Just in at the bad timing desk

Damien Cahill is running for general secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union

Just not real fast this week –  he reported positive to COVID-19 on Saturday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Helping disengaged students can start with a phone call. Kelly Linden and Chris Campbell (Charles Sturt U) set out what to do in, Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series Need now in learning and teaching.

plus James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the financial state of Victoria’s public universities. “Their accounting methodologies are better suited to commercial, for-profit corporations, not charities,” he argues.

with Merlin Crossley (UNSW) is not much fussed by rankings. “The best strategy now is just to concentrate on being a good university, and we can put more effort into things that don’t count in the tables – good teaching, providing opportunities for students from different backgrounds, solving local problems via research.”

and Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new Shanghai research ranking

as well as Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) explains how some Vic uni 21 financials are better than they look – accounting practise is the reason. But the better than apparent numbers were a one-off.

Expert Opinions on the future for research

CMM has no clue so we asked people who do

CMM-Twig Marketing’s invited experts to talk about the future for research – all seven discussions are HERE.

Back on-campus open days all over Melbourne

Swinburne U starts Sunday with its first on-campus for two years

The university states it will be “the biggest to date” with “nearly” 300 events and activities planned. Make a change from “Swintopia” the on-line OD (CMM July 15 2020), reviewed by Tim Winkler (CMM August 11 2020).

Melbourne’s other universities all follow, with a return to campus events.

Monash U campus open days are on August 6,7 and 21

Australian Catholic U is on August 7

Deakin U is on August 7 at Geelong and August 28 at Burwood (Warrnambool August 14)

Federation U (all campuses) is August 14

RMIT is August 7 and 14

La Trobe U in Melbourne is August 7 (regional campuses 10,13 21, 28 August)

Uni Melbourne is on August 21 as is Victoria U.

It appears universities are betting demand will be strong, what with young people sick of restrictions and it being a case for unis of one in, all in. “Deciding what to study is a pretty momentous decision. That’s why we run Open Day – it’s everything you need, in one place, to help make your choice,” ACU states.

Whether all staff who normally volunteer on open days will turn-out might be different, given anxiety over continuing Covid. Last week Commonwealth Health Minister Mark Butler and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly both suggested employers should consider allowing working from home during the present covid surge. (CMM July 21)

Certainly some RMIT staff will not be there, National Tertiary Education Union members have voted to withhold voluntary and unpaid work in August, but it’s part of an industrial dispute  (CMM July 15.

Crest of a wave

Southern Cross U announces itself “the country’s greatest surfing university”

The five-person team has just won its ninth title at the UniSports Nationals. Uni Wollongong follows with eight. Overall SCU has won six of the last ten competitions and nine since they started in 1994. A win to match SCU’s world top-100 place for Oceanography in last week’s Shanghai research rankings.

Schools first on agenda as Clare calls in the experts

Education Minister Jason Clare announces the teacher shortage will lead a minco

When education ministers meet on August 12 the first half of the agenda will be a teacher shortage roundtable, with principals, teachers and education experts participating.

“Any idea that a minister in the federal parliament or state government is some sort of omniscient being that knows all the answers is rubbish. It’s silly. It’s naive. That’s why I don’t want a meeting that’s just got a bunch of pollies talking to each other. I want teachers there; I want principals there. I want the people that do this, talking to me, and talking to state ministers about what we need to do,’” Mr Clare said Friday.

The roundtable, “will be held prior to the Jobs Summit so that ideas generated can be fed into those discussions.”

Good-o, but the school-ed priority might alarm HE and VET leaders anxious for the government’s attention and while there is plenty of time for other sectors – the Summit is on September 1-2 – Mr Clare could claim that he has already consulted and consulted some more, having visited vice chancellors across the country.

AITSL here to help

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership was quick to welcome the minister’s announcement and to warn, “the solution to teacher shortages is not a quick fix, but by analysing both supply and demand, we will know the extent of the problem we are facing and can ensure fit-for-purpose solutions.”

Fortunately AITSL is on the case on one solution, “attracting qualified teachers from overseas.” “As the provider of the skills assessment services to teachers who wish to migrate to Australia, will continue to work with states and territories to maximise opportunities in this space,” AITSL advised.

U Tas law reform off the case

There is general agreement that the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is an outstanding organisation that does an important job – just not lately

The Institute is supported by the state government, the law society and Uni Tas – where it is based. The agreement between them is up for renewal and VC Rufus Black commissioned a review which calls for  the Institute to continue – and to get on with its work, which has stopped, for want of resources. “After operating successfully for two decades, the Institute has no director, no researchers, and only an administrative officer in a 0.6 FTE position. Work on its four ongoing references has ground to a halt, as has all other work such as engaging with law reform bodies in other jurisdictions, contributing to inquiries, commenting on draft legislation and engaging students in law reform projects.”

What is needed is more money from the university (to $220 000) and state government ($200 000, which contributes just $50 000 now) and for law academics to have research for the Institute included in their workloads.

Without a director, plus research and admin support, “the Institute will only limp along and lack the capacity to complete projects in an appropriate timeframe as well as supervise researchers and students employed to work on specific projects.”

ASQA explains

The Australian Skills Quality Authority clarifies its position on credit transfer

“When a student presents a superseded equivalent unit of competency for credit transfer for the purpose of reducing the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification or skill set, as the training package has determined the unit of competency to be superseded equivalent, a provider can grant credit for that unit without needing to map unit outcomes.”

Everybody clear on that?

Appointments, achievements

The Department of Defence Science and Technology Group announces its inaugural research partner awards, including Sarah Zhang (Western Sydney U) for collaborative research and Uni Wollongong for enterprise collaboration.

Evelyn Goh (ANU) is elected a corresponding fellow of the British Academy.

Miranda Harman becomes Comms Team Manager  at Uni Tasmania. It’s an internal appointment.

Shehana Darda-Teixeira exits media director at Uni Sydney in a month. She will move to a  a NSW government comms role. There is no word yet on who will act/replace.