There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Flinders U introduced an on-line enabling programme last year – which worked!  Jane Habner and Pablo Munguia explain why pass rates were way up on national averages. It is this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

with James Guthrie (Macquarie U) who has a detailed look at the University of Sydney’s annual report and what management wants to do with the bucket of money it reveals

and Conor King (Tertiary Education Analysis) on why changing HECs for just some students won’t be easy (scroll down).

First challenge for the new minister: which students should pay how much

The Job Ready Graduate fee structure sets a challenge for the new minister

In CMM this morning the learned Conor King explains the problem.

The Deans of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences lobby wants a change to the student fee structure as set by the previous government (CMM May 27). Understandably so – the generality of HASS students (plus law and business) are now hammered with HECS of $14 600 a year, more than  medicine and well over twice the cost of degrees the coalition approved of (think maths and nursing).

But any change will bring new problems. “I assume those arguing that the historians of the future cannot pay the top rate are not suggesting that the arts faculties lose revenue. They want a reduced charge to be offset by an increased funding rate. That is either a use of scarce funds to no other gain than a lower charge for some – or better, but harder, an increase in the lower rates JRG introduced at the other end of its spectrum,” Mr King suggests.

The shape of strikes to come at Western Sydney U

National Tertiary Education Union members at WSU’s pathway college have voted to take industrial action

They will go out tomorrow week in support of a pay claim. This has been dragging on since August, when college management proposed a 1.25 per cent annual pay rise across a three year agreement. The union knocked it back so college management put the offer to staff and 80 per cent of those who voted did the same (CMM August 9).

What may have appeared to some as paltry then will look even less now that inflation is an issue – the NTEU has increased its previous pay demand on all universities from an original 12.5 per cent over three years, to 15 per cent, (CMM April 21).

The union’s members at WSU itself have also voted to take industrial action over a range of bargaining issues, including pay (CMM May 17).


Big spenders: what comms cost NSW unis

NSW public universities spent $86.56m on advertising, marketing and promotional in 2021

The figures are in their annual reports, tabled last week in state parliament.

The state total was up 4 per cent on $83.461m in 2020. Spending changes appear to indicate varying levels of optimism or otherwise as institutions dealt with a second year of lockdown. Thus Uni Wollongong, (which took a big hit on a student accommodation agreement), cut spending from $8.132m  in 2020 to $7.580m last year.

Overall, there is no consistent pattern across outlays. In 2020, for example, Western Sydney U spent $14.325m in 2020, dropping to $12.081m last year, while UTS increased its spend from $8.647m in 2020 to $9.490m.

UNSW spent up substantially, leading the state with an $14.407m outlay ($9.779m in 2020). Second-place spender was Uni New England, at $12.375, up nearly $2m on $10.227m in 2020.

Uni Sydney, perhaps the highest profile institution in the state, spent-up, by nearly $2m, to $10.418m – but this put it fifth on outlays. A dividend on brand equity perhaps.

Regional unis election winners

All politics is local

Warren Entsch (LNP) held his seat, which covers Cairns, in the election and on the weekend told the Cairns Post that one of his two top-priorities will be a new CQU campus in the city. Not that the Labor Government will need any convincing, promising $60m for the project last November. The coalition matched it in May (CMM November 4 2021, May 16 2022). CQU had a good election, with bi-partisan projects for this and projects in Gladstone and Mackay.

It dcmonstrates what can be done when universities connect to communities and tell MPs all about it, loudly and often. And keep telling them, even when relationships are rocky, as they were for a while between Charles Sturt U and MP Andrew Gee (CMM August 7 2020).

Overall regional universities had a good election, with the government announcing money for approved before caretaker kicked in but announced during the campaign.  Five out of six members of the Regional Universities Network won new facilities/funding in the campaign, as did La Trobe U, which has a strong presence in northern Victoria (CMM May 19). Claims that conservative don’t like universities don’t apply to regionals, just ask CQU’s Nick Klomp.

Appointments, achievements

Henry Cutler (Macquarie U) wins the inaugural fellowship from the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research.

Anne Orford (Uni Melbourne) and Rain Liivoja (correct) (Uni Queensland) are DFAT’s visiting fellows for 2022-23.

Jane Edwards becomes dean of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education at Uni New England. She was appointed interim dean last year.

Sathana Dushyanthen (Uni Melbourne) and David Kok (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Uni Melbourne) win a gold medal at the 2022 Telly Awards (“TV and video across all screens”) for Dr Kok’s video-lecture on stereotactic radiotherapy (for cancer).

Sally McArthur becomes director of Deakin U’s Institute for Frontier Materials. She joins from Swinburne U.