Plus how high status uni brands deliver dollars

Understatement of the day

CQU VC Scott Bowman announces he is speaking at NTEU-community forums on deregulation “Not sure we will have total agreement.”

Birthday disses

Labor continues its roadshow against deregulation with Kim Carr speaking at the University of Canberra today. MPs are whistle-stopping campuses across the country, with the party obviously intent on taking the running back from the Greens and the National Tertiary Education Union, who have plugged away since the budget. Problem for the parties is that social media means they cannot own issues anymore, that the days when policy positions became part of their brand are over. While Senator Carr and his colleagues are meeting and greeting GetUp! has got involved, with a slick emarketing message condemning deregulation in the form of an e-birthday message to be delivered to Education Minister Chris Pyne, who is turning 47.

Let him eat cake

Clive Palmer got in first, unless he didn’t -presenting Mr Pyne with a birthday cake when they lunched yesterday. A sign that the PUP leader wants to have his cake and eat it too – by condemning deregulation but doing a deal? Could be, unless the cake was politically poisoned. I wonder if he ate any, as well as the Tobelerone mousse, on the menu.

The eight and daylight

So, will the Group of Eight be able to charge a premium based on reputation rather than value for money if deregulation occurs? It looks like it if new US research is any indication. Economist Joni Hersch from Vanderbilt University looked at the career outcomes of people who went to an ordinary university for their undergraduate degree but then transferred to an elite institution for postgrad work. (Her paper is in the SSRN collection here.) She concludes that people who do don’t catch up – that it is the undergraduate degree that delivers. “Few graduates of non-selective institutions continue to graduate (from) professional schools and among those that do, very few move to higher-ranked post-BA programs. And even when they do, their earnings do not catch up to their counterparts with elite undergraduate degrees, even taking into account type of degree and work characteristics that are themselves related to (the) status of undergraduate degree(s),” she writes. Gosh, you don’t think class could have anything to do with this do you?

Exploring endorsements

Charles Sturt and James Cook are getting in on the branding game. CSU is sponsoring the NSW Country Eagles in the new national rugby competition. And JCU now has naming rights for the Townsville Fire women’s basketball team. If universities do get to set their own fees I wonder what the paying customers will think of subsiding professional sports, as well as research.

Chubb’s four point plan

Chief Scientist Ian Chubb set out a four point plan for Australia’s future in a University of New South Wales speech last night. But before he did he was scathing about the present, suggesting we are complacent under-performers in science education and research, deluding ourselves that “she’ll be right” is a strategy.  Professor Chubb argued for competitiveness, so that “at least a proportion of public money going to private companies” funds research into “new products and services.” He advocated education to “prepare a skilled and dynamic science- qualified workforce, and lay the foundations for lifelong science literacy in the community.” He urged us to add applied to basic research, “we can and should align, focus and scale.” And he endorsed international engagement in science, in particular, “an Asian Area Research Zone that facilitates work on shared priorities as well as building infrastructure.”  “There is a national interest and we would do well to remember it,” he said.

Passages from India

Deakin University is interested, in a low-key way, in recruiting more students from India, with a Twitter feed and marketing channels appearing. You can’t fault them for trying in a market they tried hard to crack last decade, when the university spent four years negotiating a research centre in Bangalore before giving up in the face of state and federal bureaucracy. India is a huge export market, with 42,000 nationals studying in Australian education institutions in June. The country is the second largest market, but still way short of China, which sends us 117,000 students.

Who it does profit

Journal publisher Taylor and Francis tells me that “68% of learned societies believe in open access but only 18% are willing to earn less as a result.” So there! I’m sure T&F is not implying hypocrisy by business partners, just explaining why the existing journal industry business model prospers.

Sydney summit

University of Sydney student recruitment and marketing communication staff have reached an understanding on working together. The summit included a written agreement on who does what. There was much talk of mutual respect and cooperation between the two teams. So it’s peace in their time then. I wonder what things were like that required a summit

Animal spirits

Noticed the market interest in education private providers? I wonder where investors think the growth is coming from? If enough of the Pyne package passes so that non university higher education providers have access to Commonwealth Supported Places there will be growth for sure – but at the moment buying on that assumption is less investing and more punting

All in except Uni Adelaide

The University of South Australia has announced a partnership with local engineering success, Seeley, (the company makes air conditioners). Uni SA students will have access to Seeley engineering facilities and company staff will lecture. Flinders University and TAFE are also in the arrangement – now who does that leave out?

Terror analyst

There is no faulting Morgan Burcher for timing as the presence of Australians with Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria puts the risk of terror attack here back on the agenda. The winner of Deakin University’s three-minute thesis competition is using social networking analysis – who is talking to who online and in person- to establish ways of connecting potential terror groups. He has demonstrated links between the London transport bombers in 2005 and a second group, which launched failed attacks a fortnight later. Something else worth noting about his work – he is perhaps the only male postgrad in the country who looks comfortable in a suit and tie.

Poo to you too

“Bilby poo test gives hope for breeding program,” ABC Radio reports Griffith University research. “Whale poo could play a (surprisingly) key role in managing climate change,”- University of Tasmania researchers have found”. Yes, Wednesday was a quite newsday all over.