Insulating the Accord

Not content with suggesting unis Adelaide and South Australia should merge or he will do it, SA Premier Peter Malinauskas is telling them and Flinders U what he wants taught, specifically urban planning. (The excellent INDAILY has the yarn).

It’s an instructive example for advocates of a government agency to manage university accords and oversight research. Imagine how much meddling a federal minister Malinauskasly-minded could try.

Not if the Australian Academy of the Humanities idea for a universities commission got up (scroll down)

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

There are five myths on curricular approaches to student wellbeing – here’s how to bust them. Jacquelyn Cranney, Nalini Pather, Leesa Sidhu, and Gary Velan (all UNSW) explain in this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

with Conor King (Tertiary Education Analysis) on the purposes of higher education: personal development, economic outcome and social status. Plus what Dr Seuss has to teach about the third, HERE.

and Sean Brawley, Richard Cook and Ellenie Petrou on how Uni Wollongong learned to manage change

Brian Schmidt’s Accord hope: education for productive and happy lives

The ANU VC makes a personal submission to the O’Kane Accord

The soon-ish to be not vice chancellor (he steps down at year-end) proposes ideas to ensure Australians have the education and skills, “matched to their ability and aspiration” for “productive and happy” lives. Writing as an ANU Distinguished Professor he sets out high policy and operational ideas, including;

* “a life-time of education from a single system:” one subsidy plus income contingent loan to fund fees for all accredited non-profit tertiary providers

* fully-fund “core sovereign-research capability:” to include “curiosity” and applied research

* five-25 year funding for translation of research “for the public good” plus “agile bottom-up support of individuals’ translation ideas”. Particular attention to areas market failure

* university funding and accountability set out in accords

* “sustainable academic workforce” “most workers in the academy (post education) have prospects of long-term sustained employment”

* foundational research: government should set a minimum funding floor, as a fraction of GDP

*”making the most of government spending:” notably in defence. With business and universities to, “play a much larger role in delivering capability”

What works at work

After all the pandemic pain it’s time to work through the lessons of lockdown and build better HE workplaces

HEjobs invites you to an in-person event to talk, listen and learn about jobs that work better.

Expanding brief for an Accord oversight agency

A key applied research lobby calls for a national agency over-sighting public research and development investment

Cooperative Research Australia’s advocates an all of government approach, in its submission to the O’Kane Accord panel.

“Better coordination and an integrated funding model across portfolios with a long-term view could solve the problem of industry-led research funding. This would involve closer collaboration between government, universities, and industry, with a focus on promoting innovation and building research capabilities in strategic areas.”

And to make it happen, CRA calls for national-level public investment coordination by a “central authority.”

It adds to the impetus in Accord submissions, for increased government oversight of HE and research. The big four university lobbies all call for an agency to advise government on university performance.

Plus, the Group of Eight suggests a government body to oversight a national research strategy. The Innovative Research Universities similarly calls for an “institution at a national level” charged with “a system-wide view of university research and innovation and to support informed analysis and collaboration across different parts of government.”


Happy to be at work today?

If you work in HE, we really want to know – about your week, your year and your working life in general

Twig Marketing and CMM are collaborating  to survey Australian higher education staff over the next month, to get a better understanding of why you do what you do, and how you are enjoying your job.

There’s a random prize draw for a $250 gift card if you choose to leave your details at the end (all results will of course be de-identified) and we are going to use the results to provide some insights into where the HE sector is headed.

The survey should only take 2-3 minutes, based on early respondents, and will really help get new discussions underway on a whole range of issues that usually fly under the radar.

Please dive in and share your thoughts:

Learning what we get from the Medical Research Future Fund

The Department of Health want to measure achievements

There’s a paper on measuring the fund’s nine performance indicators, which are largely about inputs and stakeholders.

But two cover outcomes, “healthcare change” and “commercialisation pathways.”

Indicators for these include, “result in new treatments,” “withdrawal of ineffective treatments” plus clinical trials, start-ups and patents – which surely are the ones that really matter.

These, as well as all the bumf officials want, will be recorded from reports from funded researchers, – and yes, there will be a survey. But fear not, “the Department will take care to minimise burden on grantees, by considering the content, length, response format and timing.”

Course it will.

Learned academies essential Accord expertise

The Australian Academy of the Humanities wants a universities commission with a big role to play

In its submission to the O’Kane Accord the academy warns, “the lack of a permanent mechanism for expert academic input into higher education policy, independent of universities in competition with one another, is a limitation of current approaches.” Which makes the case for a national coordinating body to manage an Accord, “as a structured continuing process between higher education stakeholders.”

Plus (and it is a plus of prodigious proportions) a universities commission would, “have oversight of other areas where a national perspective is needed,” such as,

* “national capability gaps, including research training”

* “patterns of course offerings, including how teaching programmes are providing for broader economic and societal needs”

* monitoring pathways between vocational education and training and higher education

*  monitoring student participation and attainment

* providing overviews of workforce needs and seeding new models of industry engagement.

But given how governments ignore the humanities is this not a risk?

The Academy has thought of that, suggesting a “diverse stakeholder advisory body for the commission, including the learned academies of which the AAH is one, and their collaborative council, ACOLA.”

“The Learned Academies bring different domains together in ways that universities struggle to” (and) “would be well placed to develop national frameworks for the development of our disciplines, balancing expert academic advice, international best practice, data analysis, stakeholder input and national needs.”