Trouble with truth

Deakin U reports research surveys find people do not like “paternalistic lies” where the liar is “making an assumption about the recipient’s best interests.”

Deakin’s Matthew Lupoli and US collaborators suggest paternalist lies include doctors talking up test results, government talking down disasters and romantic partners “delivering false praise with the intention of preventing emotional harm.”

“We found that the targets of paternalistic lies did not believe that the liars were truly trying to do what they thought was best for the target,” they advise.

Good-o, but CMM is sticking with no-one’s bum ever looked big in anything.

Mandarin’s mandarin Moran new chancellor at Federation U

Terry Moran is Federation University’s new chancellor. Mr Moran is a mandarin’s mandarin, a former head of the Victorian premier’s department and of PM and C under Kevin Rudd. Mr Moran is also a training policy veteran, the founding CEO of the Keating Government’s Australian National Training Authority, during the last great effort to create a national training system.

This a big win for dual-sector Federation U. Mr Moran has recently concluded a review of SA TAFE, which placed the agency’s problems in a national policy context (below). And his familiarity with the labyrinth of policy will be an enormously valuable resource for the university.

UoW cash-splash for staff (just not casuals)

There is cash coming for some, but not all, staff at the University of Wollongong. Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings has told the university community, “The university wishes to take this opportunity to provide you with a financial boost in the lead up to the holiday season.”

 Permanent and fixed term employees are up for a $1000 one-off payment, “in recognition of your work and contribution.”  Which is nice, although the slow pace of negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union for a new enterprise agreement might have something to do with the timing. Professor Wellings adds, “despite the university’s best intentions to conclude enterprise bargaining quickly, it has progressed at a slower pace than had been expected and the university doesn’t want staff to be disadvantaged as a result.

While the payment is pro-rated for permanent part-time people, casuals don’t qualify. This strikes some of the 480 UoW casuals (around 20 per cent of total staff) as mean and out of touch. As Alisa Perry, then at UoW and colleagues wrote in a report  for the university “on the contribution of sessional teachers to higher education.” “The ‘full-time, permanent, centrally-located teaching/research academic’ is no longer the norm around which policy and practice can be formed. The changed employment structure is likely to have outgrown existing policy and practice in universities.” That was back in 2008.

Planning for a fair-go in 2030 uni access  

There is an Australian policy tradition of emphasising education as the economy changes, (think Whitlam, Dawkins and bipartisan support for demand driven funding.  Now Nadine Zacharias (Curtin U) and Matt Brett (La Trobe U) think it is time to start thinking again, with higher education access and equity still being considered in the context of the Bradley Review.

“The structural changes to our economy that are an anticipated result of digital disruption and the 4th industrial revolution, may necessitate new approaches to supporting the transition of young people to the labour market and a national strategy for reskilling workers displaced by automation and the digitisation of the economy,” they write in a discussion paper on the need for a new higher education access strategy for Australia through to 2030, for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

The paper is designed to encourage participation in the policy process and sets out eight issues, which will likely shape access to HE in the next decade. They include, the impact of funding constraints and the role of digital delivery, how and why equity should be central to the education system and national objectives and how we define and measure the achievement of equity outcomes.

Brett and Zacharias’ initial thinking, is here , where they also invite submissions.

Cutting the red tape around training packages

The Moran report on South Australian TAFE is circulating and scathing reading it makes, along the lines of the earlier briefing from consultants Nous  (CMM April 6). But this new report addresses much more than the now well-known public training shambles in SA. Mr Moran has warnings for the national system’s dependence on the 70 plus training packages which include thousands of competencies in more qualifications than there are recognised occupations.

Training packages are expensive and archaic, complex and confounding for anybody attempting updates. Mr Moran suggests a new regulatory approach is required, which focuses on the capability of registered training organisations rather than the existing micro-managing TP approach.

And yet TP’s are fundamental to consistency across national training – which would surely be at risk if the states took back course content. It seems that the SA government has plenty of work in fixing TAFE before it addresses TPs. Perhaps the answer is to makes it a task for a post-compulsory education inquiry, which Labor proposes.

No recording at UniMelb Law School

Petitioners at the University of Melbourne want the law school to make recorded lectures available to students, including those studying for a juris doctor degree. “This is university policy, hard-won after lobbying and activism by our predecessors.”

To which the university responds; “After extensive consultation with staff and students, Melbourne Law School came to the conclusion against making recordings available generally. This view was reached in the interests of providing students with the best quality legal education and the best teaching experience overall. Students with special consideration reasons are able to access recordings in compulsory subjects.”

An MLS policy statement policy details reasons, including if lectures are recorded people do not go to class, which, “changes the type of learning community.” As to the JD, it “uses seminar style teaching rather than lecturing and this form of teaching is not particularly conducive to being recorded.”

Which is not what the petitioners think; “This is an issue of accessibility, equity, and learning resources. Law students deserve equal treatment,” they claim.

As for the JD. the petitioners claim; “most JD classes are lectures. This is the case for the majority of the core subjects, and most electives.”

Appointments and achievements of the week

 Noel Cressie is this year’s Moyal medalist. Macquarie U uses the Moyal medal to honour contributors to mathematics, physics or stats. Professor Cressie is director of the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Environmental Informatics.

Keith Nugent will join ANU in January as DVC R, replacing Margaret Harding. He moves from La Trobe U, where he has the same job.

Attila Brungs has a second-term as vice chancellor of UTS, which will take him to 2024.

Carolyn Evans will be Griffith U’s next VC, replacing long-serving Ian O’Connor. She is now DVC (Graduates and International) and Deputy Provost (graduate education) at the University of Melbourne.

Alan Finkel’s term as Chief Scientist has been extended to 2020.

Larry Neale is the new director of studies in QUTs business schoolProfessor Neale replaces Bill Proud, who retired on Friday.

Miranda Rose is appointed to lead the National Health and Medical Research Council’s new Centre of Research Excellence on Aphasia at La Trobe U. She previously directed the university’s aphasia lab.

Curtin U is establishing a 40-strong centre to investigate “the future of work.” Mark Griffin will be director, joining from UWA.

Lisa Jackson Pulver is the new DVC Indigenous Strategy and Services at the University of Sydney. She joins from Western Sydney U.  UniSydney says Professor Jackson Pulver is the first known Indigenous Australian to receive a PhD in medicine from the university.

Joe Trapani is the inaugural head of the Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy, a collaboration of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of MelbourneProfessor Trapani has led the cancer immunology and immunotherapy at Peter Mac for 18 years.

Flinders University has appointed Alistair Rendell VP and executive dean of the College of Science and Engineering. He joins from ANU where he is director of the Research School of Computer Science. He moves to Flinders U in January.

Saveria Dimasi will join Macquarie University as VP services and strategy. She moves from the University of Queensland, where she is deputy COO. She starts at Macquarie Uni December 10.

UniSydney’s Thomas Maschmeyer has won the R K Murphy Medal from the industrial chemistry division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.  Last week he won the 2018 Eureka Award for science leadership.

University of South Australia emeritus professor Lloyd Sansom has received the International Pharmaceutical Association’s highest honour, the Andre Bedat Award.

Nicola Howell from QUT has won the Banking and Financial Services Law Association research prize.

Constitutional lawyer Rosalind Dixon (UNSW) is named academic of the year in this year’s Lawyers Weekly awards