But what does he really think

This month’s Greg Craven Award for character assessment goes to, Greg Craven. In a speech tonight the Australian Catholic U VC describes Kevin Rudd as a, “short-term Australian messiah, a veritable cross between Hercules and Popeye the Sailorman.” (Scroll down for Craven on western civilisation.)

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning David Myton looks at last night’s Business Higher Education Round Table awards.

The business of bized research rankings

The report on journal rankings commissioned by the Australian Business Deans Council (CMM August 28 2017) is circulating.

What’s proposed: Kim Langfield Smith (ex Monash U, now Nous Group) and Geoffrey Wood (Uni Essex) notably propose using expert peer review, “informed by journal citation metrics to rank journals, an indicator for “significant” regional journals and a new quality ranking A**, for journals “deemed to be the very best in the world.”

They also propose the ABDC think about a joint product with the UK Chartered Association of Business Schools, using its ranking, with additional input from experts here – a “hub and spokes model.” “It may be more powerful as well as efficient to have a single journal ranking list that has high standards of transparency, credibility and influence,” they write.

How it’s going down: The deans asked their research director colleagues what they thought and BARDSNet was generally positive. But they were ambivalent about a new elite ranking and disliked a regional indicator, lest it undermine the “coherence of a consolidated list and discriminate on the basis of geography rather than intrinsic quality”.

 As to working with the Brits – there is not a word although the BARDS made it plain they like an Australian and NZ list. Commenting on the idea of a regional indicator, their report states “on balance, we felt that an Australian Business Deans Council Journal List should by definition have an embedded Australian (and New Zealand) flavour.

The devils in the dental

When CMM first started covering the facial tumour that threatens extinction for Tasmanian Devils he filed in Latin and it is dreadful in any language that no cure is found.

So good on the University of Adelaide’s Chelsea Graham and Stephen Pyecroft for joining other scientists searching for a cure. They are using Pozible to crowd-fund the $5000 needed to research dental pulp stem cells – Devils pass on the disease when they bit each other. You can bet your bicuspids this is worth supporting (sorry) – go here.


Cuts to Commonwealth funded places in starter-courses and masters on agenda  

Education officials propose cutting federally funded enabling, subdegree and postgrad  coursework places by 5 per cent, starting for commencing students in 2020.

The reduction is floated by the Department of Education and Training in a new consultation paper.

This would hit the two universities offering a combination of undergrad degree and professional masters, with the University of Melbourne losing 131 postgraduate coursework places and UWA 82, from a system wide total reduction of 922.

The University of Newcastle would take the biggest hit on enabling places, 80 of 475 lost across the country. The University of Tasmania would lose 89 of 359 other sub-degree places. However the discussion paper supports the purpose of enabling and subdegree courses and states, “the government will establish new arrangements for allocating Commonwealth Supported Places.”

In contrast, the paper warns public subsidies of PG courses, “requires careful consideration.”

“As higher education providers have the option of providing these courses on a fee-paying basis, it is important any government investment is appropriately targeted to ensure benefits to the broader community are also achieved. However, defining parameters around ‘community benefit’ is not straightforward. Issues to consider include whether there is a genuine requirement for the increasing number of postgraduate level professional entry courses, how such arrangements interact with requirement of professional bodies and whether ‘professional development courses’ should be subsidised.”

Whatever the outcome, any new distribution of places will not be fixed, and “include cyclical review of course and allocation criteria in consultation with the sector and other stakeholders including employers and professional accreditation bodies.”

The Department invites responses to the paper to include, how frequently and how many places in all three programmes should be re-allocated and criteria for funding masters.

The University of Melbourne told CMM it would “carefully review” the proposal and respond to the proposal by the February deadline. So did UWA.

Study Portal to help international students find Flinders U

Flinders U intends to lift its international student recruitment profile, signing with Netherland’s based StudyPortal, which links to university course information by nation and discipline. Worth a go – August YTD international university enrolments show all South Australian universities up a couple of thousand on 2107 (to 20 032), but with a marginal drop in market share.

ACU’s Craven makes the case for saving western civ study

Greg Craven will explain how friends of the study of western civilisation can end the culture wars in a speech to the Sydney Institute tonight. Professor Craven’s address also (undoubtedly incidentally) makes a case why the Ramsay Centre for Western Civ might be comfortable at his Australian Catholic University.

The vice chancellor does not mention the Ramsay Centre or its many millions but he makes an argument for the study of the sources and causes of his idea of western civilisation and the consequences of both stridently defending and deploring it. And he uses ACU as an example of the way the work can be done.

Universities are a central part of western culture. Indeed, they are the oldest continuous institutions of that culture, excepting the Catholic Church. Central to the mission of any Australian university is the need to strengthen students’ sense of belonging to this synthetic Australian expression of western culture.  Indeed, as a beacon of civilisation, a university has a duty to help its society to appreciate the way in which art, ethics, religion and philosophy, as manifestations of that society’s spirit and values, can help society continue to reflect on what matters most as it moves forward,” he says.

So would he like Ramsay gold to help with the work? CMM asked and Professor Craven replied;

ACU is so terrified of western civilisation that, as a Catholic university open to all, it is part of western civilisation’s oldest continuous institution. It has a campus in Rome, for God’s sake. It is not frightened of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Raphael, Shakespeare, Tolstoy or Hunter S. Thompson. Obviously, it would be open to a great books course founded in western culture, provided the particular course went through the usual processes of academic assurance and approval.”

Deakin’s den Hollander leads BHERT award winners

Jane den Hollander has won the Business Higher Education Round Table’s peak award for individual leadership in university-business collaboration. “Professor den Hollander’s leadership has enabled Geelong to both respond to the challenges and embrace the opportunities associated with a new wave of innovation, advanced manufacturing and the digital economy,” BHERT states.

Other award winners are:

Research and Development, industry collaboration: Monash U, UoQ, Soochow U, South Dakota State U plus 17 industry and government partners for the Monash Programme of food and dairy research.

Research and Development, technology: Uni Newcastle, Viralytics, MSD Australia, Merck, Hunter Medical Research Institute, for Viralytics, immunotherapy cancer treatment.

Non-economic national benefit: Curtin U and 16 private, public and community sector partners, for Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance

Higher education and training: University of Queensland and Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, for Indigenous Health Education and Workforce Development project

Community Engagement: Uni Newcastle, with 27 other universities and nine public and private partners for the Science and Engineering Challenge

Appointments, achievements

Sebastion Marx from the University of Queensland is the incoming chair of the Queensland chapter of the National Association of Prospective Student Advisers.

Amanda Barnard is appointed interim head of the new Charles Sturt U-Western Sydney U joint programme in medicine. She joins from ANU and a GP practice in regional NSW.

The panel to review the Australian Qualifications Framework is now complete, with Marie Persson, (NSW Skills Board), Allan Blagaich WA DET and Leslie Loble, NSW Department of Education appointed. They join previously announced chair, Peter Noonan (Victoria U), Megan Lilly (AI Group), Sally Kift (JCU adjunct professor) and Elizabeth More (Australian Institute of Management).

Flinders U chemistry PhD student Samantha Pandelus has won the American Chemical Society’s Coryell Award for original research by an undergraduate nuclear and related chemistry. Ms Pandelus is honoured for quantifying radionuclides, used in nuclear medicine procedures, in South Australia’s wastewater system.

Cyber security researcher Debi Ashenden will join Deakin U in the new year. Professor Ashenden will continue to hold a position at the University of Portsmouth.

The Australian Research Council has  announced (very quietly) the 2019 College of Experts.