Well, that’s a relief

“Humanness is the key to a bright future,” Monash U promotes a bized video on industrial revolution 4.0

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this week Matt Brett from Deakin U  onreimagining higher education with transparency in policy, planning, actions and evaluation.” It’s another in commissioning editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

And on the morning the NSW Department of Education cancels Confucius classrooms, Jeffrey Gil (Flinders U)  explains the present controversy and possible future for CIs.

UniMelb’s long-term investment in Indonesia

The university will create opportunities and wait  

The university offers no specifics on expanding student numbers, either in Australia, or Indonesia, signalling instead a long-play, creating contacts, extending engagement over time.

While the plan proposes more two-way undergraduate study most of the measure are about research and policy exchanges, for “capacity building and research collaboration.”

UniMelb plans include;

* professional education courses in Indonesia

* “a flagship” post-doctoral programme

* a graduate-school offering joint degrees

As with the new India plan (CMM Tuesday), a China-replacing student-recruitment strategy it is not.

Understandably so. There is not an enormous supply of students who can afford the price of Parkville. Foreign universities cannot set up in Indonesia and repatriate profits, plus VET may be where the action is – the national target is 57m more skilled workers by 2030.

But when, or if, the higher education market opens-up UniMelb wants to have its reputation and track-record, knowledge and networks in place.

MOOC of the morning

A learned reader irritated with CMM banging-on about government ignoring the community service and policy change potential of MOOCs points to one already underway

The Nossal Institute for Global Heath at Uni Melbourne has created a  MOOC (via Future Learn) on “health system strengthening” – originally for UNICEF and now open access.

“You will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to develop HSS interventions across areas such as health policy, health financing, human resources, supply chain management, quality of care and private sector engagement,” F L pitches. More please.

Connecting on campus (why students want more)

Even students who feel they belong want more of it  

New research from study support provider (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity finds most students feel they belong on campus.

The sense of engagement is especially strong among internationals – some 88 per cent of internationals feel they belong, compared to 78 per cent of Australian residents.

However, 58 per cent of the total sample, “crave closer ties.”

And people are polarised when it comes to a sense of connecting, with even numbers of enthused and alienated. Some 20 per cent of students surveyed reported they “wholeheartedly” feel they belong, with 21 per cent reporting no sense of community.  More men feel close connections (29 per cent) than women (18 per cent.)

Some 69 per cent of participants also report their sense of belonging effects their study experience and overall wellbeing – “powerful evidence that improving the sense of community is crucial, not only to individual academic success, mental health, and general wellbeing, but also for the higher education sector,” CEO founder Jack Goodman says.

Urban achievement

Three unis are represented on the urban design award shortlist

Built projects – local and neighbourhood scale:  Curtin University’s Creative Quarter and Cycle Hub

Leadership, advocacy and research: University of the Sunshine Coast. Monash U’s Maud Cassaignau and Markus Jung for a research project described in Building Mixity, a book, with Matthew Xue, on urban transformation.

The big picture and why it needs history

Computer vision is not great at context – historians are

ANU historian Marnie Hughes Warrington considers what networked cameras see and what they miss in her new essay on computer vision and how to correct for the misunderstanding images establish. It is a  new note for what will surely be a vast study of the uncharted ground where historical method and AI intersect.

She starts with vision of a regency gent, frock-coated, stocked and straw top hatted, who is not what he appears. We know that – photographs of Beau Brummell are light-on but computer-vision just presents what it is there

This matters, because image only makes meaning in context, and vision does not explain what it shows. “Saying that computer vision is bad history decision making does not will it away. If anything, we have an ethical imperative to improve it because humans make bad historical decisions too, and because computer vision initiatives can get stuck in human support limbo,” MHW argues. And the more images collected over more time the harder it becomes to work out what is recorded really reveals.

So how to improve the way data-sets of images are assembled? She’s glad you asked that. “Historians don’t work with simple sequences of yes or no decisions, and they write with hard questions about information imbalance and fairness in mind. The way they work is ‘pre-industrial’, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. They turn out different decisions when working with the same materials, and that variety can be important for helping computer scientists to think of more, and better ways of building decision networks.”

Training on track for rail

The Melbourne-Brisbane railway builder wants to know there will be skilled staff where it might need them

The Australian Rail Track Corporation announces the Inland Rail Skills Academy.  There are 20 scholarships for students commencing next year and 2021 at La Trobe, Charles Sturt and Southern Queensland universities, all of which have campuses adjacent to the route. While the scholarships have no employment connection to the project, the corporation describes one of the academy’s aims being to “increase the number of skilled local people eligible for employment on inland rail and associated regional industries.”

Good community relations for sure, unless the corporation worries that a lack of skilled locals will bring it bad PR when it rails-in, or worse flies-in from overseas, the skilled staff needed to build and maintain the line.

If so, this might be like the Naval Shipbuilding College, which is signing agreements with VET and universities to train the skilled workers to build the 12 submarines, nine frigates, plus patrol boats the RAN plans.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Anton Middleburg in the University of Adelaide’s DVC R. He steps up from leading the university’s engineering, computing and maths science faculty. Prior to Uni Adelaide he was PVC research and international at Uni Queensland.

Harry van Issum (Griffith U) receives the first John Mulvaney Fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. The fellowship funds work by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander early career researcher. Dr van Issum will travel to the United Kingdom to assist in the repatriation of skeletal remain of Woppaburra people now in London’s Natural History Museum.

Melissa Little from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne joins the board of Research Australia.


Of the week

 Ian Chubb is appointed chairman elect of “national peak pain organisation,” Pain Australia. Professor Chubb is a former Australian chief scientist and VC of ANU and Flinders U.

Griffith U’s Debbie Bargallie wins the Stanner Award for an analysis of racism in the Australian Public Service. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies issue the biennial award for best manuscript by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander scholar.

Felix Pirie joins the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia as policy and research director. He moves from director of education and equity at the Group of Eight.

Angus Buchanan (Curtin U) is president elect of the precisely titled International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. The association’s annual conference also recognised Christine Bigby (La Trobe U) with its Distinguished Achievement Award and elected Rhonda Faragher (Uni Queensland) a fellow.

Andrew Bowskill joins MTP Connect as director, Queensland stakeholder engagement. MTP Connect is the federal government’s Industry Growth Centre for med tech and pharma.

Joanna Gambetta (Charles Sturt U) and Mango Parker (Australian Wine Research Institute) are short-listed for the innovator-researcher category of the Australian Women in Wine awards.

Byron Barnes joins the University of Notre Dame Australia as director advancement for the Sydney campus. He moves down Broadway from UTS.

Uni Newcastle’s Cagri Emer and Graeme Jameson have won the Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution’s 2019 Technical Medal, (its about reducing solids, generally in mining). It’s yet another gong for the much-honoured Professor Jameson. He was NSW scientist of the year in 2013, was admitted to the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame in 2014, won the prime minister’s prize for science innovation in 2015, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Mineral Processing Congress in 2016 and they are just the ones CMM has reported.

Amanda Heffernan from Monash U wins the educational writing award from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.

Ian Thomson is the new head of the UTS Animal Logic Academy, “a world-leading animation and visualisation school” teaching a “one-year postgraduate degree. Mr Thomson is the previous head of the advertising and digital media faculty at private provider Macleay College.

Ashkay Venkatesh received an hon doc from UWA yesterday. Professor Venkatesh (Princeton U) graduated with a UWA science honours degree in 1998, aged 16. He won the Fields Medal last year.