There’s more in the Mail

A new CMM series starts this week, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows writing on what is needed now in teaching and learning. First up, Angela Brew(Macquarie U) on preparing students for professional life.

The right environment to talk science

The peak body for environmental science academics calls on the next government to talk to its members

Australian universities really rate for environmental research, yet “as a country we are still faced with significant environmental challenges and difficult policy decisions,” says Dianne Gleeson (Uni Canberra), president of the Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.

Aspro Gleeson says the council wants “to start a dialogue with government” after the election, “to share our scientific knowledge.” Ye Gods, Australian universities rate, really rate for environmental research – if governments aren’t talking to scientists until now it’s hard to see why they will start next week.

Cheap seats

Macquarie U’s student-site has a $5 ticket offer for the Greater Western Sydney  v Carlton game on Sunday. Presumably students at club partner Western Sydney U already have season tickets.

Murdoch VC silent on whistleblowing staff

There are calls for Murdoch U to rule out retribution for academics who spoke out on international student entry standards. The VC isn’t talking

The National Tertiary Education Union has asked VC Eeva Leinnonen and chancellor David Flanagan for a “clear and unequivocal written commitment from you, as a matter of urgency, that no action will be taken against employees who provided information (to the Four Corners story on entry standards).”

Last night Professor Leinnonen responded; “you may be aware that there have been calls for the university to comment on our approach to the staff who appeared on the Four Corners programme last week. It is not appropriate for the university to comment publicly on employment matters relating to individual staff members.”

Colourful tweets at UniSA, vivid ideas at UTS

They do things differently in Adelaide and Sydney

Uni SA’s Museum of Discovery launches an exhibition on hedonism, Saturday week.

Sadly, for sybarites, it presents seven experiences to test whether 21st century ideas of happiness are sustainable. One sounds like all sorts of fun – a hedometer, which analyses constantly updating content sampled from five million tweets a day and allocates a colour value, blue for sad, pink for happy and white for so-so.

In contrast, UTS is hosting forums, “where we explore love, memory and sex” at the Vivid Ideas Exchange (Sydney, May 25). Apparently UTSers, will, “discuss the moral contradictions surrounding sexuality and sexual relationships and whether or not we should be saying ‘screw intimacy!’ “.

Court rules against anonymity in La Trobe case

Federal Court judge refuses to suppress names

There is a case in the Federal Court related to a misconduct inquiry at La Trobe U. Two staff who have complained about another to the university have asked for their names to be suppressed in the court case, which Justice Anastassiou has denied, for two reasons.

One is that they were named in an on-line news story, later taken down.

The other relates to the way La Trobe U conducts grievance investigations. In denying their request Justice Anastassiou acknowledged the pair’s desire for privacy. However, he concluded, “the legitimate personal interest of the interveners in maintaining their privacy in connection with the complaints process is not sufficient to conclude that the protection of their interests is necessary to prevent prejudice to the administration of justice.”

And while he acknowledged the university’s grievance process provides confidentiality for complainants, he rejected a submission that the court’s processes “should conform” to the way La Trobe works.

“I accept that the potential for publicity associated with a proceeding issued in connection with the grievance process may have an adverse effect upon the preparedness of complainants to invoke the process. However, in my view, that is not a sufficient reason of itself to warrant a suppression order by this Court in connection with such proceedings,” Justice Anastassiou said.

Griffith U’s relatable role models

Real-world heroes are something to be  

GU’s wants us to know that Kate Miller- Heidke, a graduate of its Queensland Conservatorium of Music, is in the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. The university is also keen to claim as its own students Clare Polkinghorne and Hayley Raso, and alumni Tameka Yallop and Elise Kellond-Knight, who are all in Australia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup squad.

Good lord, a university associating itself with students who do things that actually interest young people – makes a change from  elitist-uni campaigns featuring grads who want to secretary general of the UN before they are 25.

Happy international VETerans

International VET students are generally happy with their training

Some 85 per cent of international students who complete a VET qualification in Australia are happy with course quality, according to a survey from the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

Students at community colleges were most satisfied with their training (96 per cent) and those at TAFE least (85 per cent). Among the 59 per cent of students in work before training, 21 per cent were employed at a higher skill level after training.  TAFE produced the most promotions, 27 per cent of completers there were employed at a higher level, compared to just under 20 per cent for private and community providers.

However, 94 per cent of internationals reported at least one barrier to finding work after completing – nearly half of them nominating not having permanent residency or a work visa.

While not directly comparable, the overall satisfaction rating for international students in VET is 9 per cent higher than that of undergraduates, reported in the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching for 2018.

Appointments, achievements

Mitch Parsell is leaving Macquarie U, where he is associate dean, learning and teaching in the human sciences faculty. In July, he becomes academic executive director at the University of Tasmania.

Caroline Williams starts at the University of Queensland as chief librarian. She moves from the University of Nottingham.

University of Wollongong theatre academic Mark Rogers has won the Sydney Theatre Company’s Patrick White Playwrights Award.