Just in at the “you don’t say!” desk

Uni SA researchers examined “fitspiration influencers” on Instagram to find two-thirds published “dubious fitness information” with a quarter “presenting hyper-sexualised content, objectification, or nudity.”


There’s more in the Mail

In Expert opinion Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) on AI in teaching. “ChatGPT is like a textbook on steroids.” HERE

In Features Uni Wollongong created an Integrity Division. Sean Brawley, Richard Cook and Trish Mundy  explain why, HERE

plus Alex Barthel (Association for Academic Language and Learning) on the unmet demand from students who need academic language support. In Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching, HERE

Creatives’ case-making for rating research

The Sheil Review recommends leaving assessing excellence to the ARC, with no “light-touch” metric. The creative arts research lobby has ideas

Tully Barnett (Flinders U), Craig Batty (Uni SA) and Grayson Cooke (Sothern Cross U), for the Deans and Directors of Creative Arts and the Australian Consortium of Humanities Researchers and Centres  have ideas for their disciplines.

work is hard to review: “there is no direct correlation between the paths that conventional scholarly publications take to come into the world, and the pathways for creative research works. Artists in universities are often engaged in work that is not well understood either by the university or by the broader arts community, making navigating these markers of excellence complicated.”

and competitive quality is counter-productive: “quality exercises, as much as they are collaboratively designed to assess disciplines or cohorts rather than individuals, tend to highlight the success of individuals, reward some institutions, and direct resources in hierarchical and unfair ways.”

but not all metrics are equally inappropriate: “citations are simply one amongst many possible data points and should not be prioritised above other forms of engagement. … Big-data scraping and profiling techniques common in the commercial world can be more useful in gauging the impact of creative research”

what’s needed is transparency: “a rising tide raises all ships; transparent research reporting holds the potential for institutions and researchers to demonstrate best practice and learn from each other in resistance to entrenched stratification.”

and the right peer-review: “we aspire to a system of peer-reviewing research for excellence and quality that understands the value of creative practice and the important role of creative practitioners in the university environment.”

If the government agrees to empower the ARC to decide what research rates this will be the first of a great many competitive case-makings, as discipline groups call for assessments that suit their unique circumstances

International student numbers up

There was just shy of 560 000 in-country as of February

That’s a thumping 26 per cent increase on 2022.

Students from China were down 4 per cent, although it is still the largest source market. Growth was driven by India (up 27 per cent) and Nepal (30 per cent higher to 52 000).

This might be as high as Nepal goes – its government is now only approving higher education students leaving to study abroad.

HE commencements from India doubled, to 24 000 – question will be, how many of them stay in higher education. As  Mahsood Shah and James Collins warned in CMM last month, there’s a problem with Indian students getting visas on the basis of university enrolment and then switching to low cost VET.


To the barricades (briefly but often) at Uni Newcastle

The local NTEU announces time-specific industrial action

National Tertiary Education Union members will stop work for ten minute every hour throughout May, “or until university management makes sufficient progress in enterprise bargaining.”

The union nominates, “secure jobs, safe workloads and fair pay” as big issues and says the ten minute timing is to “minimise disruption for students.”

Branch president Terence Summers adds management is “refusing to budge” and “people are fed up.”

Negotiations certainly have taken a while – starting in mid-September 2021. University management tried to move things along in December – putting an offer to all staff, which the NTEU opposed.

The no vote was a thumping 75 per cent of the turnout.

The principal problem for unis

Yesterday’s CPI increase means a 7 per cent interest rate on study loans. It was met with deplorathons from student reps and friends about the added burden

But Universities Australia was out, again (CMM March 20), explaining how HECs works, that struggling students only pay it once they are working and earning. Good-o, although as Mark Warbuton warns, recent graduates “are spending a significant part of their working lives repaying those debts (CMM March 6).

This is not a message UA, or members, will want widely heard, lest how long it takes to pay off study debt leads to questions as to whether degrees are over-priced, let alone good returns on investment.

How HE reform can help vets to be

The Australian Veterinary Association reports it told a meeting with the O’Kane Accord that “increased government support’ is critical to achieve “a more diverse and sustainable workforce that meets the growing need for veterinary services”

But how?

The AVA’s submission to Greens senator, Mehreen Faruqi’s bill to raise the income threshold for student debt repayments and end CPI indexation might indicate the sort of approach the association has in mind.

The vets asked for a study debt, “forgiveness scheme” for 80 new graduates a year, who work in regional/remote Australia (CMM March 15).

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 HERE.


Karen Harper joins Charles Sturt U’s Future Farming Institute. She moves from Central Queensland U.

Kathy Jarrett is Uni SA’s inaugural industry fellow, “a new research position created by the university to help SA’s regional cities thrive.” Ms Jarrett works for Whyalla council and will spend a day a week researching.