Fruits of research

Harvesting is one thing, peeling another- however you cut it
CQU researchers are trialling what is said to be the world’s first auto-harvester of mangos. Now, if they could just come up with a machine to peel them.

There’s more in the Mail

Angela Brew (Macquarie U) on preparing students for professional life is the first in CMM’s series of Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows writing on what is needed now in teaching and learning. Next week Geoffrey Crisp (University of Canberra) on overhauling assessment.

Cracking the skills code at UWA

The university offers an unaccredited coding course

UWA says there’s demand for coders in Perth, which it wants to meet. The university is offering a coding-course in conjunction with “workforce accelerator” Trilogy, (skills-based training programmes that are driven by employer needs”).

It’s listed as part-time study over six months, but with what looks like a full-time load, ten-12 classroom hours a week, plus 20 hours of prep and assignments. Serious stuff, and a snip at $11 500, plus GST. In rough contrast a coursework IT masters at UWA costs $60 000. Of course, the coder course isn’t accredited but then again people who want that specific skill may not care. The shape of things to come.

Victoria U pitches to its market

The university has a brand-message based on the new way it works

The university’s message, is “the new way to do uni,” (and TAFE). Smart stuff, VU has no hope if it tries to promote itself as an academic alternative to Uni Melbourne or Monash U. But it is in with a big chance of building a rep for relevance if it demonstrates it understands the needs of prospective students who combine work with study and are nervous about what post-school education involves.  The new VU block-teaching model is what substantiates the campaign promise.

Curtin U protects its data

The WA Auditor General isn’t impressed with public sector info security

The eleventh annual review of information security and integrity reports that agencies are not doing enough. Just four have, “consistently demonstrated good practices across all control categories assessed,” one of which is Curtin U. The Auditor General reports the university has scored a pass in all four categories, in the last three reviews.

Escape from the precariat

A Labor promise for permanent employment could impact in unis

In a pitch to the precariat, Labor promises a 24-month cap on short-term employment. After four consecutive six-month contracts employers will be obliged to offer workers a permanent job. This strikes the National Tertiary Education Union as a good idea indeed for the 68 per cent of university workers the union says are either casually employed or on fixed term contracts. ““Universities have been resisting our initiatives through enterprise bargaining to limit the use of insecure employment,” national president Alison Barnes says.

While there are variations across the system theEscape from the precariat’s new enterprise agreement provides a sense of what occurs. Academics on fixed-term contracts can apply for continuing employment after five consecutive years in the same job.

Leiden light shines on enduring stars

The research ranking rankers rate is out, with more data than a Senate preference count

What this is: The Leiden University research rankings are based on statistics on articles in the 80 per cent of publications included in the Web of Science database which are considered “core journals.”

The what and the how: Leiden ranks on a range of variables, including top rated citations in different bands. There are also rankings for publications by author gender and open access. In essence there is more data here to make Antony green. Anomalies there are but at least Leiden does not include asking people for an opinion of research performance.

Trends take time: Given the nature of the data Leiden reflects trends, not one-off events and year on year there is not much movement, with just five Australian universities in the global top 100 this year, same as last, but there s movement. UTS improved its position in maths and IT, up over 50 places since 2017.

And Curtin rises, again: Curtin U continues its rise in the new Leiden data, making the top 200 this year, up from 316 last and 355 in 2017.

In 2013 Curtin U was in the 400-500 bracket of the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Last year it cracked the top 200, ranking ninth in Australia.

Back in 2016 Vice Chancellor Terry explained Curtin’s research development strategy; support early and mid-career researchers to nurture stars, broaden research capacities and encourage knowledge transfer, (CMM August 1 2016). It’s still working.

ANZ universities in this year’s global 963 for all sciences are:

Uni Melbourne 30, Uni Sydney 32, Uni Queensland 36 , USW 55, Monash U 65, UWA 165, Uni Adelaide 173, Uni Auckland 195, ANU 205, Curtin U 284, Uni Otago 295, Griffith U 305,  QUT 331, Deakin U 336, Uni Newcastle 346, Uni Wollongong 361, Macquarie U 404, Uni Tas 455, RMIT 456, UTS 460, Uni SA 494,  Flinders U 519, La Trobe U 562, James Cook U 563, Massey U 599, Western Sydney U 692, Swinburne U 733, Victoria U of Wellington 754, Uni Canterbury 764, Murdoch U 833,  UNE 938.

Last year they were:

Uni Syd 30, Uni Melb 33, Uni Queensland 37, UNSW 58, Monash U 64, UWA 151, Uni Adelaide 169, Uni Auckland 199, ANU 201, Uni Otago 284, Curtin U 316, Griffith U 325, QUT 349, Deakin U 358, Uni Newcastle 361, Uni Wollongong 369, Macquarie U 419, Uni SA 471, Uni Tas 473,  UTS 476, RMIT 480, Flinders U 516, James Cook U 549, La Trobe U 575, Massey U 590, Western Sydney U 609, Uni Canterbury 735, Victoria U of Wellington 736, Swinburne U 739, Murdoch U 876 and UNE 936

Leiden ranking discipline top tens for ANZ

The top ten ANZ institutions by Leiden impact ratings for all publications, with no minimum number (world ranking this yearworld ranking last year and world ranking 2017 ) by discipline group are;

Biomedical sciences
Uni Melbourne (23, 26, 21) UniSyd (25, 24, 24), Uni Queensland (51, 53, 50), Monash U (64, 63, 61), UNSW (86, 87, 87), Uni Adelaide (168, 169170), UWA (174, 166, 178), Uni Auckland (187, 200, 200), Uni Otago (205, 207, 202), Uni Newcastle (261, 278, 281)

Life and earth sciences
Uni Queensland (9, 8, 8), Uni Melb (40, 39, 43), Uni Sydney (52, 55, 47), UWA (58, 60, 59), UNSW (69, 70, 88), Uni Adelaide (77, 74, 83), ANU (80, 84, 80), James Cook U (94, 87, 85), Monash U (108, 113, 111), Uni Tas (124, 127, 133)

Maths and computer sciences
UNSW (43, 52, 65), Uni Sydney (145, 135, 140), Uni Melb (156, 142, 127), UTS (178, 209, 244), ANU (214, 211, 200), Monash U (223, 195, 183), Uni Queensland (229, 203, 211), Uni Auckland (244, 217, 202), Uni Wollongong (266, 242, 322), QUT (290, 298, 312)

Physical sciences and engineering
UNSW (75, 76, 94), Uni of Queensland (114, 115, 108), Monash U (118, 116, 112),  Uni Sydney (175, 163, 148), Uni Melb (227, 218, 208), ANU (229, 200, 185), Uni Wollongong (264, 274, 309), Curtin U (290, 308, 343), RMIT (307, – ,-) U Adelaide (320, 321, 352) (UWA, drops out of the ANZ top ten, down 40 places to 364).

Social sciences and humanities
Uni Queensland (12, 14, 16), Uni Melb (22, 25, 31), Uni Sydney (26, 23, 23), Monash U (34, 36, 38), UNSW (41, 41, 44), Griffith U (55, 60, 65), ANU (59, 54, 60), Uni Auckland (90, 88, 97), Macquarie U (94, 109, 123), Deakin U (95, 113, 125)

Appointments, achievements of the week

Stuart Kells and Ian Gow win the Ashurst Business Book Prize, for their La Trobe U Press host study of global accounting firms, The Big Four. Dr Kells is an adjunct professor at La Trobe U. Professor Gow is at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Corporate Governance and Regulation.

Ranjeny Thomas (University of Queensland) is awarded the Eric Susman Prize (internal medicine) by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Professor Thomas works on immunotherapy of autoimmune diseases.

The Australian Academy of the Humanities has appointed a working group of academy fellows for its arts and culture advocacy group, A New Approach; Malcolm Gillies (now ANU emeritus professor) chairs and members are, Ien Ang (Western Sydney U), Tony Bennett (Western Sydney U), Stuart Cunningham (QUT) and Jennifer Milam (Uni Melbourne).

Neil Quigley has a second term as VC of the University of Waikato.

Catherine Whelan will join University of Notre Dame, Sydney next month as dean of the business school. She comes from Georgia College & State University in the US.

Robert Cunningham is the new dean of law at Curtin U, replacing Paul Fairall. He steps up from deputy head of the law school.

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.