Kent Anderson is leaving the min wing

Professor Anderson is moving from a senior advisor in the office of education minister Alan Tudge to the University of Newcastle, where he will be DVC Global

Maybe he wants a more exciting life than advising a minister in a low priority portfolio (unless there are surprises in the budget tonight).

He was last at Uni Newcastle in 2019, when he spent five months acting in the DVC A portfolio.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning 

Ian Marshman and Frank Larkins on how Victorian universities have managed pandemic finances – largely by cutting casual and fixed-term staff.

Plus Chris Walsh and Michael Ratcliff (Victoria U Online) set-out out the four fundamentals that “make or break” the on-line experience for higher education students. They are this week’s authors in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Professor Walsh is also speaking at the Needed Now … conference (Wednesday May 26, 2.30 AEST). Details here.

AndMerlin Crossley (UNSW)  likes podcasts that roll out weekly and create a sense of community  – maybe they could work for lectures.

Curtin commits to continuing lectures

New VC Harlene Hayne is reported in the West Australian newspaper that face to face lectures “will not be abandoned” but there will more blended learning

So, is this a change on last year, before Professor Hayne took over, when a university strategy included no more lectures by end 2021?  The plan then was for students to spend 70 per cent of a unit in, “class time, specialised labs, specialised teaching spaces” and there would be three ten-15 minute “Curtin talks” on a “single topic or concept” per week. (CMM November 30).

But now, “Curtin is looking at how we can deliver course content in the most engaging, interesting and flexible way so that our students can enjoy more interactive, high-value learning experiences when they are on campus. They can collaborate; debate; explore; and engage with the material – through face to face tutorials, laboratories, seminars and other small group learning opportunities,” the university stated yesterday.

Good-o, but what about live-lectures?

“How our lecture content will be delivered, along with many other aspects of our learning and teaching are up for discussion and still in the consultation phase. So, delivery of that content is not settled (via lectures, small group classes, or anything else). What we can say is that, whatever happens, the actual time spent in face-to-face teaching and learning will not be reduced.”

Ad without a course

Optimistic advertising

Deakin U has new recruitment creative

The 90 second B&W spot features Aurora Liddle-Christie reciting a poem by Berton Braley called “Opportunity”. (“For the best jobs haven’t been started, the best work hasn’t been done”)

And very well done it is too – encouraging young people that (despite all pandemic appearances to the contrary) their best is yet come.

Very civic-minded of Deakin U to assure young people, without spruiking its own courses.

More work for international students: easy to announce, hard to administer


International education leaders met with the immigration minister yesterday, they had a bunch to discuss

The meeting was quickly convened following the weekend announcement that international students will be allowed to work more hours in hospitality and tourism and that the two sectors will be added to the industries on the COVID-19 408 visa for those unable to go home.

This was well-received indeed by employers in those industries who complain of staff shortages but left education providers wondering how it will work (CMM yesterday).

As Phil Honeywood from the International Education Association of Australia puts it, “after meeting yesterday with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke the combined peak body CEO’s have undertaken to come back to him within 48 hours with a set of proposed implementation considerations.”

CMM’s guess on what will be talked about now is,

*  Genuine Temporary Entrant status – GTE has been the underlying measure imposed by Home affairs for years now. It ensures education institutions that bring in international students are “fishing in the right pools” with non-genuine students and actions not deemed appropriate by Home affairs counted as black marks against providers. What does the increase in hours mean for the GTE process and who assumes the trailing the risk of these students’ immigration status?

* Health insurance – international students are covered by Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the length of their student visa and associated stay in Australia. Moving to a 408 visa would make OSHC technically moot. DEFINE 408. What will the government do to ensure this cohort is covered and not a burden to the taxpayer?

* Validating work intent – while “intent” needs to be shown, will this be a letter from an employer? This is part of a bigger issue –  has the government thought through mechanism to prevent or minimise fraud in these areas.

* Academic progress – with students now essentially encouraged to exit the education system with a potential return down the road how will academic progress be monitored?

* 90-day rule – there is still major ambiguity around what being in the last 90 days prior to their visa expiring means. In a simple case where a student is coming to the end of their bachelor degree it is a no-brainer, but would it be possible for students to change to a shorter course and then claim the 90 days?

And then there is the question that can only be pondered – why is tourism and hospitality alone favoured with a bigger pool of enthusiastic casual workers. With construction booming would not builders welcome international engineering students keen for more work?

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent


ANU Press a success, (in any ancient language)

The press reports 5.1m downloads last year across its OA catalogue of 950 titles

That’s way more than the 2.3m copies downloaded for free from the press in 2017 (CMM December 12 2017).

And that’s before the releases of McComas Taylor’s “faithful yet fluent blank-verse rendering,” of The Visnu Purāna which the press assures is “coming soon.

And about time too, it is seven years since the press published Aspro Taylor (ANU) and Grazia Scotellaro’a (also ANU) introductory, The Joy of Sanskrit, (CMM February 27 2014).

Want to know how OA publishing is the future for the scholarly monograph, look at ANU P.

Better deals for people who really need them  

Casual staff (at least those that are left) could be helped in new enterprise agreements

The new round of enterprise bargaining is off to a slowish start, with nothing happening in WA, where agreements expire first. But when the pace does pick up pay not be the biggest issue. 10 per cent rises across the life of an agreement is expected to be union starting demands lodged on the general principal that there is no harm in asking.

As it was last year, job security will likely be big on the agenda – but this year people in in the precariat will feature.

There is a vocal campaign by casual academics about their insecure employment but what has really attracted off-campus attention are substantiated claims of casual staff, both academic and professionals, being paid less than the agreed rates for jobs.

This is a terrible look for university managements and accounting exercises to identify who is owed pay and then sent cheques is necessary and underway at unis across the country, most recently announced at Uni Sydney.

A better way to prevent this happening is provide casuals with fixed term-contracts that provide continuity of employment, albeit for not many years, plus benefits, instead of leaving people employed by semester, with no confidence of what happens next or that they will be paid the right rate per hour,

ANU and Monash U are both looking at this and there is word other university managements are contemplating including more fixed term contracts in bargaining negotiations.

Universities may not have much choice to doing something about this. Changes to the Fair Work Act should make it easier for casuals, employed on the same tasks for regular hours over six months to apply to become full-time.

Appointments and achievements

There is a galaxy of short-listed talent in the numerous categories of the Australian Space Awards. Finalists for researcher of the year are; * James Allworth (Electro Optic Systems) * Malcolm Davis (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) * David Flannery (QUT) * Alice Gorman (Flinders U) * Jun Jo, (Griffith U) * Saeid Nahavandi (Deakin U) *  Patrick Neumann (Neumann Space) * Danail Obreschkow and Sascha Schediwy (both UWA) and * Duncan Wright (USQ).

Monica Davis becomes CEO of the Country Universities Centre. It’s an internal appointment.

At QUT, Paige Maguire take on the new role of Director of Alumni, Venue and Events. She moves from Director, Graduate Research.