What were the odds

In CMM’s Twitter feed yesterday there was news from ANU of a new study reporting $1.4m Australians are “experiencing gambling harm and suffering life and health hardships for much longer than previously known.” And, yes it was followed a couple of tweets down by an advert for “bet365Aus”.  Both racing coincidences on Melbourne Cup eve.

ARC announces delay in opening grant applications

Last week Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a new “national interest test” for Australian Research Council grants. Yesterday the ARC reported, it is “anticipating a delay to the opening dates” for 2020 Discovery Projects and Discovery Indigenous.   That was all the ARC announced– but observers of the research funding process speculate the minister’s new requirement is the cause.

Mr Tehan has told the ARC to advise him on updating research priorities, do this “in collaboration with a small panel” of as yet unannounced “experts,” and “examine whether the financial structure of the ARC grants fit the national priorities.”

University of Sydney says “westward ho!”, again

The University of Sydney says it has a “once-in-a-century opportunity to build a multidisciplinary education and research campus in the heart of Western Sydney,” and a triennial chance to announce it.

Yesterday’s statement is like one from, 2016, when the university stated it intended to create facilities for 6000 students at its Westmead site, (CMM April 1 2016. The university now has 2200 students there.

Back then the focus was on health and medicine but the updated proposal extends to AI, advanced manufacturing, and “solving radical inequality for the future”.

The university says the proposal is subject to negotiations with the state government but is supported by regional lobbies, UNSW, CSIRO and Western Sydney U, which has a major investment in neighbouring Parramatta. There is no truth to suggestions that WSU wanted to create a campus near the University of Sydney’s main location, but decided the price of a terrace house in Newtown was too high.

Over but not out

First score of the week on North Terrace is by the University of South Australia’s business school, which has won the government/not for profit category in the Australian Customer Service Excellence Awards. The University of Adelaide is bound to have an achievement to announce shortly.

The dust has not entirely settled on the failed merger talks and some still feel that whatever the other can do, they can do better.

Arts of survival at Charles Sturt U

Charles Sturt U management worked hard to make a case for scrapping its arts and liberal studies degrees, but not hard enough to convince themselves.

Back in September CSU announced the degrees, plus staff had to go. Student numbers are dropping, grant success “is relatively low” and, “with a lack of regional or work integrated focus the BA does not target the ‘Fit me for a job’ segment.”  Nor could the university compete with other universities on subject range, a comprehensive report stated.

But all the evidence wasn’t enough with CSU confirming yesterday the degrees would stay.

CSU says that following consultation and feedback on the proposal, the university has withdrawn the change proposal.”  The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union says “a sustained campaign” by members did it.

Registrar position abolished at UniSydney

The University of Sydney has abolished the registrar position, now vacant since Tyrone Carlin stepped down at the end of last year. Professor Carlin was appointed to the post in April 2014 and returned to being a professor, of financial reporting regulation at the end of last year. He starts next week as DVC A at Southern Cross University.

Breaking up the registrar portfolio was long expected at UniSydney. The university now proposes changes including, moving admissions to Vice Principal Tania Rhodes Taylor. A new executive director position, student recruitment and admissions will be recruited. The university will also establish a PVC student life, reporting to DVC E Philippa Patterson.


How Australian universities could set up in Indonesia

Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has suggested how Australian universities could set up there. Speaking yesterday at ANU she said that it was legally difficult for HE foreign providers to establish in Indonesia but they could be based in the education equivalent of foreign-investment zones.

In a wide-ranging speech, the minister addressed Indonesia’s economic need for a much larger educated workforce and spoke on the competitive benefits of foreign competition, including in education.

But even if the much-anticipated free trade deal is done and it includes access for Australian institutions in Indonesia, there would still be a great deal to do for both nations to benefit. The Group of Eight sets out core requirements, including;

 * comprehensive accreditation framework including on-line courses

* provisions for both countries to establish campuses in the other

* addressing visa processes and conditions to encourage Indonesians to study in Australia, (CMM September 3 2018).

Gratefully received

The Wolfson Foundation has donated £10m stg to the British Academy. The purpose is to “nurture the next generation of research leaders in the humanities and social sciences (and) give early career researchers the freedom to focus on outstanding research and to ensure it reaches a global audience.” If the Foundation has more loose change perhaps they could give the Australian Academy of the Humanities a call.

Equipped to inspire

Craig Robertson wants less regulation and more inspiration in VET ed.

“As skills service organisations, industry reference committees, trainers and auditors go about their jobs this week, I wonder if the notion of personal achievement and helping students find their sense of purpose ranks in their thinking. We as educators hold the key. Skilled and trusted educators are the only ones who can bring life to qualifications. … Training directed to the needs of our economy remains a central tenet of our sector, but without the cadre of teachers on-side, more specification, compliance and auditing will be for little,” the head of TAFE Directors Australia says.

Good-o but is the VET system equipped to inspire? Erica Smith (Federation U) and colleagues argue VET teachers need a degree in teaching, VET (CMM June 21 2018). But the vast majority don’t, holding a Certificate IV in teaching, which the Productivity Commission suggested in 2011 is all they need.

This is where things will stay, unless governments make degrees mandatory for TAFE teaching. Don’t hold your breath.

Award of the day

Judy Raper (UniWollongong DVC R) has won UNSW’s Ada Lovelace medal for an outstanding woman engineer.