Rocket fuel on ice

Uni Adelaide researchers are working on a spirit made from Queensland grown agave (the basis for tequila)

As well as hard liquor, the project is “a stepping stone to using it as a valuable sustainable and carbon-neutral fuel source.”

There’s more in the Mail

New in Expert Opinion Brigid Freeman (Uni Melbourne) explains the challenges and opportunities for Australian universities and colleges as the Indian Government expands post-school education. HERE

and 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 BrawleyRichard Cook and Trish Mundy  explain why, HERE

with 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

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 and CMM invite you to an in-person event to talk, listen and learn about jobs that work better

Where the jobs aren’t

It took years to convince everybody that international students do not take uni places away from locals. The practice will come in handy

“While international students create more jobs than they take, many of the new jobs created are not in areas that international students typically work (low-skill part-time jobs). This may result in worsening employment outcomes for domestic students while studying and after graduation,” review of the Migration System (yesterday) p 119. Scroll down for more.

Deakin U warns staff: don’t wait for a better offer

The vote on management’s enterprise bargaining proposal closes this afternoon – the university warns it is as good as it will get

In a message to staff this week Chief People Officer Stacey Walton warned that a no vote, “does not mean a better agreement will be reached.”

The National Tertiary Education Union has campaigned hard against the offer, arguing yesterday, “vote no … then Deakin NTEU can get back to bargain for better pay and conditions”.

However Mrs Walton states, “a ‘no’ vote means there will be considerable delay before you have an opportunity to engage with any further agreement. There is also no guarantee that a revised agreement would maintain the significant level of proposed uplifts and increases in the proposed 2023 enterprise agreement,”.

“Vote ‘yes’ now for the proposed 2023 EA to retain your existing terms and conditions as well as securing a range of uplifts and benefits,” she added.

No, the university assures CMM this does not mean existing conditions will only continue if staff vote for the new one – a no vote leaves the 2017 agreement in place.

Sydney steps up for internationals

As Paul Keating famously said, if you don’t live in Sydneyyou are just camping out”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hosted 500 international students on Wednesday night at a town hall welcome, including advice on services and how Sydney works.

Quite right too.

The City, community services and state government’s Study NSW (“an excellent outfit,” CMM September 22 2021) have long assisted internationals who need help working out what’s what.

Especially now, when the Sydney rental market includes  “camping out”

Uni Adelaide professor group says no to merging with Uni SA

They argue things that are not great now would be worse

“Within our university we have witnessed an emphasis on revenue raising and cost cutting, without due regard for the consequences for teaching, research, and institutional culture. We are concerned that the proposed merger is an extension of this approach,” the Uni Adelaide chapter of the Association of Australian University Professors warns in statement opposing the now in-planning merger with Uni SA.

The professors warn:

*  a merger will not deliver research excellence:  at Uni A now, “many academics struggle to have time and resources for research, alongside limited concentrations of well supported research-only teams. We are concerned that this template will be magnified in a merged university”

* as for teaching and learning: “mass education of minimum standards is not in the best interests of our students or our state. The anticipated benefits of a merger seem to rest on this template.”

* which will be bad for reputation: “the massification of universities has seen an increasing separation of the roles of teaching and research, the combination once seen to be a hallmark of respected academics, high quality teaching, and great universities. The merged university would seem to entail more of this.”

* so call it off and invest in: :”the rebuilding of the TAFE system, with pathways to universities, (which) deserves consideration as a better way to meet the variety of needs of the state and our children”

Instant AUKUS

The WA Government announces $2.5m for the state’s four public universities and partners to develop, short courses “to meet the defence industry’s workforce needs.”

”How to service a submarine” can’t be far away

Making the migration most for international students

“selecting those students and graduates with the best chance of making a good transition to our labour market early will be key to the migration system’s success over coming decades. This is something Australia has not done well over recent years”

In a new report for the Commonwealth, Martin Parkinson (Macquarie U chancellor) and colleagues* address the interface between immigration and education – they identify issues and suggest improvements

* increase students’ chances in our labour market: possibilities include, “removing barriers to students building networks and gaining work experience” and increasing the English-language requirement for student/graduate visas

* focus graduate visas on students’ demonstrating, “potential in our labour market” by, study completers moving automatically from student to graduate visas but limiting duration to “how long it takes to identify high potential graduates who will succeed on a permanent labour visa.”

* a more certain direction” to permanent residence pathway, based on “a very narrow set of circumstances,” students’ attributes, performance and study level

* working hours, “it is time for the government to specifically review the student working hours cap”

* education providers acting: “more work needs to be done outside of the migration system to support international students to transition to work and access legal remedies in response to exploitative wages and conditions in the labour market. This could be done through working with education providers to support students.”

* creating a “genuine student test instead of the Genuine Temporary Entrant criterion.

* Martin Parkinson, Joanna Howe, John Azarias, Review of the Migration System final report, HERE

Appointment, achievement

Miriam Moeller (Uni Queensland)  receives the Universitas21 award for international teaching. It was announced last night at the U21 meeting, in Brisbane.

 At Uni Melbourne Cathy Vaughan is the new director of the Nossal Institute for Global Health. It’s an internal Uni Melb appointment