Banking on ScoMo

James Cook U thanked Scott Morrison for advising “the cheque is in the mail” for the university’s $10m Cairns Innovation Centre (via Twitter, yesterday). It must be coming by snail-mail, the university announced the funding in June.

Unis line up with Labor on student access

Even before Labor education shadow Tanya Plibersek announced Labor’s $174m community funding to lift university participation (CMM yesterday) this morning the Regional Universities Network was applauding. RUN chair and University of the Sunshine Coast VC Greg Hill said, “university attainment rates in regional Australia are half, or less than half, those in major cities, and students need further support to aspire to, and complete, university study.”

The Group of Eight was right behind, praising Ms Plibersek’s proposal and stating its credentials. “Go8 universities spend a far greater proportion of their higher education participation partnerships programme  funding (targeted at equity and access) on outreach to regional and remote schools and communities than any other university grouping and we educate one in 8 rural and regional students. However, more must be done to boost participation,” CEO Vicki Thomson said.

The Innovative Research Universities also asserted its achievements; “IRU members have been critical in raising enrolments from low SES communities” before welcoming Labor’s plan; ““the extra money announced today will allow Labor, if in government, to tie support funding to the number of students needing it so it grows in line with enrolments. That would give universities an added incentive to attract students from low SES backgrounds,” Executive Director Conor King said.

Assuming of course, that it is indeed “extra money” and will not be funded by rebadging HEPPP.

It seems it won’t be.  Universities Australia had the same thought and must have asked somebody who knows, advising yesterday, it “understands this pledged funding would sit alongside the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.”

““We are pleased to see this funding pledge to sow the seeds of university aspiration in communities that still face some of the biggest education gaps,” UA acting CEO Anne-Marie Lansdown added.

Smug derailed

“We have only got a month left to laugh at UNSW’s dodgy bus system before we get an even worse one,” Memequarie, via Facebook. The rail line serving Macquarie U is about to close for a seven month refurb with a bus replacement.

NSW nearly closes classroom door on on-line teaching grads

The NSW Government appears to have lost interest in demanding teacher education graduates qualify for Nobel prizes before being allowed into its schools. However in the absence of a focus on ATARs minister Rob Stokes has a new bunch of criteria, including, “superior cognitive and emotional intelligence measured via a psychometric assessment.” How this will be measured and who will do the measuring will provide months of entertainment for the teacher education community.

But what some will not enjoy at all is another of Mr Stokes’ new rules. “Recognising that teaching is relational, individuals who complete an entirely on-line undergraduate teaching degree will not be preferenced for employment.”

Admittedly, there is a get-out clause, that there will be exceptions for students in remote areas and those whose personal circumstances “make on-line education the only practical option.” And surely all distance ed students still have to do in-person pracs.

Even so, Mr Stokes sends a signal that on-line teacher-ed is inferior, which may not go down well at two of the biggest NSW providers, Charles Sturt U and UNE. CSU has around 6000 external and multi-mode education students and UNE approximately 5500.

Government guide to discouraging students

The federal government has a “post-school study guide”  on-line, which is written with the verve of a dishwasher maintenance manual.

It is also not especially encouraging for young people wondering what study costs. For example, it states “if you apply at a public university, you might be able to enrol in a Commonwealth supported place.” Ye gods – even with demand driven funding gone, “might” is a bit over-cautious.

The guide also ignores the few students for whom study just got cheaper – warning government loans to attend private higher education providers also incur a loan fee. And so they do, apart from those at private universities. They are no longer slugged with the loan fee following the successful Cory Bernardi amendment to last month’s loan repayment legislation (CMM August 16).

Deakin U’s new unremarkable recruitment campaign

Deakin U has a new student recruitment campaign, focused on what the university can do for students. “At Deakin, you get more than theory, you get hands-on, practical experience. Bring it together and take your next step with confidence. Be ready.”

The 15 second spot comes in  five versions for students keen on different careers.

Makes a change from university advertising which bangs on about how great a university is and degrees are for people who can “be remarkable,” (Griffith U in CMM yesterday). A university that helps students be ready, even if they aren’t remarkable – now there’s an idea.

Euro open access extended

Publications based on scientific research funded by eleven European nations will be open access as of January 2020. The cOAlition S announced the new policy yesterday, which includes a common cap on OA publishing fees. The new open access coalition also rules-out hybrid OA (where subscription journals do not charge to read some content).

This is another blow to the for-profit publishers in their European markets. Universities in Germany and Sweden are no longer subscribing to Elsevier journals after price negotiations failed.

Appointments, achievements

Flinders University has appointed Alistair Rendell VP and executive dean of the College of Science and Engineering. He joins from ANU where he is director of the Research School of Computer Science. He moves to Flinders U in January.

Saveria Dimasi will join Macquarie University as VP services and strategy. She moves from the University of Queensland, where she is deputy COO. She starts at Macquarie U on December 10.

UniSydney’s Thomas Maschmeyer has won the R K Murphy Medal from the industrial chemistry division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.  Last week he won the 2018 Eureka Award for science leadership.

University of South Australia emeritus professor Lloyd Sansom has received the International Pharmaceutical Association’s highest honour, the Andre Bedat Award.