The UNSW union says 236 positions are “disestablished”


ANU names top teachers


plus Swinburne roars with the tigers while Edith Cowan soars with the eagles


and in the week of the sexual assault report TEQSA sets out new requirements on campus safety

A tale of two open days

Free iced tea!” University of Queensland OD yesterday. “It feels cold enough for snow,” Monash U OD also yesterday, plus “it’s actually always 9° at the Clayton campus, so bring an umbrella and a ski jacket. Even in February,” via Twitter.

Top teachers

ANU names its first six distinguished educators

VC Brian Schmidt announced the programme as part of his overall plan back in February, promising (CMM April 3) up to 15 people will be members of the university’s Institute of Innovation in Higher Education. The institute is to be a “high-profile, highly visibility platform for HE idea generation, discussion and mentoring.” The DEs will serve five years and be paid an extra $10k a year.

The first six are; Professor Paul Francis (College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences), Michael Platow (College of Medicine, Biology and Environment), Carol Hayes (College of Asia and the Pacific), Catherine Frieman (College of Arts and Social Sciences) Asmi Wood (College of Law) and John Minns (CASS).

Made in the shade

Research shows we make dumb financial decisions when the sun shines

The sunnier the surrounds the worse decisions we make and the more inconsistent they are, according to new PLOS ONE research by the University of Sydney’s Agnieszka Tymula and Paul Glimcher of New York U.

The pair correlated museum visitor decisions on hypothetical financial choices with weather reports of luminance, “the amount of light that falls on the earth’s surface.” They found that people were more inconsistent, made worse decisions but also avoided known risks on days with high luminance levels. ““Overall, the effects are not of an enormous magnitude, but nevertheless they are consistent, significant, and strong enough to be expected to have significant effects on financial markets,” Associate Professor Tymula says. CMM suspects a market index fund tied to sunshine will be announced by lunchtime, 3 pm if it’s cloudy.

Homeric struggle

The National Tertiary Education Union has convened a day of protest tomorrow at campuses across the country. The government’s proposed funding cuts plus local issues are on all agendas. CMM’s Homer award for commitment to the cause goes to the University of Adelaide branch which promises a photo petition and “free donuts.”

Employment up but jobs gone at UNSW

The campus union says 236 people have had their jobs abolished

The UNSW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union will protest job losses at a mass meeting tomorrow. But the mass that meets will be smaller than it could have been at the beginning of the year, what with the union saying 236 jobs have been “disestablished” in finance, external relations functions and at the Australian Graduate School of Management. UNSW watchers add the job cuts in marketing and student recruitment announced last week are “really savage.”

CMM asked UNSW management if the 236 jobs gone figure is correct and was told; “UNSW has an ambitious strategy to 2025 which will create 8% more jobs at the university. Indeed, since we began implementing the strategy professional staff numbers have grown by over 4%. However, to achieve our strategic goals, UNSW needs to change and future-proof the way it deploys its professional services.” People whose roles are disestablished get first go at applying for “the many new roles that have been created,” the university adds,

There was no mention whether the 236 jobs gone is correct.

Bartel to Deakin

Admin chief for new institute appointed

Rebecca Bartel has joined Deakin University as executive lead of the new Institute for Healthcare Transformation. She joins from the Australian Centre for Health Research. While Ms Bartel will manage administration recruitment for an academic director is underway.

No free kicks …

Universities may be under-funded but they still afford to sponsor big-league football

Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie is intrigued by universities saying they are under-funded, while sponsoring football teams (CMM July 26), which must have made last week especially intriguing. On Thursday, Swinburne University hosted a celebration of its stronger ties with Richmond FC, including renaming Punt Road Oval, the Swinburne Centre.

On Friday, Edith Cowan University got into the game with the West Coast Eagles, announcing a ten-year sponsorship. The university will have naming rights to the media centre at the club’s unconstructed new headquarters and as many as one ECU media student will work on content for the club each year. The university declined to state the cost of the sponsorship, sorry senator.

Who knew?

Just in from CMM’s You-don’t-say! desk is news from elite French business school INSEAD that a researcher has found, “exuding self-confidence is not equally rewarded for men and women in the workplace.”

TEQSA acts on campus safety

The higher education regulator specifies what universities should do to ensure student safety

Just days after the Human Rights Commission Report on sexual assault and harassment at universities the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency has issued a draft guidance note on student wellbeing and safety.

And the agency makes it plain that it is not mucking about.

TEQSA will expect to see evidence (e.g. policies, procedures, checklists, rehearsals, accountabilities) of how a provider intends to respond to a range of foreseeable events either on or off-campus. These might include: violent behaviour, assaults, bomb scares, serious accidents, explosions, fire, sexual assault and sexual harassment, deaths, or, incidents that reflect a provider’s particular mission e.g. radiation leak.”

TEQSA also wants to see plans in place. “Where incidents do in fact occur on campus, off campus or online, TEQSA will expect a provider to implement an appropriate and effective response, including where necessary taking disciplinary action against proven perpetrators and making any adjustments to its policy framework and practices to reduce the risk of recurrence and enhance safety and security.”

Given the impact of the HRC report, TEQSA could do little else and will undoubtedly act against any institution it finds wanting. Higher education providers have three months to comment on the draft.

What QUT wants

While QUT’s enterprise bargaining objectives look innocuous enough they will cause conniptions among campus comrades

The university says “greater flexibility in some of our terms and conditions of employment will enable us to adapt as quickly as possible to environmental factors that will continue to reshape the landscape in which we operate.” For professional staff, management wants; to talk about the span of hours the university, “strengthen and clarify provisions in the clause governing unsatisfactory performance” and generally make agreements easier to interpret and understand.

The proposed negotiating context for academics is much the same although staff now dealing with new performance management procedures in science and engineering ( CMM July 31 ) may wonder what the call to clarify the workload allocation clause will mean.

While it all sounds easily sorted the university’s call to keep it simple is straight out of the university’s industrial association playbook, which calls for far less detailed employment terms and conditions. The National Tertiary Education Union hates this, relying on detailed agreements to protect members in industrial disputes.

The degree dividend

What graduates of demand driven funding earn will be the test

A learned reader who “works on the student side” of higher education suggests future editions of the HILDA survey of graduate salaries (CMM Thursday) will see wages drop as graduates of the demand driven system start work.

“What we actually need to compare is the effect of a university education on someone with say an ATAR of 50 or 60, one of the student groups that has become increasingly common at universities. Some of these may do worse financially than if they had done a tech course,” the LR remarks.

“As a guess the benefit, on average, of a university degree increases with increasing school performance. Those with 99 plus ATAR who have top level medicine, law or actuarial careers would be unlikely to ever command their incomes without a degree. Those with a 40 ATAR are unlikely to change their financial status much through a degree.”

US to legislate OA

The US Congress is moving towards making $60bn worth of publicly funded unclassified research freely available to all

Bills with bi-partisan sponsors that mandate open access are now before the US House of Representatives and Senate. As reported by the SPARC open access lobby, the significant difference between the two is that the House bill proposes a six month from publication access embargo and the Senate 12. The Obama administration issued an OA directive, but as SPARC points out these are easy to undo, unlike legislation.