Less low than no rent: Federation University offers international students free accommodation

Open the books: as bargaining begins the union asks Charles Sturt U for full financials

plus: not what the doctor ordered

why the Macquarie U med school makes it harder for the next big proposal

and: worth watching – UniSA experts on where advertising works best


CMM’s confectionery correspondent reports that while unionists at the University of Adelaide are promising donuts at tomorrow’s demo at Swinburne U there will be fairyfloss and at Uni Melbourne, popcorn.

Waiting for a bit of shoosh

The government is not rushing the higher education bill into parliament

The government’s legislation to stop anything like the VET FEE HELP catastrophe ever occurring again is in the Reps tomorrow, the first day of the new session. But there is still no sign of the higher education package. This may be because the government does not think it has the votes in the Senate. Or it may be because Minister Birmingham is waiting for the deploragram from opposition members in their report from the Senate committee inquiring into the higher education bill to pass. Unless of course both government and Opposition want the new VET student loan system passed quickly and quietly, lest anyone ask how the public service under Labor and Coalition governments missed $2bn being wasted.

Forewarned, forearmed

Being enterprise bargaining begins at Charles Sturt U the union is after intel

The National Tertiary Education Union has asked CSU management to supply multiple sets of staff and financial data before negotiations for a new agreement begin. Notable inclusions are enrolments by school, campus and mode, plus budgets and financial projections through to 2020. If the university intends to argue that it cannot afford the union’s proposed pay rise, or to extend 17 per super to casual staff then the NTEU wants to know why before the bargaining starts.

The chances of management handing the info over is probably somewhere between nada and zilch. The same for CSU management having to publicly release the figures if the parties end up in Fair Work Australia. Murdoch U argued long and hard against performance data being public in its fight with the NTEU and the Fair Work Commission has agreed to figures staying confidential.

That the NTEU at Charles Sturt wants to be very well-prepared isn’t surprising. In September 2013 Vice Chancellor Andrew Vann split the campus unions and put an offer to a staff vote with the support of the CPSU but not the NTEU. Professor Vann won. This did not go down at all well with the NTEU leadership, which is many things, good losers not being one of them. Professor Vann is also chair of the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, making his university something of a test case for tactics in the present national bargaining round.

Flinders finds a new navigator

The university has a new college head

Flinders University has made the first external appointment to head any of the six colleges in its new academic structure. Alison Kitson joins Flinders from the University of Adelaide, where she is dean of nursing to run the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She joins internal appointments, John Beynon in Science and Engineering and Phyllis Tharenou in Business, Government and Law.

No sovereign remedy

The new Macquarie medical school makes the prospects for the Murray Darling proposal a bit sicker

Yesterday’s launch of Macquarie University’s long-signalled medicine degree is bad news for med ed perennial proposal the Charles Sturt and La Trobe sponsored Murray Darling Medical School.

For a start, the Australian Medical Association opposed the Macquarie school because it’s graduates will join all the existing graduates who need more hospital training places than the feds now fund  – the argument the AMA uses against the MDMS. (Although Macquarie U has its own private hospital, which must create options).

And Macquarie’s course having no Commonwealth Supported Places is great cover for Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie who is waiting on a review of undergraduate medical places. If Macquarie has no CSPs why should the MDMS?, he can reasonably ask.

Of course, the MDMS partners could follow Macquarie down the full-fee path – but it won’t. The school’s whole sell is about producing doctors for the bush, rather than city-specialists with big education debts to pay off.

Owned goals

At the footy there’s no such thing as a free seat

The University of Melbourne, which “has an ongoing engagement relationship with the Melbourne Football Club,” is offering students free tickets to Sunday’s Demons v St Kilda game at the MCG. Apparently, it’s a way of explaining the Melbourne way of life to international and interstate students, although locals appear to be welcome as well. This certainly explains the system’s case against Simon Birmingham’s proposed funding cuts, imagine the impact on education if universities could not afford to sponsor footy.

Less low than no rent

Fed U is offering international students free accommodation

When Simon Birmingham talks about universities having rivers of gold he does not mean Federation U. Last year the many-campus regional Victorian provider generated a net $514 000 on revenues of $263m and overall international enrolments declined by 30 per cent, to 5082. To improve the former they need to do something about the latter and so Fed U is investing. In partnership with a local provider it has a new campus in Kuala Lumpur, (CMM November 7) targeting students from India and south-east Asia (locals focus on a free place at public universities).

And now it is working on wooing internationals to the Gippsland, Ballarat and Berwick campuses with a less low than no cost accommodation offer. New students enrolled in a regular Fed U programme can receive free accommodation for the full academic year.

Worth watching

At UniSA’s Ehrenberg Bass Institute the evidence make the sale

Byron Sharp and colleagues at E-B see marketing as a science, searching for its laws, studying how they apply in the marketplace. At E-B it’s the data that delivers.

There is a sense of this in their new open-access research summary on how and why people buy advertising space, especially the 50 per cent of spend that now goes to digital. No, they do not present a universal formula on what to spend where to maximise opportunities to see and yes they did ask 100 media experts, what they think is going on, not exactly the advertising equivalent of a scientific law. Even so, it demonstrates the way E-B goes where the evidence takes it, whatever fashion forecasts. Think Facebook is the place for a big schedule? Try television. As a way of demonstrating what E-B researches and why it matters this is art, as well as science.