Love gone wrong

“Whether it’s ‘having a naughty’, suffering from ‘pash rash’ or emerging dishevelled from the local bad boy’s ‘root ute’ Australians are a descriptive lot when it comes to the act of love.” Monash University media, via AAP, invites hacks to interview a university linguist for Valentine’s Day. Class.

USQ takes a photo of the future

USQ takes a photo of the future

University of Southern Queensland VC Geraldine Mackenzie tweets a pic of herself with Education Minister Simon Birmingham and local MP John McVeigh meeting “on regional development and higher education.” There will be many more like it under the government’s coming policy of allocating student growth places according to individual university performance.

NHMRC peer review changes: everyone’s a critic

Peak (well one of them) medical research funding agency the NHMRC has a new model for allocating money, which starts in 2020 (Campus Morning Mail May 26 2017). But a new grant system means the peer review process will change and the National Health and Medical Research Council wisely wants to know what the industry thinks. A summary of response is here.

The responses are all considered but some err on the side of the perfect rather than the possible, for example; “the knowledge gain parameter should not hinder innovation or creativity; knowledge gain should balance innovation and risk – ensuring that there is not a detrimental effect on basic science due to the inability to demonstrate feasibility.”

When it comes to allocating medical research grants, it seems you can please none of the people none of the time.

There’s more in the mail

David Myton’s regular wrap of international news appears this morning and have a look at Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering president Hugh Bradlow’s take on tech trends

Science chief Emma Johnston warns: STEM will suffer from the end of demand driven funding

Emma Johnston made an unsurprising plea for more money and a central role in national policy for STEM research in her National Press Club address yesterday. And “a powerful and secure minister for science to rise above the short-termism and instability,” would help, the president of Science and Technology Australia added.

But Professor Johnston also warned STEM will suffer from the feds freeze on undergraduate places. In what CMM suspects is the first lobbying statement of the post demand driven funding era * Professor Johnston warned an end to open enrolments would create a national problem.  (*Unless Geraldine Mackenzie got in first, above).

“The staff-to-student ratios, the specialist facilities and equipment needed for STEM education are expensive. It costs universities a lot more to grow their science student numbers than to grow enrolments in other disciplines. By moving away from demand-driven funding, the government is, in fact, dis-incentivising universities to support places for future scientists. And, if student numbers are to now remain static, the perverse incentive is to reduce STEMM student numbers and proportionally increase cheaper, non-STEM enrolments. This is what I mean by being skewered inadvertently – because there is no whole-of-government commitment to investing in science and technology. How do we build a future knowledge economy if we’re not training the workforce to drive it?”


Iain Watt will join UTS as DVC International in June. He is now PVC I at UWA. His appointment follows yesterday’s announcement that Celia Hurley will also star on Broadway, moving to UTS from Curtin U to become inaugural VP for advancement. Both appointments will follow the retirement of UTS DVC International and Advancement Bill Purcell.

“After an exhaustive international search” Peter Draper is the new executive director of the University of Adelaide’s Institute for International Trade. He is now managing director of the Tutwa Consulting Group, in South Africa.

TEQSA considering cuisine courses

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency is having a  look at some courses from by Le Cordon Bleu Australia, “an international network of culinary arts and hospitality institutes,” which teaches in capitals across the country. In April 2016 TEQSA directed LCBA not to enrol students in its bachelor of business in culinary arts management and advanced diploma of business in the same field, until a range of conditions are met. CMM asked TEQSA if there was progress in meeting its requirements and was told, the conditions placed on the two courses “are being considered as part of the assessment of a number of applications from Le Cordon Bleu Australia, including applications for renewal of registration and for renewal of accreditation of other courses of study. As this assessment is still ongoing, we are unable to provide further comment.”

Murdoch U signals it wants an end to the enterprise bargaining stalemate

Murdoch University has signalled it wants to settle the long-running dispute over terms of a new enterprise agreement when talks with the National Tertiary Education Union begin on Tuesday. “To progress towards resolution of negotiations and in response to your feedback, we are re-examining our position on a number of key issues and considering terms and conditions which aim to be broadly comparable to those within the sector,” Chief Operating Officer Darren McKee told staff yesterday.

This is a move from the university’s position last year, when it wanted a stripped- down agreement, without the detailed codification of employment conditions common in other universities. Murdoch management also convinced the Far Work Commission to allow it to revert to award wages and conditions, which are lower, than those that applied in the university’s previous enterprise agreement. It did not do it but its power to do has cast a long shadow over bargaining.  However, Mr McKee has now extended a previous guarantee to maintain the old agreement to next month, until June. “Our preference is to achieve an agreement well in advance of this date.”

Murdoch U is now the only public university in WA where the union and management have not agreed on terms.

Union says USC wants impossible performances

The University of the Sunshine Coast has a draft academic performance framework which some staff do not like, at all.

According to National Tertiary Education Union Queensland state secretary Michael McNally, “it does not reflect the reality of academic work, and creates unreasonable ‘minimum expectations’ that are punitive and will disempower academic staff. Members do not accept that the performance measures as expressed in the APF are achievable by the vast majority of USC staff.”

The union complains that proposed teaching requirements ignore discipline differences and do not all include “valid indicators of performance.” Among other faults research criteria are said to “focus solely on the amount of grant revenue that an academic staff member is successful in attracting. This is not an indicator of research performance, but an indicator of successful grant writing.”

The union says management has to try again but USC says it “has received comments from a number of sources” and the draft is still out for consultation.