What she did next

Cathy Foley receives a lifetime achievement award from CSIRO, where she was chief scientist. Among her achievements cited is not her present appointment as that other chief scientist – of the Commonwealth of Australia.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new international education strategy and what Australia can achieve.

Plus, Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) on 2020 uni financials – the worst could be over.

With Lisa Andrewartha on how to help students who are also parents. Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

And Tim Winkler makes the case for uni brands and why they must be way more than marketing. It’s an issue for his (with a little help from CMM) conference starting tomorrow, on key issues in HE marketing, recruitment and identity. Sign-up here.

Five ways to wellbeing on campus

Universities will need to increasingly focus on wellbeing, support, inclusion and trust for both staff and students,” Elizabeth Baré, Janet Beard and Teresa Tjia warn

The analysts point to the impact of COVID 19 on staff and students and suggest ways to palliate the pain, in a new paper for Uni Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Of which there will be plenty. For a start, students who started in 2020 and 21 have had one/two years without much experience of campus life – and they have not all enjoyed remote learning. The authors point to learner-engagement scores in the 2020 Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching as indicating a “significant early warning” of a “a level of disquiet with the quality and experience of on-line education delivery and a diminution in the sense of institutional belonging and support.”

And uncertainty, isolation and for many, living with actual or anticipated unemployment, meant the two years were hard for staff, especially the casually-employed academics who do so much of the teaching.

Which is bad for them, and will be bad for students, “reductions in casual academic staff are likely to diminish the number of available contact points for students and increase the amount of student support/pastoral care work required of full and part time” (teaching only and teaching and research) staff,” they warn.

“At the same time, performance pressures remain and may be intensified for staff, and existing workload management processes guarantee teaching-free time to undertake research.”

Which overall present five challenges

* optimising support: with “appropriate staffing ratios” of academics and student-facing professional staff

* retaining and building capacity: “staff reductions represent a human impact on those staff who remain as well as those who leave but, as importantly, a loss of knowledge and expertise necessary to rebuild and reframe institutions.” Funding for improving conditions for casuals and retaining staff could come from foregoing payrises in the enterprise bargaining round now underway

* “aligning reward to the new reality”: as teaching requirements increase management may need to reduce research expectations for academics

* create the “sticky campus,” where staff and students will want to be

* human digital connectivity: “develop new forms of learning experiences where on-line and highly engaged face-to-face teaching blend seamlessly, which are appropriately aligned to course content and can be flexibly deployed to meet the needs of specific cohorts of students.”

The take-out: “universities will need to increasingly focus on wellbeing, support, inclusion and trust for both staff and students; this will be a key ingredient to a vibrant and healthy higher education system.”

Redefining value for universities

Big ideas this week at the last CMM-Twig event for the year

WednesdayWith the borders open (Omicron permitting) what will February look-like with international students on campus? Plus, what makes a university brand and matching graduates to job

ThursdayNew directions in marketing and the end for open days.

Friday: is it all over for the ATAR plus courses in demand (and not)

Check out the experts addressing the issues here

FASS under fire at UTS

The proposed restructure in the UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is now subject to an industrial dispute

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union states management has not met enterprise agreement obligations, including on consultation, and redundancies.

The proposal appears part of a faculty management plan to save $3.2m, with the union contending some decisions are already made.

The union points to staff cuts in teacher education while FASS is creating a criminology programme – a largely new discipline at UTS (CMM July 30).

Curtin U’s first medical graduates

The university opened its med school in February 2017, which did not delight the old guard denied, at UWA (CMM Feb 23)

And now Curtin med has delivered on its promise, graduating its first class – an inspiration for every canny and connected VC, who wants to create a politically sellable case for a med school (morning Scott Bowman).

Adelaide’s axis of education

Flinders U announces a new CBD base

The university will take eight floors in the riverside Festival Tower development, moving its city campus from Victoria Square, also in the CBD. There will be space for nearly 1700 students and 312 academics in the new tower, who will all find it easy to access, adjacent to Adelaide rail station. This also makes for a 20-minute train trip to the university’s Bedford Park campus and Tonsley tech precinct.

As to neighbours in the city, the SA Health and Medical Research Institute is but a stroll down North Terrace and Flinders U will be located pretty much on a straight line between Uni Adelaide and Uni SA.

Ok audit for ANU

The governing council approves the university budget, but senior executive pay is not in the reports it considers

The Australian National Audit Office calls on the university to address this in its new report on ANU governance and control. It is the stand-out criticism in a (relatively) favourable report and ironic given VC Brian Schmidt’s pay is on the record and he insisted on a cut when he took over.

Overall, the ANAO finds, governance is “largely fit-for-purpose, supported by systems of control and accountability that are partially effective,” and the university’s council, council committees and academic board, “appropriately challenge management, demonstrating a positive culture that encourages discussion and debate.”

The audit also points to a lack of an “appropriate” information policy and procedures, adding information and records management “require improvement” however the ANAO acknowledges that since the 2018 hack the university has been working on “cyber security weaknesses.”

ANU accepts all audit recommendations but does suggest it has had a tough couple of years, dealing with “several significant disruptive events, including bushfires, smoke, a devastating hailstorm, and COVID-19.”

Colin Simpson’s Ed Tech must reads of the week

Edtech people weekend challenge – Twitter discussion

I found this stimulating discussion started by @BenPatrickWill on the weekend. “If you (hypothetically) had 15 mins to address your university senior managers about the future of edtech, and it was your best chance to bring in some critical perspectives, what would you highlight?” If you are a leader, and you ever wondered… (or if you ever wondered what you would say if you were trapped in a lift with them)


How to hold a better class discussion from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Class discussions can be a lottery – one day everyone is excited and engaged and the next, you struggle to extract one-word responses. Jay Howard shares some invaluable practical advice in this piece that draws on 30 years of research. Some top tips – put the work back onto the learners, ask more complex questions that support creativity, encourage students to call out great ideas from their peers.


 Why aren’t Professors taught to teach? from Tech & Learning

The fact that I thought twice about sharing this piece, which is fairly inoffensive in itself, says something about the politics around this in Higher Education. Institutions do, of course, offer a range of services and specialists that provide support to academics in teaching and ed tech – this is part of the work that I do and this is my community. This article asks the questions that I have been hearing a lot recently – are we doing enough and where do we go next?


Pedagogy for Higher Education Large Classes (PHELC) 2021 proceedings from PHELC (Open Access)

One of the areas where pedagogy/andragogy and technology-enhanced learning veers dramatically away from K-12 learning is when it comes to large classes. The PHELC21 symposium was held in June and the full proceedings are now available. This collection of papers includes work on engagement, course redesign, problem-based learning at scale and drawing classes.


How to solve cryptic crosswords from The Saturday Paper. I love cryptic crosswords but I have only ever managed to work out a handful of the wordplay puzzle types. The Saturday Paper has added some useful educational resources to their weekly cryptic crossword, with embedded videos from their cruciverbalist that step you through the logic of each clue. I really like this as a practical model for using video as a teaching aid with practical activities. (Available until Dec 3).

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

Appointments, achievements

The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education announces its new executive. Chris Campbell (Griffith U) continues as president, for a new two-year term. Michael Cowling (CQU) is VP, replacing Sue Gregory (UNE), who returns to a committee role. Mark Schier (UNE) continues as treasurer. Lisa Jacka (Uni Southern Queensland ) joins the committee, with returning members Sandy Barker (Uni SA), Thomas Cochrane (Uni Melbourne), Elaine Huber (Uni Sydney), Hazel Jones (Griffith U), David Porter (Uni Wollongong), Petrea Redmond (Uni Southern Queensland), and Kwong Nui Sim (Auckland Uni Technology).

Monash U announces Megan Galbally is new director of its Centre for Women’s and Children’s Mental Health. Professor Galbally will move from Perth, where she has multiple appointments, including at Murdoch U.