Just in from the dog ate my homework desk

Last week CMM wondered why Charles Sturt U’s annual report was not tabled in the NSW Parliament along with all the state’s other public universities – perhaps the Bathurst mail coach was delayed (CMM June 1). CSU states there have been “unforeseen circumstances” but it expects the report to be tabled and published, “very soon.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Pablo Mungula, Lauren Butterworth and Jane Habner on three ways Flinders U brings learning resources closer to students. This week’s piece for Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Plus Angel Calderon (RMIT)  explains the Leiden research ranking results and why 2020 was a good year for Australia.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the fine art of working out what we value (Antiques Roadshow on TV can help)

And Dawn Gilmore (RMIT) and Chin Nguyen (Curio) look at the different ways Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Uni Queensland developed pandemic vaccines and how their approaches apply in teaching and learning development.


No such thing as a free learning assessment

Regulator TEQSA promotes Janice Orrell’s guide to authentic assessments on-line, “this is one of the many resources available for free from TEQSA’s On-line Learning Good Practice hub,” (via Twitter yesterday)  

At least for now.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’s move to cost recovery includes a proposed levy to meet “development and delivery of advice to providers” (CMM May 3)

Fixes for the Medical Research Future Fund

The Australian National Audit Office invites comments for its review of MRFF administration. Uni Sydney is glad it asked

The university’s submission succinctly sets out common criticisms of the way the MRFF works, and offers answers, including;

* citing seven agencies involved in decision making, Uni Sydney suggests, “it is not clear who is responsible for the overall governance of the MRFF or how the many organisations involved in its management and governance … interact to make decisions.”

It suggests the National Health and Medical Research Council’s system, an annual events calendar for funding calls, “to help standardise the applications process and facilitate better engagement with the research community.” And it recommends the NHMRC’s reporting outcomes, “on a rolling consistent basis … consolidated in a single place and updated after each funding announcement.”

* “the lack of transparency about how funding decisions are made in relation to MRFF priorities makes it vulnerable to the perception that equitable allocation is compromised by lobbying and the opportunity for the minister for health to make ‘captain’s picks’.”

* “to effectively monitor MRFF performance, success should be determined in consultation with experts in the relevant field and external bodies in order to customise the measures to each mission/activity.”

The ANAO always points out that it assesses the administration of programmes, not their politics. In addressing the NHMRC’s former, Uni Sydney has enlivened the latter.

The right sort of research

Dave Sharma (Liberal NSW) was at UNSW yesterday being briefed on the work of the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group

Presumably this is not the sort of research Mr Sharma was thinking of when he gave universities in general a huge serve in the Reps for focusing on research rankings, rather than, “the production of ideas, which can not only improve society and better our economy but lead to commercial outcomes as well,” (CMM May 25).

What researchers may not know the ARC thinks it knows

The National Tertiary Education Union intends to ask if intelligence agencies are spying on academics – which may not get much of a response

But what we do know is that the Australian Research Council has increased its inclusion of “sensitivities,” added to the personnel files researchers provide for funding applications. ARC CEO Sue Thomas says the council is working with intel agencies “to inform the sorts of scans we do,” (CMM yesterday).

The NTEU says it will ask the ARC, “what kind of information is being collected and what transparency is in place around this process to ensure there is natural and procedural fairness, such as what grounds are there for a researcher to seek to view their ‘files’ and challenge the accuracy of the information.”

In Senate Estimates on Friday Kim Carr (Labor-Victoria) asked if, “individuals get natural justice and procedural fairness on reports (which) can lead to a person not getting a grant.” The ARC’s Kylie Emery replied that universities are grant applicants and that, “natural justice is provided to applicants.”

A sense of direction for the research infrastructure roadmap

Ziggy Switkowski (RMIT chancellor) and colleagues will draft directions for the government to consider (CMM June 1) but first they will take advice

The feds announce a “nationally circulated survey” which will “collect insights from the research community and its stakeholders.” Then there will be a “facilitated meetings and on-line brainstorms” for input from “the research community and its stakeholders.”

An exposure draft will follow “informed by the ideas and discoveries of the consultation process” which will be released for comment and submissions “will guide the development of a final draft” for the government to consider.

And very consultative it all sounds – especially for those members of the research community, not to forget stakeholders, who will be heard at the meetings and brainstorms.

Appointments, achievements

At QUT, Rowena Barrett’s title changes from ED Entrepreneurship to PVC (Entrepreneurship).

Rebekha Brown becomes Monash U’s DVC R and Senior Vice President (of which position Monash U has a few (CMM June 1). She steps up from Senior Vice-Provost and Vice-Provost R.

Also at Monash U, Susan Elliott is new Provost and, yes Senior VP, replacing Marc Parlange who will soon be off on the road to (Uni of) Rhode Island. Professor Elliott’s new portfolio is expanded to cover international campuses, as well as faculties. She moves from DVC E.

Andrew Flannery is Uni Queensland’s new Chief Operating Officer, he moves from CFO.

Some of the new Young Tall Poppies science award winners for NSW are Marissa Betts UNE (palaeontology), Hamish Clarke Uni Wollongong (bushfire risk and climate change) and Vittorio Orazio UNSW (cancer biology).