ACU class-room ready reckoner

Australian Catholic U has awarded the VC’s medal of excellence to Claire Wyatt-Smith and colleagues for a “tool” that provides, “valid and reliable evidence of pre-service teachers’ readiness for practice.” Smart move. With state ministers opportunistically asserting teacher ed standards arrived at hell way back the only thing the teacher education establishment can do is demonstrate the quality of their graduates.  (Scroll down for other ACU awards).


Flinders U academic restructure on hold

As expected, the Flinders U branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has notified the Fair Work Commission of a dispute over management’s academic restructure. The university is nominating staff now in teaching and research jobs who it wants to apply for specialist positions in one or other, with no guarantee they will get either. The process is underway in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences with consultations half-way through in science and engineeringeducation psychology and social work and medicine and public health.  The union says, among many other things, the way staff are targeted is “an arbitrary and unfair test inconsistent with the university’s job security obligations.” It wants the commission to withdraw all change processes, “for the revision of both process and content.”  The university’s director, people and culture, Steve Barrett tells staff that the university’s is a “sound process, consistent with outcomes established in the Fair Work Commission,” but that the restructure is now on hold.

There’s more in the Mail

David Myton‘s regular wrap on the week that was in international higher education.

TEQSA’s doing a good job, just ask it

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency’s annual report states 87 per cent of “low risk” providers rate its performance as good, or excellent.

The agency also reports it approved only three applications for registration from 30 lodged, however there was also “a sharp rise”, to ten, in disappointed providers appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.  (The other 17 applicants gave up).

Of matters that went to the AAT in 2017-18 those resolved by the tribunal took an average 172 days, with agreed matters taking 214 days.

Chief Commissioner Nicholas Saunders says with a bigger budget in 2018-19 the agency’s “key challenge” will be “rebuilding the required resourcing and enhancing our systems to improve the agency’s performance” and consultation on implementing the government’s decision for the agency to recover costs.

Staff to strike tomorrow at Monash U and VU

Union members at Monash and Victoria (that’s the institution not the state) universities are striking tomorrow over enterprise bargaining issues. There will be a five-hour protected industrial action at Monash and a 24 hour one at VU.

The action at VU builds on the National Tertiary Education Union’s success in demolishing a management bid to have an enterprise agreement adopted. The union campaigned against the bid, which was rejected by 77 per cent of people voting in an all-staff ballot CMM September 25).  The big issue, among may, at VU is the future of academic staff as the university expands teaching-only positions.

The Monash branch of the union wants management to pick up the bargaining pace, with 15 months of talks failing to settle arguments over pay, discipline procedures and workload requirements. A proposed administration restructure in the arts faculty, announced last week will add to staff disquiet. NTEU state president Nic Kimberley says the prop was sprung on effected staff, despite management having had it for months.

Price competition picks up in on-line biz degrees

RMIT announces an “accelerated on-line” MBA for study over “two years intensive part-time.” The course consists of 12 seven-week courses at $4 120 per unit and is FEE HELP eligible. “To realise your potential, you need a new kind of MBA,” RMIT announces.

The question is whether people will need it enough to pay close to twice the price of other on-line business masters. Curtin U and the University of Queensland have just announced on-line business masters  via edX.

UoQ is offering a leadership in service innovation – when the mandatory units in the university’s relevant micromasters are included the final price is $25 000. Curtin’s masters of marketing lists at $32 000, but completing the university’s relevant micromasters’ units translates to a 22 per cent discount.

UniSydney academics explain why they reject Ramsay

A week out from a University of Sydney-wide meeting of opponents of a Ramsay Western Civ Centre on campus, academic units are putting their positions on the record. A range of reasons why Ramsay is a bad idea include;

Media and comms: says a centre would be retrograde when, “Indigenous peoples are struggling to have their voices heard.” To “ ‘celebrate the west’ – the overt mission of the Ramsay Centre – means to advocate for a vision of a society that devalues the ‘non-west’.”

Political economy: “ Sovereignty has never been ceded by First Nations Australians and to concentrate a degree on ‘Western Tradition’, without the presence of Indigenous voices would be to collapse into an ideas-centred account of the actual pillage of the world by the west.” The department adds, “the risks to the reputation of the university from being associated with the Ramsay Centre far outweigh the benefits from its money.”

Anthropology: “The category western civilisation makes no sense … it encompasses a large number of area and disciplinary foci into a category that has neither a methodological or a substantive rationale.” The department adds; the “common-sense idea” of western civilisation does not “recognise the contested nature of the epistemology and value claims internal to the history of the Enlightenment” and “fails to reference the diverse, and very long durée, global dynamics of the cultural, knowledge and political projects that this category claims as its own.”

Sociology and social policy: “the proposed course appears to be organised around the construction of ‘western civilization’ as being about art, philosophy, literature, and history narrowly conceived, and not about changing social, political and institutional forms, not to mention the evolution of ideas, practices and organisational forms in science, technology, medicine, engineering and indeed business and management. … Important as the humanities are, they are not the only game in town, and a genuinely defensible course in western civilisation – not to mention the benefits flowing from the funding provided by this proposal – would not be confined to a select coterie of disciplines.”

Appointments, achievements

UniSA DVC R Tanya Monro will have a STEM building named for her today, at Adelaide’s Parkside Primary. Year six and seven students decided the physicist was the right role model for science at the school.

UNSW emeritus professor of psychiatry, Gavin Andrews, “among the world’s most highly cited scientists in this field,  is one of two 2018 winners of the Australian Mental Health Prize.  He is joined by Adelaide consumer advocate Janne McMahon. The award was established in 2016 by the UNSW School of Psychiatry.

Andrew Johnson is moving to the University of New England as director of Research Services. He was previously with the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine.

The University of South Australia has won six of the ten SA Women in Innovation Awards.

Anika Johnston took out the arts category for her work at the university’s MOD museum, “provoking new ideas at the intersection of art, science and innovation.”

Structural engineering professor Yan Zhuge received the engineering award.

Tina Dhu (information studies) won the maths and data category

Chia-Chi Chien, from the universities Future Industries Institute received the award for science.

Fiona Arney and Leah Bromfield – co-directors at UniSA’s Australian Centre for Child Protection, took the social impact category

Renly Lim won the open section for a project in Cambodia using art, music and theatre to educate communities about malaria.

The other winners were; Allison Nikula – emerging innovator (CareApp). Bernadette Eckermann –government category (SA Water). Michele Lally – rural and regional (Australian Micro Abattoirs). Mary-Louise Rogers – technology (Flinders U).

In addition to the VC’s medal of excellence (above) Australian Catholic University’s 2018 excellence award winners are:

Mission Excellence: Clothing Drive Team, Stephanie McCormick and Brian Seeto and

Treasury Team: for the “world’s first sustainability bond from a university,” Mitch Srbinovski, Rajan Wijey, Katie Kung, Anuschka Shaheen, Paul Zappia, Alex Graham

Service Excellence:  IT Service Portal Team, Robin Shi, Suraj Thapa, Tony Manglaviti, Louren David, Traci Voss and Alternate entry team, Jason Bax and Daphnee Devlin

Student Experience: Thomas More Law School Mooting Program, Brianna Chesser

Community Engagement: Chaldean Community English Language Program, Svetlana Lukovic and Libby Rainsford and Solomon Islands Community Engagement Team, Renata Cinelli and Mellita Jones