Your taxes at work

“If you’re looking for a new role, it can help to let friends and family know. They may be able to make an introduction or let you know about available positions. Learn more about finding jobs @” – Department of Education, Skills and Employment, via Twitter, Wednesday

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the power of puppies in life and uni administration.


Garry Carnegie (RMIT) on the (not great) transformative power of rankings. “What we value is what we are, what we measure is what we become.” Reporting changes can make it hard to know how many casuals universities employ.

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) demonstrates the difficulty and why the actual numbers matter.

Michael Healy and Jason Brown on the new QS Employability rankings – and the need for way better ways to measure employability success.

What’s next for the text

Is there life in the old book yet or will learning management systems deliver more?
CMM has no idea, so we asked people who do, Blake McKimmie (Uni Queensland), Claire Macken (RMIT) and Colin Simpson (Monash U). Join them at our back to campus conference. Details here.

La Trobe U campus consensus on vax

The university surveyed staff and students to find that big majorities approve of vaccination

Of the 1792 staff responding 94 per cent have had one or both jabs or intend to. Some 89 per cent of the 2819 students are the same. 86 per cent of staff and 77 per cent of students “will feel more comfortable” being on campus if they are vaxed with marginally smaller per centages wanting others to be.

The university will require vaccination for all on campus from December (ex exemptions.)

Judgement day

The High Court will deliver its judgement in Ridd v James Cook University Wednesday morning

This is a very big deal indeed. JCU sacked Dr Ridd on the grounds that he breached its code of conduct in commentary on science at the university. Dr Ridd says he was protected by freedoms set out in the university’s enterprise agreement

Deakin U on the road with Ford

Yes, that Ford, the vehicle manufacturer that used to keep Geelong running, until it closed its plant in 2016

The new partnership (D U, Ford and Ansible Motion) is for virtual vehicle design through to physical prototypes. It is funded by Victoria’s  Higher Education State Investment Fund, which is supporting capex, generally for research at universities across the state. There is no word on how much money the state is supplying.

According to Deakin U, the project will establish the university as, “a global leader in advanced research and innovation, in both driver-based and autonomous mobility technologies.” Curiously motor vehicles are not mentioned.

Indestructible ATAR

The NSW Universities Admission Centre has a new research explaining the excellence of the ATAR as a predictor of university success. What is surprising is the silence that greeted it

UAC has crunched a bunch of numbers on disadvantage and school-university achievement to find that students from disadvantage backgrounds do slightly better at university than others with the same Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

In terms of low SES, “students perform to a level expected of their ATAR and disadvantage has relatively little impact, which suggests that disadvantage adversely affects the student prior to senior secondary school and university,” the centre states.

That no one CMM has heard of criticised the report itself is understandable, UAC knows the data. But it is interesting that the legion of ATAR opponents did not use the report to have a crack at the rank on general principle. This year circumstances in NSW make the exam the ATAR is based on hard on young people locked-down in homes where they lack privacy, decent IT and proper broadband.

NSW Labor MP Chris Hayes (for the federal seat of Fowler) gets this. “I don’t believe this year’s HSC is a valid tool of the assessment, but the current level of uncertainty is certainly affecting the welfare of our students,” he told the House of Reps in August (CMM August 26, 30).

And yet the HSC is going ahead and the ATARs that will flow from it are not criticised.

Flinders U wants to drop Italian: people are upset

There’s a way they could stop it

A community petition is circulating, pointing out the importance of the language and how proposing to drop it in the 700th anniversary year of Dante Alighieri’s death, “shows a profound lack of respect for the Italian community at large.”

If this is not enough to convince the university perhaps the friends of Flinders Italian should ask advice from the people who saved Greek at La Trobe U.

The way they did it was to mount a community campaign, including promises of money and help with enrolments. The state government also got involved kicking in 40 000 for scholarships to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Greek independence.  This all helped convince LT U management to keep teaching Greek for at least three years (CMM January 29). After community protests Hindi also set to go, survived (CMM February 9).

But if Flinders U management decides nixing Italian is too hard it could always drop French – and blame it on Messieurs Morrison and Dutton.

IDP takes recruitment on-line

The international student advisory service is connecting prospects to providers

IDP announces an on-line service which provides partner universities course content and puts prospective students in-touch with institutions. IDP states that by providing qualifications and study preferences people can be matched to courses and receive an in-principal offer in 30 minutes. IDP also has counsellors to provide “trustworthy and personalised advice.”

Ten Australian universities are using the product with imminent announcements to follow. IDP’s Neil Pearson says the product addresses student needs “in a sector that has been in need of modernisation.”

And while IDP does not comment on what it means for agents, a large on-line resource designed to connect individuals with institutions reduces roles for intermediaries.


Appointments. achievements

of the day

 Lisa Adkins is appointed interim dean of Uni Sydney’s FASS. She moves up from head of the School of Social and Political Sciences and deputy dean, replacing Annamarie Jagose who is now provost and a DVC.

Mary-Louise Huppatz becomes MD of the Association of Tertiary Education Management

In March Duncan Ivison will step down from his DVC R portfolio at Uni Sydney. VC Mark Scott says, “I know he will continue to provide leadership and advocate for our world-leading research” and “we hope to continue working with him towards this purpose in whatever he does next.”

Uni Wollongong names two former staff University Fellows: Chris Grange, former VP Administration and Brian Jones, now an associate earth science researcher.

of the week

Monash U management professor Véronique Ambrosini becomes a Fellow of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences.

Rachel Wilson (Uni Sydney) and Scott Eacott (UNSW) win the NSW Education Research Awards from the state branch of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.

Julie Bishop is appointed ANU chancellor for a second term, a year before her first three years expire.

Reuben Bolt becomes DVC First Nations Leadership at Charles Darwin U. He steps up from PVC Indigenous Leadership at CDU.

At Uni Wollongong, Corinne Cortese starts as interim dean of Graduate Research. Hers is an internal appointment.

 ANU announces women’s safety and equality advocate Brittany Higgins is inaugural visiting fellow at its Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.

The 2021 International Education Association of Australia awards are here.


Birgit Loch is moving from La Trobe U to Uni New England, to become faculty dean of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law.

Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price adds science and technology to her responsibilities in the ministry shuffle announced Friday. Angus Taylor adds industry to his existing energy and natural resources brief in the dismemberment of the now backbenched Christian Porter’s portfolio.

Ken Sloan (VC Enterprise and Governance) leaves Monash U this week, on his way to start as VC of Harper Adams U in the UK. VP Government Relations Damien Farrell will act in Professor Sloan’s portfolio.