But what does she really think

“Given your delayed reply I had assumed you were carefully reading the material provided by the union. Unfortunately, this appears not to be so and you continue to construct a narrative that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the facts,” National Tertiary Education Union official Annie Buchecker, to Flinders VC Colin Stirling. There appears to be a disagreement over job security.


Glyn’s going

Outgoing vice chancellor Glyn Davis has delivered his farewell address to University of Melbourne staff. Scroll down for the full text.  Professor Davis reflected on life, the university and everything in a long interview with CMM’s David Myton in July, here.

His successor Duncan Maskell, (CMM October 27 2017) starts Monday.

UniAdelaide staff merger worries

Union leaders at the University of Adelaide are adopting a harder position to the proposal for a merger with neighbouring University of South Australia, now being discussed.

Back in August the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union said it would want guarantees on four points to accept a deal; a moratorium on forced redundancies, union and staff participation in a merger process, a new enterprise agreement and “clear processes” for a merged university’s policy and procedures.

All eminently achievable but since then more staff consultation has seen scepticism on what a merger might mean, for issues including;

job security: staff worry about job losses, notably for professional staff in central administration and services areas

loss of collegiality: reduction of staff and student representation on decision-making bodies

institutional differences: different systems and cultural difference, for example, teaching focused versus research focused

morale: “any transition period will be demotivating for staff”

The union spells out what will happen if it does not receive assurances on staff-issues.

“Ignoring potential workplace and industrial issues without a commitment to resolution early in the merger process, leaves the university open to significant and prolonged industrial disruption in the short and medium term. “

Swinburne U student services solution

If Swinburne students have an admin issue they can get it sorted in the library anytime up to midnight M-F and also on the weekend. Library and student services director Michelle Gillespie and library deputy director Tony Davies say the university achieved this, “by reskilling our existing library and student HQ staff in a new united and innovative model.”

Ms Gillespie says this means Swinburne U has increased student admin support by 64 hours a week, “at no extra cost.”

They will explain how it’s done at an L H Martin Institute seminar in October. Ms Gillespie led a restructure a year back to address “a disjointed and inconsistent service to our students,” (CMM September 12 2017).

Jackson goes the full oliver

Universities Australia is pleased with Labor’s promise of $300m for infrastructure (CMM yesterday) but, a $3.8bn-but, wants more. CEO Catriona Jackson says Labor’s announcement “is very welcome” in the direction leading to a return of the $3.8bn in the Education Investment Fund, which the government intends to switch to pay for the NDIS. “”Abolition of the last remaining capital fund for critical buildings and the cutting-edge equipment essential to modern, life-saving science, would be a body blow to national prosperity,” she says.

Good guide to universities for first-in-family students

The Good Universities Guide (a CMM advertiser) first appeared in the early ‘90s, when the Dawkins system was getting going. As universities have expanded enrolments and changed how they teach, the guide has grown with them – providing information for starting students on what it all means. But what has stayed the same is privilege, understanding what higher education is all about is easier for young people whose friends and family know how the system works.

So good for the GUG in introducing a new performance metric in this year’s edition – universities with the highest per centage of starting students who are first in family to take on the challenge of higher education, universities that recognise their obligation to assist them survive the shock of the new. It’s also a metric that sets a base for providers-there is no point starting study, the success is completing. The more information available on what are good universities for all sorts of students, the better.

Rubbery figures

The final budget outcome for 2017-18 is out. Higher education spending was $9.606bn, $21m under planned expenditure. The Commonwealth outlayed $1.733bn on VET, $113m below the budgeted sum. At $2.842bn student assistance was $302m under the budgeted outlay. “General research” blew out, by$178m, to $3.009bn. What the numbers means depends on who’s doing the interpreting.

Hons for student-placement providers

Integrated-learning peak body ACEN has announced the short-lists for its three awards.

Local hero: HerCanberra (citylife website) provides work experience and skills development for media and comms students. Nominated by the University of Canberra. North Construction and Building, nominated by the University of Newcastle. Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, nominated by UoQ.

Collaboration award: four hotel chains nominated by Southern Cross U’s hotel school. Hunter Imaging Group (medical diagnostics) nominated by the University of Newcastle. Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, nominated by Griffith U’s business school.

Case studies award: Peer2Peer (social media consultancy) nominated by UniSouth Australia. Community engagement and employability scheme, internships organised by Griffith U. Interdisciplinary projects in Malaysia, organised by Macquarie U.

Appointments, achievements

Glyn Davis (yes that one) will join ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy as a distinguished professor. The ANZ School of Government will support the position and Professor Davis “will include teaching senior public service executives from all over the world.”

Dennis McDermott is La Trobe U’s inaugural PVC Indigenous. He joins from Flinders U where he is director of the two Poche Centre’s for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing.

Physicist Tim Bedding is awarded a University of Sydney 2018 Payne Scott professorial distinction. The award honours university leaders and mentors. It is named for radio astronomer and UniSydney graduate Ruby Payne Scott.

University of Canberra honours one of its own with an hon doc to emeritus professor Meredith Edwards. Professor Edwards is a mandarin’s mandarin an economist and public policy researcher of decades standing.

Karen Quinlan is the incoming director of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. Ms Quinlan is now director of the Bendigo Art Gallery and director and professor of practice at La Trobe U’s art institute.

Dolt of the day

Spell check changed the proposed new Maori name of what is now Victoria University of Wellington in yesterday’s email edition, which CMM failed to pick up. The correct title Te Herenga Waka.

CMM also confused the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in yesterday’s issue. It was the latter which had to cancel an on-line test in February while in progress.

Glyn Davis’s farewell address

This is the full text of Glyn Davis’s farewell message to University of Melbourne staff

After nearly 14 years, a final end of month reflection from a departing vice-chancellor.  It has been a privilege thinking with you about our university.  More still, it has been an honour to be part of the scholarly community at Melbourne.

In A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More urges a young man to be a teacher – “you would be a fine teacher, perhaps a great one.”

The young man is not persuaded – “If I was, who would know it?”

“You; your pupils; your friends; God.  Not a bad public, that” responds More.

Such are the rewards of our work in education. We participate in the unbroken transmission of ideas and mission, renewal and discovery across generations.

Every day we experience the genius of this university, and not just in the romance of the stones in the Old Quad, the liveliness of Southbank or the tranquillity of the System Garden.

What makes a university is the brilliant minds with whom we share these spaces. The academics who care greatly about their teaching, research and engagement. The students deeply engrossed in their studies, the orchestra of medical interns, the student theatre on campus, the University Blacks running onto the oval, the women’s rowing crew pulling away to win the Bella Guerin Cup year after year.

This is our place, the 65,000 students and more than 9,000 staff who make up the University of Melbourne at any given moment, joined by colleagues from the precinct, alumni, colleges, wandering groups of school children, bemused busloads of tourists.

All experience a campus committed to knowledge. To be part of this university is to revel in this ferment and, hopefully, to contribute to its richness.

So, I depart today grateful to the people with whom I worked – the academics and professional staff, the student leaders, the union representatives and even the occasional protestors, because each one cares about what happens here.  Together this group of talented people has endowed the university with new curriculum, graduate schools, innovative buildings and spaces, explorations in engagement, enterprise and advancement.

We build on a century and a half of tradition, yet relish a chance to add to the fabric of the University of Melbourne, an institution that will still be young when we are old.

For me this has been a wonderful experience, but now is the time to embrace new leadership. So, I welcome Professor Duncan Maskell, who will be a fine vice chancellor, bringing his own vision and experience to the role.  He has my unstinting support as I return to the life of research and teaching, alongside some new adventures outside higher education.  I will watch, with pride, the journey ahead for a university destined to grow in the esteem of future generations.”