Let not the marriage of true minds

There’s a school merger at UTS

At UTS the schools of Education (as in teacher ed) and International Studies (global perspectives on knowledge and interaction) are merged to form, you would never guess, the School of International Studies and Education.

The UTS website wasn’t updated yesterday to explain the many benefits of the union but all will undoubtedly be terrific. As some bloke wrote in the 17th century, “Love is not love, Which alters when it alteration finds”

Universities attacked over free speech

And it’s more than a go at James Cook U

Last night Government MP Craig Kelly (on Radio National) made the case for the Attorney General funding a test case on campus free speech, if James Cook U appeals its loss in the case against Peter Ridd.  The university dismissed Dr Ridd for claimed misconduct over his criticism of JCU research and researchers. The Federal Court found Dr Ridd was protected by academic comment provisions of the university’s enterprise agreement.

Mr Kelly argued that a university appeal would involve, “significant issues of academic freedom” making it an “exceptional case.”

There was also action in the Senate with new Tasmanian senator Claire Chandler suggesting in her first speech  that legislation requires protection of free speech on campus.

“We are living in a country where universities are shutting down debate, for example by charging exorbitant security fees when certain speakers, generally with viewpoints that differ from predominantly left-wing academics wish to share their perspectives on campus. This progressive shut-down of academic freedom at least to my mind is at best not in the spirit and at worst in complete contravention of the Higher Education Support Act.

“More must be done to ensure our higher education institutions are complying with these basic requirements, if only because no student’s views should ever be dismissed in class purely on the basis of their political affiliation,” Senator Chandler said.

For a maiden speech it sounded remarkably like a notes for a government strategy.

Curtin wants bucks for blockchains

Curtin U announces a cryptocurrency scholarship fund

The fund will accept take donations in Bitcoin and Ethereum to fund PhD students, researching blockchains, crypto currency and data analytics. The fund will use a Web 3.0 payment system developed by project partners, Nelnet International and Centrality.

Curtin U says the fund is a chance for entrepreneurs who “have realised significant benefits” from cryptocurrencies “to give back.” Or not, depending CMM suggests, what funds are worth in fiat currency when cashed out to students. But at least donations can be tax deductible.

Clever move by Curtin U –the distributed ledger basics of the blockchain will boom as a research subject, however funded.

Overflow crowd for La Trobe U hon doc award

Last week La Trobe U was selling tickets to the award of an hon doc to Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan (CMM July 17 ). It’s sold-out

Such a sell-out that LT U will narrowcast the ceremony outside on big screens and promises food trucks and live entertainment. It’s free, but fans still need tickets. Last week CMM suggested the university should be announcing a Khan scholarship for the Indian market, which obviously underestimates his brand power – “the Khan Schol at La Trobe U” would work in the Indian education market.

All politics is local

Unis Australia has launched a second burst in its politically on-song (a mighty chorus in fact) “uni research saves lives” campaign (CMM yesterday).

It followed up with a tweet about a Macquarie U project on childhood literacy, “uni research in Bennelong is helping children learn to read and across Australia.” Bennelong is the electorate held by government member John Alexander with a safe-ish 6 per cent two party preferred margin.

UA also pointed other research in the campaign to relevant federal members, but Adam Bandt (Greens-Melbourne) and Steve Georganas (Labor-Adelaide) can’t be as much help.

A state of Nature at QUT

The university announces that it will host the first ever Nature journal conference in Australia

It’s on biomimetrics in bioengineering and if you know what this means you probably don’t need to be told it is on August 4-6 at Garden Point. But for the likes of CMM this is the study of using natural structures in engineering and medicine.

Uni Melbourne announces elite undergraduate school winners

The first 20 Hansen Scholars start next year

They will live in purpose-built university accommodation from next year, with financial support for a three-year bachelor degree. Funding is from a $30m gift to the university from the Hansen Little Foundation (CMM May 16 2018).

The announcement follows ANU yesterday, which named next year’s 25 Tuckwell Scholars, (a $25 000 pa package for five years).

Anticipating the annual question, ANU stated the majority of new scholars are from state schools. There appear to be more students from non-govs on the Hansen list.

State of the states in VET funding

By Claire Field

We need a more national approach to VET funding

With the government set to invest $134 million over the next four years on VET reform, including the establishment of a National Skills Commission – last week’s data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows why we need a more national approach to VET funding.

While most analysis has examined the decline in overall funding, by year or by provider type, what is largely overlooked is the different investment states have made in their VET systems.

Looking back over the last four years at the national level there has been a modest 6er cent decline in government-funded VET students. But that masks major state-territory differences: in NSW, for example, government-funded students increased by 26 per cent in the same period, whereas they declined in Victoria by 27 per cent.
There are also significant state-level differences in the funding available to students studying at either TAFE or a private provider.

Looking again at Victoria – there has been a 12 per cent increase in government-funded students in TAFE and a 56 per cent decline in those studying with a private provider.

Irrespective of where you line up in the public versus private funding debate there is an urgent need for a more consistent approach.
Further details here :

Claire Field writes a subscription guide to VET, international education and private HE.

Life after thesis

The eight Queensland universities have combined to produce guides for international higher degree students on what to do when they finish

The project includes eight guides covering work, and how to find it – making them available to locals will not hurt either.

The project has public funding, via the state government Study Queensland.

Appointments, achievements

University of Wollongong VC, Paul Wellings has an hon doc from the University of Surrey. Only seems fair, in December UoW awarded an hon doc to Uni Surrey’s VC Max Lu. Their two institutions are two of the four members of the University Global Partnership Network, which works, “on matters of global importance.”

Jean Brodie is the incoming head of Swinburne U’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing. She joins from University of California Santa Cruz.

Belinda Mulcahy and Dean Biron (Griffith U) receive Open Universities Australia Teaching Excellence awards for outstanding satisfaction ratings for students in Griffith’s criminology and criminal justice bachelor degree, via OUA.

Curtin U has a new head of the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science. Linda Woodhouse has moved from the University of Alberta.

The first energy expert in residence at ANU is microeconomics and energy expert Andreas Loeschel. He is visiting from Muenster U, in Germany.