Life, libraries and the pursuit of happiness

The ANU library advises that yesterday was International Happiness Day. For those who need to analyse joie de vivre it pointed links (via Facebook) to theses on the subject. They like a good time at ANU.

Cash for regional study

Last year Prime Minister Morrison said the government has “some levers to pull” to get international students enrolling in the regions. Turns out the levers release buckets of money.

Yesterday the PM announced $15 000 pa scholarships for up to 4 700 domestic and international students over four years who study on country VET or university campuses. Plus the internationals could qualify for an extra year of post-study work rights if they stay in the bush.

This strikes the Regional Universities Network as a splendid idea. Chair Helen Bartlett (Federation U) says “financial issues” are a big reason why students from the regions drop out and the visa incentive will appeal to internationals.

Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson agrees, saying “additional incentives could add to the already strong appeal of pursuing a university degree in regional Australia.”

Curiously, the university lobbies representing the campuses internationals like, in cities, were silent.

La Trobe U refreshes, renews and removes in Education

The university is hiring education academics while others are leaving

Last year La Trobe U announced it was “refreshing and renewing” its education course portfolio and planned to hire research-active academics, to “heighten our reputation as a school of choice in the teacher education landscape,” CMM November 21).

Which it is doing – advertising for an associate head, learning and teaching and unspecified numbers of academics in social inclusion and diversity, innovative pedagogies and learning sciences/science of learning.

But some of the new jobs replace staff who are leaving – management estimated last year 25 people could be “potentially displaced”.

Education academic Cathleen Farrelly warns staff will now be “almost entirely” allocated at the metro Melbourne Bundoora campus but “teach intensively” at in the regions on a fly-in, fly-out basis. “These cuts sound the death knell for teacher training at regional campuses,” she says.

Careful about open access

Reports that for-profit publisher Elsevier glitched-out and left user email addresses and passwords accessible can’t be right.  Elsevier is very careful about open access.

Uni Wollongong Senate defies VC on Ramsay western civ degree

The course will go ahead but the peak academic body isn’t happy

The University of Wollongong’s Academic Senate met yesterday and adopted a motion opposing the way university management fast-tracked its Ramsay Western Civilisation Centre funded degree, scheduled for next year. Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings ticked the degree in January, under a rule allowing for approval of courses outside standard procedures, which have a “demonstrated benefit to the university” (CMM yesterday).

However, the senate, “objects” to the approval process in relation to the BA Western Civilisation. It also calls for consideration of the fast-track, as part of a planned review of course approvals.

But while the objection passed with a two-to-one majority this does not reverse Professor Wellings’ approval of the degree.

Late yesterday the university advised, the resolution “has no impact” on the university’s partnership with the Ramsay Centre. “The vice chancellor and executive remain satisfied that the application of the fast track approval process for the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation met current policy requirements.”

Even so, “this is very big news, a real victory for transparent academic processes at our university,” a learned reader says.

A new Ramsay argument imminent at Uni Queensland

Opponents of a Ramsay western civ degree at the University of Queensland meet tonight

Opponents of a Ramsay Western Civ Centre degree at the University of Queensland meet tonight. Chancellor Peter Varghese and VC Peter Hoj are negotiating terms with the Ramsay Centre.  The debate over Ramsay funded degrees has intensified since the Christchurch shootings with claims courses would serve assumptions of western supremacism.

UoQ PVC Tim Dunne anticipated any such argument tonight, tweeting Tuesay, ““Courses on, or related to, ‘western civilisation’ are not responsible for violent right-wing extremism, just as courses on Islamic thought are not responsible for al-Qaeda. The humanities must defend open debate, extending to ideas we may not agree with.”

Quiet bized achievements

There’s more business school rankings than the ones that get quoted

Sydney-based S P Jain School of Global Management has another rankings win, on the executive MBA list produced by Ivy Exec, (“a curated community of the world’s most successful executives and professionals”). The University of Melbourne is sixth on the Asia-Pacific list followed by S P Jain. The University of Sydney is ninth and UNSW tenth. Jain, which mainly caters for expats has taught in Sydney since 2012. It also has campuses in Singapore, Mumbai and Dubai. Last year it was one of two Australian-based institutions to make the Times Higher-Wall Street Journal’s global list of one-year MBAs.

And CEO Magazine has just rated the University of South Australia’s global on-line MBA 6th in the world.

As far as CMM can tell, Ivy and CEO create their rankings much the same as the majors, using surveys and/or performance and outcome stats.