We see what you did there

“There is more to curating an exhibition than meets the eye,” UNSW promotes the work of a curatorial studies PhD student, yesterday,


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the triumph of open science (and why we need it now), “the production and sharing of knowledge continues to expand. An extraordinary amount of data is made available to all.

and Angel Calderon (RMIT) on what drives the big performance metrics.

with James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on what the UNSW annual report reveals.

Government set to slug international education providers (again)

With the TEQSA cost recovery legislation through parliament international education providers might think government is done making tough times tougher. They should think again

There are new charges coming for institutions on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. They are to recover costs incurred by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (separate from TEQSA and ASQA costs).

It’s all explained (just not very clearly) in a DESE draft implementation statement, released (just not very loudly) last week.

It follows two prior consultation rounds which did not attract a lot of attention, with one in January-February attracting 11 submissions and a second in May six.

But there’s a chance now for providers to comment, until August 23.

“Considering the international borders are still unlikely to be opened and the fact that the industry is already on its knees, this is policy gone mad,” is one from a Learned Reader.

Nothing to see there

Griffith U is listed by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission as an organisation it “might” audit in the next couple of years.

So what “might” be the problem? There isn’t one – it’s just Griffith U’s turn – the CCC includes a university in each work cycle.

Hard times or not so much at Uni Wollongong

The union thinks things are getting better – which would be good for staff

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union thinks UoW’s financial position is improving and asks for answers to recent questions put to management under the terms of a COVID-19 savings agreement last year (CMM August 2).

“The idea that UOW has shown no significant improvement in its financial position since the beginning of the pandemic belies the effectiveness of financial decisions made to achieve financial sustainability,” National Tertiary Education Union branch president Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, writes management.

Apart from affection for the university there’s a reason why the union wants to hear good news about the books.

In the enterprise agreement variation agreed at the depth of the COVID-19 crisis (Mk One) the union agreed to a delay on pay rises due on November 15 2020 and 15/11/21 until February 2022, “due to the reductions in revenue and financial uncertainty.” Unless after a year UoW’s “financial position has significantly improved,” in which case, the university is required to talk to the union about ending savings provision early.

Which the NTEU thinks should occur now.

“Management benefits from this by shifting the narrative of Uni Wollongong from one where there has been no significant improvements (in spite of all the sacrifices and cuts) to one where remedial actions and sacrifices have produced real outcomes. The dire predictions of 2020 have not come to pass,” Professor Probyn-Rapsey writes.

Which leaves UoW management to either agree or explain that the books are still in such bad shape that all the pain has not been enough.

Monash U Vaxing up

The university announces AstraZeneca vaccination is available for “staff, students and community members” aged 18-39 at its Clayton, Caulfield and Peninsula campuses. People need a Medicare card and must provide “informed consent.” Pfizer shots start Tuesday at Clayton, for staff and students aged 40-59 or who meet Vic Gov eligibility criteria.

Hastening slowly on info access

“The Morrison Government is moving ahead with copyright reforms,” just not quickly

On August 13 Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced copyright reforms which will make access easier for schools and universities including a fair-dealing exception for non-commercial quotation and copyright exceptions for educational and cultural institutions.

Problem is the announcement was made on August 13, last year.

Universities Australia suggests the minister might want to pick up the pace and release draft legislation for comment.

The UK way to win students


Changes to university acceptance processes, rapid vaccination and student demand means the UK Higher Education sector is surging ahead in the Covid-19 recovery

The pandemic caused so much interruption to high school students that a decision was made to replace final exams with teacher assessments.  This resulted in students receiving higher-than-expected scores, and has seen a record breaking number of 18 year olds applying for university, further exacerbated by the inability to travel on a gap year break. Medicine and Dentistry alone has had a  20% surge in enrolments. This is putting significant pressure on universities (not the worst problem to have compared to our empty campuses).

The UK’s university towns are expected to be bustling with students as the true value of a university experience has been better understood through the stress of lockdowns. The government is pushing for a return to face-to-face teaching. Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, has signalled that students should not be charged full fees if they don’t receive face-to-face teaching.  While there is some push back from the Russell Group, defending the flexibility of blended learning, there are avenues opening for students to reclaim fees if they don’t believe they are receiving a high quality of education.

Australia is losing international students to the UK, a key factor being the rapid vaccination roll-out and open borders.   As ANU DVC Ian Anderson pointed out last week, international students have lost confidence in Australia and it is going to take a concerted effort to rebuild it.

As our vaccination program rolls-out, universities should be watching the unfolding UK experience to stay competitive, both domestically and internationally.

Samantha Hall is Principal Director, Campus Intuition

Appointments, achievements, exits

Of the day

Hilary Charlesworth (Laureate Professor of Law, Uni Melbourne) is Australia’s nomination for election to the International Court of Justice.

Laurie Pearcey, UNSW PVC I and head of UNSW Global leaves today. He moves to the Chinese University of Hong Kong where he will be VP for external engagement. Sarah Lightfoot becomes acting CEO at UNSW G.

Melissa de Zwart moves from dean of law at Uni Adelaide to Flinders U. She will be professor of digital tech and “contribute to further building of the impact and reputation of the Jeff Bleich Centre.” That’s the resource named for the former US ambassador to Australia, which researches the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance (June 27 2019).

 Of the week

 Cindy Cassidy joins Charles Sturt U as director of the federal Drought Resilience Hub for southern NSW (CMM April 14). Ms Cassidy “has a background in creating and delivering change in agriculture industries.”

Laurence Coleman is leaving government relations at UWA. He will become chief of staff to federal Labor MP and shadow trade minister, Madeleine King.

At Edith Cowan U, Karen Strickland is the incoming executive dean of Nursing and Midwifery. She starts in November, moving from Uni Canberra. As of January, Matthew Allen will be ED, Arts and Humanities. He is now an adjunct professor at U Tas. And Mandy Stanley is appointed a fellow of Occupational Therapy Australia’s Research Academy

Ian Manchester becomes director of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney.

Emma Sparks is appointed Rector and Dean of UNSW Canberra, starting January. She moves from Cranfield U in the UK.