There’s more in the Mail

in Features today David Myton looks at a new study that finds universities are not doing enough to help citizens learn about and adjust to the new world of Artificial Intelligence.

Plus, Trevor Cullen from Edith Cowan U on equipping students for lives of work and learning


Selfies at sea

The University of Sydney and the NSW Government are recruiting families booked to go on an ocean cruise. It’s for a study of “healthy cruising behaviour” and dealing with infectious disease at sea. Participants will have “to keep a photo diary of your activities and experiences.”


Planets not aligned over proposed Macquarie U merger

Management wants to merge the departments of environmental sciences and earth and planetary sciences

The science and engineering faculty appears to have ticked all the procedural boxes on staff consultation. But academics are said to continue unhappy about the change, questioning exactly how a merger will improve performance. It also looks likely to include redundancies, although it does not appear clear whether any would be compulsory.

This proposal is separate to faculty-wide changes to technical services announced by executive dean Barbara Messerle late last year.

Service-provider pays on the way   

Two bills that lapsed when the last parliament was dissolved are back in the Reps

The HE Support Amendment (Charges) Bill requires providers to cough-up for costs the Commonwealth incurred in administering the HELP loan scheme. Last year it was expected to recover $13.8 over the forward estimates. The HE Support Amendment (Cost Recovery Bill) sets charges for a bunch of stuff including officials taking phone calls. The Parliamentary Library estimates the charges in the bill will cost universities between $30 000 and $250 000, depending on enrolments and up to $100 000 for non-uni providers.

Funnily enough the bills weren’t popular with providers when introduced last year. The Group of Eight said the HELP admin charge, is ““the equivalent of introducing a new tax on doctors, one levied for each patient they see, to assist government pay for the administrative costs of Medicare,” (CMM November 12 2018).

Uni Adelaide commissions “culture check” of research centre

Consultant called in at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA

The University of Adelaide has commissioned a consultancy to conduct a “culture check,” of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. CMM understands staff and students are being encouraged by the university to participate.

“A culture check will provide an informed and accurate picture of the culture within the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA; whether all staff, students and affiliates are engaged in a positive and collegial environment; and provide information to assist consideration of what, if any, changes might be made,” a university spokesperson tells CMM.

Another Euro open-access move

Elsevier is making nice with Hungary

For-profit journal giant Elsevier reports “a new innovative pilot agreement for research access and Open Access publishing” with Hungary’s Electronic Information Service National Programme.

Looks like another Elsevier make-nice in Europe, as it deals with the Plan S push in countries across the continent for free-to-read research journals.

Makes a change from here.

The Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group called for a national OA strategy in a joint election statement – but government and funding agencies appear disinterested in a harder OA approach

Unis winning in workplace learning

The LearnX Foundation’s Impact awards are announced

LearnX describes itself as “a small non-profit organisation that supports and promotes advancements in workforce learning.”

Higher education winners, among others in some of the many categories include:

Learning design team: RMIT (two teams) and Victoria U

Talent partnership: Victoria U and Victoria U Polytechnic

Leadership capability: Uni Queensland Business School

Learning and capability: Monash College

Staff wellbeing: University of Sydney

Workplace health and safety: Monash U

Learning culture: Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy

New eLearning Adopter: Victoria U, Victoria U Polytechnic

Blended learning model: Uni Sunshine Coast

Bespoke learning model: Victoria U Polytechnic, Victoria U

On-line model: RMIT, Victoria U

Future learning model: Uni Sydney

Agile design: Box Hill Institute

eLearning Resource: Box Hill Institute, Uni Washington

Learning app design: Victoria U, Monash U

Shift-it-online design: Victoria U, Victoria U Polytechnic

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Abbey McDonald from the University of Tasmania is the Australian Teacher Education Association’s teacher of the year. She is honoured for the university’s master of teaching – arts specialisation program.

Of the week

John Dewar (VC La Trobe U) and Andrew Vann (VC Charles Sturt U) have two-year terms as deputy chairs of Universities Australia. Deborah Terry (VC Curtin U) recently commenced as chair. This is Professor Vann’s second term and the first for Professor Dewar. The posts are filled by consensus.

Benjamin Kile become executive dean of the University of Adelaide’s health and medical sciences faculty.  He moves from Monash U where he is head of the school of anatomy and development biology.

Andrew Zannettino is incoming ED for research strategy at theCentral Adelaide Local Area Health Network, which is a joint appointment with Uni Adelaide. He is now interim executive dean of health and medical sciences.

Francine Marques from Monash U is awarded the American Heart Association’s hypertension meeting’s Harry Goldblatt Award for New Investigators.

Si Ming Man from ANU receives the Commonwealth health minister’s 2018 award for researchDr Man works on anti-microbial functions of a class of disease-fighting proteins

Hazel Bateman (UNSW) is the inaugural president of the International Pension Research Association. Professor Bateman’s UNSW colleague John Piggott is a member of the association’s foundation board.  Professor Bateman is also appointed director of academic strategy in the UNSW business school.

Denise Woods joins the University of the Sunshine Coast as PVC Students. She joins from CQU where she is an engaged research chair and director of the Centre for Regional Advancement of Learning.

 Don Markwell is the next warden of St Marks College at the University of Adelaide, commencing in November. He is a former warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne and now leads St Paul’s at the University of Sydney. Dr Markwell was an adviser to Chris Pyne as education minister.

Hala Batainah (ex Microsoft) is the new chair of the Canberra Innovation Network, which supports start-ups and SMEs. ANU, Canberra Institute of Technology, CSIRO, Data61, Uni Canberra and UNSW Canberra are members.

Jason Bainbridge is announced as executive dean of the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts and Design. He has most recently been at Swinburne U and he University of South Australia.