Who would have thought

“UNSW celebrates science at the Sydney Science Festival,” when the surprise wears off, note the programme, here.

The right rankings for Macquarie U

 “We get very fixated about university rankings that count for a couple of things, but don’t tell the whole picture,” Macquarie U VC S Bruce Dowton tells staff

“For me, renown is the whole story,” he adds, which is built on, um, rankings (just not those that are aggregated scores).

Many parts of the university across humanities, arts and social sciences, as well as the STEM fields, are represented in the top 100 in the world. Globally, our philosophy department is the highest ranked department in this university,” Professor Dowton says.

While the VC did not specify which rankings, Macquarie U is in the global top 100 for six subjects in last month’s Academic Ranking of World Universities discipline list, (although the ARWU does not include a bunch of HASS subjects). UNSW has 38, Uni Sydney 26 and UTS nine.

Organising micro-credentials

There’s a project to get micro-credentials for higher education teaching in order

According to the Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching, “several universities” have a range of programmes “with the intention to micro-credential.” The class of credentials is also important as universities expand teaching-specialist positions, which will need, “evidence-base and pathways for academics in these positions to promotion and fellowships.”

“Much is to be gained in understanding the potential for validation, stackability and cross-institution articulation of professional development and exit pathways to probation, promotion, advanced higher education fellowships and graduate certificates,” CAULLT announces.

Experts from the Innovative Research Universities are accordingly setting to work on a taxonomy of micro-credentials for CAULLT, to be piloted next year. Maree Dinan-Thompson from James Cook U is lead investigator.

Back to basics in recruiting students for Charles Sturt U

Charles Sturt U is down (a bit) on new demand from on-line and international prospective students but there’s a plan in place

The university has a new advertising agency and a corporate campaign, “creating a world worth living in.”  But CSU is also building the brand by improving the products students experience. Student services is “transforming” next month with a reorganisation intended to make “sense for students, staff and external stakeholders. And the university is “scaling up sales and student recruitment activity,” including “re-engaging with community groups and secondary schools.”

“We want to take back students within our campus catchments,” a staff briefing states.

Another voice for uni workers

But nobody is reporting what people think campus by campus

Most university managements run the annual VOICE staff survey, which provide colour coded reports on the campus mood. Good, bad and indifferent, the results are rarely released, (Scott Bowman, the recently retired VC of CQU was an exception) presumably lest people (who CMM?) make uncharitable comparisons between morale on comparable campuses.

This makes the overall mood of HE workers hard to read –and makes the case for the National Tertiary Education Union’s own staff survey, about to start. Regrettably, results aren’t broken down by institution, at least not publicly.

Live from CQU

CQU is convening a virtual conference on scholarship of tertiary teaching

“It is aimed at bringing together teaching scholars from across all teaching platforms to share insights and best practice.”

Presenters and their PowerPoints, will get 15 minutes to address issues appropriate to four themes, professional development for VET and HE teachers, ed tech, student assessment and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education. It will run live (and be recorded) on October 8. Deadline for is papers is August 23.

Research by candle-light

It’s week two of Elsevier journals being absent from the University of California

The giant for-profit publisher pulled the plug after contract negotiations failed early this year over differing views on price and open access.

U Cal Davis is suggesting ways for researchers to cope, including a seven-day available-in-hours inter-library loan. This cannot be going doing well with researchers who believe journal articles and data in the Elsevier system are an essential utility, the intellectual equivalent of electricity.

When users neither know, nor care what content actually costs they do not take its absence well, or have much sympathy with OA arguments.

Appointments, achievements

The biomedical learning and teaching building at Monash U’s Clayton campus wins the education category at the Victorian Architecture Awards for Denton Corker Marshall

QUT is making its own Anthony Clarke a doctor of science, an honour last awarded ten-years back. Professor Marshall is honoured for his research on fruit flies of the Asia-Pacific.

Amanda Barbosa (Murdoch U) wins the Odile Bain Memorial Prize, awarded by journal Parasites and Vectors for research on med/vet parasitology.  Dr Barbosa studies ticks.