Safety-first at Uni Melbourne

Staff protected against bar-fridge risk

A learned reader points to the university’s standard operating procedure for using this perilous appliance, (including always clean-up and keep clear of flammable liquids). This is a commendable commitment to work-place safety in the unaccountable absence of national university standards for fridge safety (where is the Higher Education Standards Panel, huh?). It is certainly to the level set by UNSW security and traffic management, which once warned people against workplace napping, “deep sleepers can sleep through fire alarms”, (CMM September 7 2015).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning:

* Cathy Stone (Uni Newcastle) on the mass of students who don’t study on campus and why universities should stop policies and processes designed for school leavers,  here .

*  A learned reader explains how the government’s international student visa risk rating works and why it matters for universities here.

* And, an insider’s view of NHRMC Investigator Grant peer reviews by Wendy Ingram (Adelaide Medical School, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of Adelaide) here .

UNSW on track with Key Path

The university’s partnership progresses with on-line programme management services provider Key Path Education

Back in July UNSW announced it would design and teach masters in data science and analytics, with Key Path providing product research and student recruitment and support. (CMM July 4).  Observers of UNSW On-line noted Key Path’s Steve Fireng and Ryan O’Hare on campus this week.

Graduate employment to drive university funding growth

The employment outcomes of a university’s graduates will deliver 40 per cent of Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding increases from next year

Education Minister Dan Tehan announces the new model, which is based on the work of the Wellings panel, this morning.

The other three criteria, each worth 20 per cent, are student success, student experience, and participation of Indigenous, low socio-economic status, and regional and remote students.

In 2020, the performance funding pool is $80m, rising “over following years” to 7.5 per cent of CGS.

“The performance-based funding model that has been finalised makes an explicit link between funding and one of the key goals of every university: to produce job-ready graduates with the skills to succeed in the modern economy,” Mr Tehan says.

The minister added the model is not “punitive,” that universities that do not meet performance targets, “will be supported to improve their performance.”

Victoria U’s big win in performance awards

It’s another achievement for the energised uni

Victoria U’s big win in performance awards

It’s another achievement for the energised uni

VU is the big achiever in the Association of Tertiary Education Management awards, announced Monday night, winning in five of the ten categories.

So how did VU do it? Here’s a hint – yesterday the university announced a pilot professional development “festival” running for a week at end November. Managers are asked to organise so teams can attend in whole or part.

There will be six streams, with “almost” all presentations led by VU staff. “Sessions will include everything from developing your leadership capability, to wellness and creativity. Recognising and celebrating our staff will be a key theme throughout the festival” Senior DVC Marcia Devlin says.

The event is intended to address staff demand for PD revealed in a staff survey.

It’s another example of VU’s transformative culture – in February management could muster just 33 per cent support of staff voting on a management backed, union opposed enterprise agreement. Since then, however VU has a had run of great results in education (driven by its block- teaching model) and campus culture. Last month the university system’s HR group recognised Victoria U for “substantial positive change,”  demonstrated in a staff survey (CMM September 5).

Murdoch U’s great expectations for researchers

A draft proposal of research publication and income expectations at Murdoch U scares some staff but management says it has been “updated”  

Murdoch University is developing an “academic career framework” which management states is, “to provide a transparent and more consistent approach to probation and promotion along with outcome and workload expectations.”

A proposal circulated to staff provided targets for all academic levels by broad field of research.

Level E academics in engineering would need to punch out eight publications a year in well-regarded journals and generate $158 000 in research income.  In agriculture and vet science the quota is 11 publications and $288 000.  In the humanities, the numbers are not as large, four publications and $83 000 for a Level E in history and archaeology – although two publications and $31 000 might strike career commencers at Level A as an ask.

But not to worry, the university advises that these figures are “part of an initial set of data which has now been updated. The framework is being developed based on feedback from staff shared at a number of focus group sessions and through written submissions.”

Singers who shine for Southern Cross

Southern Cross U noted International Music Day (Tuesday) with a pick of the top 50 female recording artists, ever 

Staff from Contemporary Music and the School of Arts and Social Sciences chose women “at the pioneering forefront of, global musical styles emerging in the 20th  and 21st centuries.”

The ranking, they say, was constructed, “through the sonic lens of 21st century Australian contemporary and popular musical culture.

Quite a lot of Australian musical culture.

The top ten are, Mamie Smith (blues), Arizona Dranes (African-American gospel), Sister Rosetta Tharpe, (blues), Edith Piaf (French folk ballad), Billie Holliday (jazz) Sara and Maybelle Carter (bluegrass, country), Ella Fitzgerald (jazz), Aretha Franklin (soul) Dolly Parton (country) and Helen Reddy (uncategorised).

Yes, Taylor Swift is there, at 36. So is a big bunch of Australians to back Ms Reddy; Judith Durham (20), Olivia Newton John (22), Ruby Hunter (24), Renee Geyer (28), Chrissie Amphlett (30), Kylie Minogue (32), Deborah Conway (42), Tina Arena (44), Sandy Evans (45), Kate Crawford (48), Christine Anu (49) and Kasey Chambers (50).

Feds rate international student Visa risk

The Department of Home Affairs has an international student visa risk framework which rates the home country of visa applicants and the Australian institutions where they seek to study

The feds do not release a complete data set but expert analysis indicates how public universities fare.

Overall, CMM understands eighteen universities receive a top-level One rating. They include all Group of Eight institutions and the technology-focused universities. A further sixteen, including members of the other lobbies and independents, are rated Level Two.

Yesterday universities were responding to the new ratings. A spokesperson for Southern Cross University told CMM, “SCU has adjusted its international recruitment processes during 2019 in response to an increased risk profile in South Asia, identified late last year. This is consistent with the changing source country status for students from India, Pakistan and Nepal applying for study in Australia. The more stringent approach is focused on the offshore recruitment process”

And a Murdoch U spokesperson said, “Murdoch University is aware of the recent changes to the documentation requirements for some students intending to study here. These changes to country and university ratings occur twice a year.”

In Features this morning, a learned reader explains how the rating works and why it matters for universities.

Ministers observing ASQA

The recent Skills Ministers’ Communique showed all Ministers are clearly focussed on ASQA and its performance


 The Communique stated that:

* effective regulation is central to the quality of and confidence in the VET sector

* the national regulator, ASQA, should improve its engagement with the VET sector and expand its educative role

* the Braithwaite Review and the Joyce Review emphasised that it is critical to ensure that training providers are aware of, and supported to understand, their compliance requirements, and that regulatory decisions are transparent

Ministers went on to call for immediate work to be done to reform ASQA’s regulatory approach, improve confidence in the regulator and support continuous improvement in training provision across the VET sector.

When you look at what ministers are calling for it is clear that they are expecting significant cultural change to occur within the organisation. Based on the experiences of providers that I am familiar with (and the more balanced comments on social media) senior staff within ASQA have some hard thinking to do about whether they can genuinely shift to new ways of working with those they regulate.

Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.

Jane McLoughlin is leaving Monash U

The VP strategy and governance will leave at year end

VC Margaret Gardner announced her departure yesterday. Ms McLouhglin held policy and staff roles between joining Monash U in 2009 and taking up her present position in 2017. “Her departure will be an enormous loss to me personally, but also to the wider university community,” Professor Gardner told staff yesterday.

Applause at ATEM

The Association for Tertiary Education Management announces its annual awards, including

Outstanding Achiever: Trish McCluskey, (Victoria University)

Research Management: VU Model Strategy Team, (Victoria University)

Community Engagement: VU Engagement Team, (Victoria University)

School and Faculty Management:  Professional Staff team, School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, (Flinders University)

Marketing, Communications and Public Relations: Marketing and External Relations Team, (Australian Catholic University)

People and Culture: HR Development and Engagement Team, (University of Southern Queensland)

Innovation: e-Assessments Programmes Team, (Monash University)

Student Engagement: Te Tari Takawaenga – Maori Kiaison Liaison Services, Auckland University of Technology

Excellence in Leadership: Naomi Dempsey, (Victoria University)

Policy and Governance: Fion Choon Boey Lim, (Victoria University)