B2 is thinking what B1 was thinking

Back in September CMM suggested Glyn Davis would make an excellent ABC MD. Yesterday the learned Stephen Brook at The Australian reported Professor Davis is in the running for the job. Alas, it seems it is banana oil. Professor Davis tells CMM that, “it’s news to him.”

Greg Craven continues at ACU to 2022

Greg Craven will continue as vice chancellor of the Australian Catholic University until 2022. Professor Craven became VC in 2008, joining from the University of Notre Dame. He has navigated ACU across the high seas of demand driven funding growth and between the scylla of the Pyne plan to deregulate undergraduate fees and the charybidis of attacks on teacher education (important to ACU). Christopher Pyne’s teacher education ministerial advisory group, which Professor Craven chaired has saved the teacher educ industry from far worse criticism on student standards than it cops (CMM November 29).

Yesterday ACU chancellor John Fahey “warmly welcomed” Professor Craven continuing, saying his; “contributions to external forums in higher education, government and the church have strengthened the university’s profile and standing.” Not to mention his understated commentary, for example describing Kevin Rudd as a “short-term Australian messiah, a veritable cross between Hercules and Popeye the Sailorman” (CMM November 14).

Fundraisers on the Uni Sydney payroll

The University of Sydney has brought student fund-raisers back in house, ending an arrangement where they were employed by a consultancy. And quite right too, says National Tertiary Education Union branch president Kurt Iveson.  “Those jobs should be proper university jobs, with the wages and conditions set out in the university’s enterprise agreement.”

Set-back for Murdoch U in WA Supreme Court

Murdoch U went to the WA Supreme Court seeking an injunction against National Tertiary Education official Gabe Gooding and the union, “to restrain the defendants from publishing, on a website and in hard copy, an article containing statements of mixed fact and commentary critical of the university.”

On Friday Chief Justice Quinlan dismissed the application. “In the circumstances, having regard to: (a) what I find to be a relatively weak case (including the claim that the article would be likely to cause the university financial damage); and (b) the adverse effect that an injunction would have on freedom of expression, in my view, the balance of convenience does not favour an injunction being made in this case.” The decision is here.

But this is not the end. Murdoch U’s case against Ms Gooding and the union over statements about the university will still go to trial.

Ms Gooding declined to comment. Last night Murdoch U stated; “we reserve our right to defend our good reputation by taking legal action where necessary to enforce the withdrawal and to prevent further publication of false and misleading information by third parties. It is important to note the Court found Murdoch has an arguable case that the NTEU’s article as a whole conveys a meaning that could be characterised as misleading. The Court found there is some basis for maintaining that the NTEU’s statements are, strictly speaking, false.

Uni Newcastle VC Zelinsky sends a signal with first public statement

New University of Newcastle VC Alex Zelinsky has signalled gender equality on campus is a priority, making it the subject of his first public statement to the media. Professor Zelinsky and PVC R Deborah Hodgson have announced the university’s gender equality leadership pledge, open to all staff to sign. It consists of three commitments; making gender-equality a workplace priority; leading by example, and committing to improve gender balance on speaker panels.

The visa path less travelled: RUN explains how to grow international enrolments

The Regional Universities Network calls on government to create incentives for international students to study at its members’ country campuses. In its response to Education Minister Dan Tehan’s request for advice RUN proposals include:

* visa processing priority for internationals enrolling at regional unis

* “advantageous” post-study work rights

* tax deductions for tuition fees

* “advantageous” permanent residency points by increasing the existing five to ten-15

* scholarships

* transport concessions, assistance with housing/medical costs

* “settling-in” assistance

* free schooling for international students’ children

RUN also calls for a comms strategy that explains the overall strengths of studying and living in regional Australia. “Regional universities provide a rich lived experience for international students, with opportunities for close connections with Australian people and communities, as well as high quality education. Government can do more to promote this message.”

The network also calls for region-specific campaigns. “Funding could be provided to regional universities for participation in offshore campaigns, for visits by influencers from targeted markets and to build community, government and institutional connections.”

RUN shares the Innovative Research Universities’ concern (CMM yesterday) that regions need to be promoted as the equal of an urban education. “It is important to promote the message that the educational experience at regional campuses is as good academically as in city universities with the added benefits of the rich lived experience in regional destinations. The word ‘destination’ rather than ‘regional’ should be used.”  However, the RUN emphasis on incentives does not address the IRU warning; “any sense of encouragement to areas that are implied to be less attractive or interesting but needing a boost will not be effective.”

A whale swims into the private HE private provider pond

The private higher education lobby group has a new recruit, a big one. Navitas joins the Council of Private Higher Education as member 11. This is very good indeed for COPHE,  Navitas has 30 pathway programmes with universities around the world, two Australian HE providers of its own, making it the biggest council member by far.

NSW TAFE: over-spent but optimistic

A learned reader has had a good-look at NSW TAFE’s annual report, released Friday.

Among all the corporate-gush the report manages to miss emphasising a major achievement, just not a good one – total enrolments that were 570 000 in 2013 are now 474 000.

And then there is money, or the loss of it. TAFE lost $239m last financial year, $186m more than budgeted. This was due to a $65m revenue shortfall, “primarily due” to the Commonwealth changing the student loan system. Employee expenses were 7 per cent ($91m) up, largely due to moving from ten independent institutions to the One TAFE system.

As to staff, there were 400 fewer teachers last year than in 2013 (down to 5 458) and 300 more support staff (to 4568).

But fear not – all will be well, well, well-ish. TAFE says there will be a $60m loss in 2018-19, but revenues will rocket, with “sales of goods and services”, which sounds like student fees to CMM, increasing by 25 per cent or so, to $570m.

“How are they proposing to do this? It goes against all trends of declining income since One TAFE started two years ago. A very brave projection as Sir Humphrey might say,” the learned reader ruefully remarks.


Veteran Fairfax (remember Fairfax?) politics journalist Mark Kenny is joining ANU where he will be senior fellow at the Australia Studies Institute.