A big cyber-hi

Uni Sydney tells students semester two welcome week is on, on-line that is, so they “can prepare for classes and connect with teachers and classmates.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Michael Sankey (Griffith U) responds to Lin Martin’s  concerns with teaching and learning quality in the rush to on-line.

PhD student Lana Ly (UNSW) on moving from full-time lab to home all the time: do what works for you.

How Flinders U uses  Microsoft platforms to keep its community informed on COVID-19.

Andrew Harvey (La Trobe U). The COVID-19 burden weighs on disadvantaged students. This week’s essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Sue Gregory (UNE) and colleagues on classroom experience for teacher education students when schools are empty.

Uni rejects job protection framework

VC Craven says it is wrong for ACU

ACU’s not in: Australian Catholic University was first to reject the Job Protection Framework, the deal to reduce wages and conditions in return for protecting jobs. The deal was negotiated between the National Tertiary Education Union and a small group of VCs (CMM, Tuesday and Wednesday).

Not for us, says VC: “Such deals are being pushed by and designed for institutions facing vastly worse circumstances than ACU, with high enrolments of overseas students, and losses of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Vice Chancellor Greg Craven told staff yesterday.

And there’s another reason: Professor Craven added the deal included oversight by a committee of university-system and union appointees and ACU rejected “surrendering control of our response to the COVID-19 crisis to an external body. This is completely inconsistent with the legal and other responsibilities of the university senate.”

They will do it his way: He added that COVID-19 means ACU, “will have to deal with some significant financial constraints (and) inevitably, this will involve pain,” however, the university is “in a relatively good position compared to most (and) intends to mould its own response, carefully considering institutional interests and staff.”

Not a great start for the deal: ACU is a member of the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association. It’s president, Andrew Vann (Charles Sturt U) led the group of VCs which negotiated with the NTEU.

ACU’s announcement followed a cautious statement from Murdoch U late Wednesday, which stated, “we are closely reviewing the detail and that management would advise staff, “of our position in due course.” Murdoch U VC Eeva Leinonen is vice president of AHEIA.

The ACU union isn’t happy: NTEU branch president Leah Kauffmann responded robustly to Professor Craven yesterday, rejecting his views of the “intention and potential of the Jobs Protection Framework.”

The NTEU, without hesitation seeks to prioritise the well-being and security of university jobs and conditions and the Jobs Protection Framework is proposed to achieve this,” she says.

International students here to stay

There is no major change to movements in and out of the country



Cross-border movement of student visa holders is updated to May 10.

There is not much different from the last data, released on April 19, with 80 per cent of students overall in the country.

Of the top 50 visa holder countries, those with the largest proportion offshore are; Oman (69 per cent), Norway (59 per cent), USA (57 per cent), China (39 per cent) and Japan (37 per cent).

Those with the lowest offshore rates are; Zimbabwe (2 per cent), Kenya (2 per cent), Nepal (3 per cent), Nigeria (4 per cent) and Bhutan (4 per cent).

Uni Sydney delays second semester start

There’s more of the on-line same (but better)

Uni Sydney is delaying semester two by three weeks (to August 24) to, “give teaching staff the opportunity to build upon learnings from semester one in the preparation of on-line teaching for semester two.” “The volume of learning” will not change, with exams finishing on December 12.

Vice Chancellor Michael Spence tells staff he does not expect physical distancing rules, “to change soon” but there is planning for “some elements” of face-to-face teaching, “in the coming weeks.”

However, remote-learning will be in place for all of the semester.

More short-courses from private providers

The feds are directly funding 58 more undergraduate certificates via “mostly private providers”

They are additional to the 170 short-courses universities are providing and are on top of the funding for micro-courses at non-university higher education providers, Education Minister Dan Tehan announced last month.

The new NUHEP “undergraduate certificates” are in “national priority” occupation areas Mr Tehan has nominated as important for economic recovery and to upskill people in COVID-19 created un/under-employment

When the minister launched the broad programme in April there was HE community scepticism about whether the level of HELP funding made them worth universities while to teach.  Nor did the new “undergraduate certificate” impress qualification taxonomers.

But a month on Mr Tehan can claim a win, for now – universities continue to pile into the programme, there are places for NUHEPs to keep happy Coalition backbenchers and the short-courses suit a broader, and longer, ministerial agenda; “making Australia a leader in the delivery of micro-credentials.”

We will know whether it was all worth it when attrition/completion rates are analysed and HECS repayments reveal whether completer incomes increase.

New (and not so) performance reviews

After completing its report on TEQSA (CMM April 17) the Australian National Audit Office has turned to more entertaining agencies

It is having a look at how the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive are going at collections-management.

Which reminded CMM that we have never heard what David Tune’s review concluded on the National Archives, which complained it did not have all needed resources (CMM June 20 2019).  There’s a reason for that. The review started in April last year and Mr Tune filed his report to the  Attorney General, the portfolio where the archives sit, for consideration, in January. As far as CMM can tell the AG is still considering.

Appointments, achievements of the week

Véronique Ambrosini (Monash U.) is appointed a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management.

Margaret Gardner becomes interim chair of the Group of Eight.

Emma Hardy from consultants PwC takes up a six-month secondment as La Trobe U HR director. She replaces long-serving Fiona Reed who left Friday.

Sumit Lodhia (Uni SA) is re-elected to the board of the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand. Nicola Beatson is elected to the AFAANZ board.

Nancy Pachana (Uni Queensland) wins the (US) Clinical Society of Geropsychology’s Lawton Award for a distinguished contribution

Peter Phillips becomes deputy chancellor of James Cook U. He has been a member of the university’s council since 2009. Mr Phillips is a Cairns banker.

After a pilot programme at QUT, staff there become Associate Fellows (Indigenous) of the Higher Education Academy. The pilot was for staff to, “transform their practice and make Indigenous perspectives a key feature of the course learning.” Awards go to, Fiona Naumann, Louisa Coglan, Deanna Grant-Smith, Dominique Greer, Robyn Mayes, Ruari Elkington, Jenna Gillett-Swan, Melinda Laundon, Grace O’Brien and Lauren Woodlands.

Jennie Shaw is interim DVCA at Uni Adelaide, replacing Pascale Quester who is leaving to become Swinburne U VC. He takes over from Mike Brooks who is acting VC.

David Sibbritt is the inaugural head of UTS’s School of Public Health. It’s an internal appointment.

John Williams is acting provost at Uni Adelaide. He takes over from Mike Brooks who is acting VC.

Nicola Yelland (Uni Melbourne) receives the distinguished career contribution award from the American Educational Research Association.