no harbour city smiles with job fears at WSU and UNSW 

union chief McCulloch in Perth to encourage the comrades

 heads up: the week’s winners at work 

Charity cases

A learned reader points to online learning resource company BMS, which is looking for a rep to sell to universities. Because the job involves liaising with academics, “an element of compassion” is an important attribute.

Fri July 22

Job fears in east and west Sydney

CMM hears Western Sydney University management is moving to reduce staff via a new voluntary retirement scheme. The decision follows a 2 per cent “expenditure restraint” announced in April. Vice Chancellor Barney Glover‘s five year plan requires capital and DVC R Scott Holmes has advised university council on the need to spend up on research (CMM June 30). The university also faced an unexpected decline in enrolments earlier this year.

Across town, word at the University of New South Wales is that VC Ian Jacobs has a big announcement in the works on ways to pay for his bold five year plan. It’s expected towards the end of August and professional staff in admin areas said to be marked for cuts are worried. It is, of course, entirely coincidental that there is an event scheduled for business students called “don’t get a job, create one.” Staff wonder if there is a version in the works for them.

Inflated hopes

CSIRO comms people could not contain their excitement yesterday, tweeting a photo of an empty desk adorned with French and Australian flags and the news that in an hour the agency and FrancesCentre national d’études spatiales would sign “an historic ballooning agreement.” Sadly, it was not about a bi-lingual sequel to La-Haut.

CMM SM Conference Banner ad

Work choices

Griffith University has announced a new graduate employability programme will launch next year, just days after the University of Queensland released its new transformative teaching and learning strategy (CMM July 20). GU says it is reviewing teaching programmes to ensure students have access to options including work placements, internships, study programmes and classroom activities that “focus on graduate employability.”

While details were sparse yesterday Griffith U is obviously on-trend with universities that recognise the advantage of providing students with job-skills and access to employers as part of their degree. Macquarie, Swinburne, Deakin and UofQ are already committed to big pushes on employment. Many will follow.

Not so quiet on the western front

As enterprise bargaining goes in WA so it goes in the rest of the country and both sides in the negotiations, now on at all four public universities in the state, know it. The National Tertiary Education Union is keen on repeating its triumph in the last round when universities in the west agreed to its pay demands without much of a fight. The universities, with support from the national Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, are keen to see the reverse. Managements at Edith Cowan, Curtin and Murdoch are using similar keep-it-simple strategies in talks, demanding an end to the detail in agreements that maximise the union’s ability to slow change and assist staff. And the union is unhappy about it, so unhappy that it has also brought in national help in the form of Melbourne based NTEU national secretary Grahame McCulloch, who will talk to staff at Murdoch U on Monday, Curtin U on Tuesday and Edith Cowan at Thursday. His arrival early in bargaining, nobody is arguing about pay yet, demonstrates how seriously the state branch of the union takes negotiations.

Open Day of the day

La Trobe U’s open day will be information rich, but you will need a time machine to get there. Certainly there is a vast amount of advice for prospective students – talks for first in family to attend university, options for school leavers, mature age entry, funding support and more. One especially important session for many families in La Trobe’s market is how the tertiary admission market works. As ANU’s Marnie Hughes Warrington pointed out this week (CMM Tuesday) if you do not speak fluent ATAR the whole thing is a mystery.

There is also a treasury of talks across all disciplines on what to study, with synopses mainly written by people who are actually in touch with students.

Good stuff, but overall it looks like an open day from times before digital technology blurred the boundaries between learning and laughter – there is not one virtual reality product or games display, at least that CMM could find. It makes La Trobe look worthy – of course most staff will see nothing wrong with that, but students facing years of work to pay off HECS debts when they graduate might hope for some fun.


Name your price

As the University of Melbourne struggles for a better name for the proposed Parkville metro station than Monash (UniMelb VC in the 1920’s) Swinburne has acted. The station that serves its Hawthorn campus now has a big billboard identifying it as Swinburne Station. Yes, it’s just there for Open Day and yes the station is still officially Glenferrie. But somewhere in Public Transport Victoria an official is drawing up name right deals that will interest universities.

Adelaide applause

The University of Adelaide was out early yesterday congratulating new DFAT head Frances Adamson, who just happens to be a UoA economics graduate.

Heads up

The week’s winners at work

Western Sydney U VC Barney Glover will lead the transfer of Sydney’s Powerhouse technology museum from harbour-side to Parramatta in the city’s west, as new president of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Trust. He will be backed by another new member, University of Sydney robotics researcher Salah Sukkarieh.

Monique Skidmore is leaving the University of Queensland, where she is DVC International, for the University of Tasmania where she will become DVC Global, “taking responsibility for a portfolio of crucial importance for both the institution and the state.” Professor Skidmore started at UoQ in March 2004, in charge of international enrolments, overseas exchange and research collaboration.

Murdoch U’s new leadership team is in place with VC Eeva Leinonen appointing a DVC International. Lyn Karstadt joins from the University of Southern Queensland where she is dean of health, engineering and science.

Swinburne VC Linda Kristjanson is the new chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. It’s an interesting move given Swinburne is not one of the very establishment partners in the centre – University of Melbourne, the Peter MacCallum centre, Walter and Eliza Hall and a bunch of research institutes. Professor Kristjanson‘s research focus is palliative care.

The British Academy has inducted ANU archaeologist Peter Bellwood for his work, which focuses on Southeast Asia and OceaniaProfessor Bellwood has been at ANU since 1973, which he says, is “a very good place because of its strong base in Asian studies.” He follows ANU’s Jane Stapleton, inducted last year who is now moving to lead Christ’s College, Cambridge (CMM June 30)

Anna Lavelle is standing down as CEO of industry lobby Ausbiotech to be replaced in September by chief operating office Glenn Cross.

John Kelly is the new CEO of the National Heart Foundation. The UTS Health Faculty adjunct professor moves from Aged and Community Services Australia.

Julie Willis is the new dean of architecture at the University of Melbourne where she is now PVC Research Capability. She replaces former dean Tom Kvan who became PVC Global Engagement at the end of June. Professor Willis will take over in November, until then former VC of Canterbury (NZ) and UTas and sometime dean of architecture at Deakin U, Daryl Le Grew will act.

Rob Grenfell is CSIRO‘s new director of health and biosecurity, tasked with making the organisation “a powerhouse of health innovation.” He joins from health insurer BUPA, where he was Australia and New Zealand medical directorDr Grenfell is a public health physician with decades of experience.

John Wooders from UTS is a new fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory. He joins Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller and nine other, all US based, economists as new fellows.