Room for all

Trinity College at Uni Melbourne is light-on for international students for its pathway programme

So, it has moved face-to-face classes to the college campus at Parkville and leased space to University High School which needs a replacement space, a fire meant Years Eight and Nine are class-less. (Except of course, on lock-down days).

The agreement runs to end June, but surely there will not be a problem if Uni High needs longer – the chance of international students arriving by then can’t be good.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Tim Pitman (Curtin U) on support for students with a disability. Good services are undermined, “by a single bad actor, process or learning design.”  It makes the case for making disability awareness training mandatory he argues. It’s a new selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) on the universities that need, really need, international students taking coursework masters and what their absence means for coffers and campus life.

Merlin Crossley argues thinking small is a strategy for success when building a research career.

Four ways to protect against cyber attack

The threat is only going to increase in terms of magnitude and impact

“As mass-connectivity and sensor driven digital campuses become a reality – enabled by next-generation technologies – university leaders will need to take secure a much larger surface area,” Cisco and Optus warn. In Features this week, they propose four ways unis can respond.

And how large, pray, will that surface area be?  “The rapid (and permanent) shift to virtual learning and remote teaching and administration has completely changed the education landscape and pose opportunities to reimagine what the work and learning experience looks like for staff and students alike,” they also explain.

Dirk Mulder on the new big thing in international study

With borders closed Australian providers are building foundations for TNE 2.0


Traditional trans-national involves Australian institutions delivering courses off-shore, face to face, either by their own staff or with an infrastructure partner. But the pandemic is driving a new model: providing curriculum on-line at partner university campuses.

Stepping-up in Shanghai 

Uni Sydney, with Study Group Australia through its Taylor’s College pathway provider, are combining with Shanghai Institute of Technology to do this at the new Sydney Shanghai Centre. It’s for students unable to travel to Australia because of COVID-19 restrictions. It will open in March for a maximum 60 students enrolled in the university’s foundation programme.

Virtual learning in a campus environment is a good mix says SGA’s Alex Chevrolle. “Students are keen for additional opportunities for interaction and our new centre in Shanghai means students can also experience invaluable face-to-face engagement with peers.”

 Home but away from UWA

UWA recognised early that international students outside Australia would still want a campus experience. DVC Tayyeb Shah says over 50 per cent of UWA’s Chinese enrolments participate in its learning centre model. *

Mr Shah says early research on supporting internationals outside WA revealed that while some are comfortable studying in their family home, many want a traditional campus experience. Students prioritising community, sporting clubs and access to services led UWA to go for a campus partnership model, instead of creating a dedicated space in a corporate environment.

But while popular, it isn’t Crawley. These students are a cohort on someone else’s campus, which means making them feel like they are part of UWA is an on-going challenge.

And it isn’t cheap. UWA pays a campus access fee per head with students picking up the cost of on- campus accommodation.

But while it costs UWA, Shah insists it is part of the university’s commitment to ensure students can continue to access UWA degrees in a more supported and connected way and which will continue to connect.

Mr Shah says the model is not a flash in the pandemic pan and will continue after the plague passes – it has much wider appeal.

* UWA has learning centres at four Chinese universities: Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, (Tianmuhu); Northeast Forestry University, (Harbin); Southwest University, (Beibei Campus), Chongqing; and Soochow University, (Suzhou).

Plus, there are learning centres for articulation students at South China University of Technology; Guangdong University of Finance and Economics; and Guangdong University of Finance.

 Not Clayton nor Caulfield, but still, it’s a Monash campus

Monash U also understood early that it needed to offer a campus experience where students are.  Last June VC Margaret Gardener optimistically announced “a new learning site” would be created at its site in Suzhou, for commencing Chinese students, “who may be able to transfer to other Monash campuses in 2021,” (CMM June 2).

And in November a graduate school opened there, with Southeast University. It teaches Monash students, Monash classes, for Monash masters, in business and banking and finance.

Smart selection. As Frank Larkin points out (CMM Friday), international students taking Australian coursework masters like to study on campus.

And Monash U has a bunch of them, Professor Larkins placed it in a 2019 paper as one of the top-five by enrolments.

Monash U says the arrangement at Southeast U is working well and that it is looking at expanding the model to its campuses in Prato (Italy), Jakarta and Malaysia.

Southern Cross U’s new structure starts

The university has reorganised its academic units from six schools to four faculties, Health, Science-Engineering, Education, Business-Law-Arts.

The change was announced in October (CMM October 15). SCU also starts its block teaching model, adopted last winter (CMM June 18).

Macquarie U sticks with staff cuts

Management has consulted with the workforce but is not swayed from its plan to reduce professional staff costs by $25m this year and those of academics by an extra $19.2m (CMM November 4, December 9).

VP People, Nicole Dower tells staff that “some adjustments” are made following staff consultation, however the professional services transformation plan is on

So is the prop for academics; although $6m in savings from voluntary redundancies is “providing some progress” towards the $25.2m total. And plans for head-count cuts will only occur in three faculties. Arts “has achieved its 2021 savings target” from voluntary redundancies “and other employment savings.”

Other academics will get another chance to leave voluntarily.

Ms Dower adds, “additional insights” into the saving plans will be provided by Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton at a staff “town hall meeting” today.

Perhaps some-one will ask for the number of people who have lost jobs over the last couple of years, including casuals. 

Compare and contrast

The Reps committee inquiry into adult literacy holds its first public hearing tomorrow

As expected (CMM February 11) it will be interesting from the start. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment will give evidence on what the Commonwealth does now. The Productivity Commission, which proposed ideas to help adults learn in its recent review of the National Skills Agreement is also on.

CMM suspects distinguishing the two sets of evidence will not be hard

Griffith U is looking for change-outcome experts

The university was firing, now its hiring

Griffith U is, “seeking motivated and high performing individuals to join our team.” In particular GU wants people experienced, “in delivering complex, large-scale organisational change outcomes with a focus on the people related aspects of successful transformation.”

They will work on implementing the Roadmap to Sustainability plan, which sets out a transformed structure. When, originally announced the plan was for 299 jobs to go, and for restructures in administration and changes in “academic activity,” (CMM November 3).

And lest anybody assume it was an over-reaction to COVID-19 R2S (as management names it) is blunt about the need for change. “At a whole-of-institution level, Griffith has a higher ratio of professional to academic staff and appears over-resourced across professional service functions relative to comparable institutions across the sector.”

Plus, “Griffith is relatively over-indexed on teaching design, development and delivery and teaching administrative functions relative to other universities.”

The plan does not include the university “exit a discipline” but there will be a thousand plus changes to courses, planned to, “release over 51,000 teaching hours through rationalising or remediating reviewed underperforming course instances.”

The unspecified number of jobs the university is now recruiting to work on the restructure are for a maximum 12 months and the PD includes a bunch of requirements – but not one which successful applicants will probably need, a thick skin when it comes to dealing with upset staff.

The best new year

“There’s no better year than 2021 for new beginnings and Canberra’s uni has a new hashtag that says it like it is,” one of the universities in the national capital, via Twitter, yesterday.  It’s UniCBR. Yes, like the airport.  How fortunate this year just happens to be ‘21.

Appointments, achievements

Courtney Cardow joins Uni Queensland as Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit. She moves from Griffith U where she was senior manager for the GUMURRII Student Success Unit at Griffith University.

Rory Medcalf (ANU) joins the Scientific Advisory Council of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

 Amanda Nettelbeck (Australian Catholic U and Uni Adelaide) receives the ANZ Law and History Society’s 2020 prize for legal history for Indigenous Rights and Colonial Subjecthood (Cambridge UP).