There’s more in the mail

As well as the CMM daily news this week David Myton talks to the endlessly energetic ANU DVC Marnie Hughes Warrington about her passions for innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education. Plus, there’s a review of the what universities do to prepare graduates for a world where jobs keep changing. And a wrap on why work integrated learning is tougher than it sounds. Scroll up for the links.

Deakin does it again with a world best for sports science

Deakin University tops the Shanghai Ranking (the ARWU as was) in sports science for the second year in a row. The University of Queensland also is steady in fifth position. Overall the global top ten is unchanged, with universities moving up and down by one to three places.

Last year a learned reader suggested the inaugural ranking was perhaps the first ever global number one for an Australian university and the first time a top Australian spot went to a non Go8 institution. And now Deakin has done it again.

The University of Melbourne is the year’s major Australian improver, lifting 16 places to 30 in the world

Other Australian place getters are Edith Cowan at 19, down five on last year, UWA at 20, down two places and Victoria U at 21 down two. ACU is down three to 40th, followed by QUT, which slips one spot to 44th. The University of Newcastle just makes the top 50, at 49th – improving from the 51-100 bracket last year. The University of Sydney clings on to a best 50 spot, down two from 48 last year.

ANZ universities also making the cut are:

51-100: Auckland University of Technology, Griffith U, Murdoch U, University of Auckland, University of Otago

101-150: Charles Sturt U, Curtin U, Federation U, Massey U, UTS, University of the Sunshine Coast

151-200: James Cook U, University of Canberra

201-300: Lincoln University, University of Waikato, University of South Australia

Early achievers

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia has announced the Paul Bourke Early Career Researchers for 2018.They are; Elise Sargeant (criminology) Griffith U, Mark Humphery-Jenner (corporate governance) UNSW, Amy King (China-Japan relations) ANU, Daniel King (psychology) UniAdelaide.

Top equity group students under-represented in high status Go8 courses

Students from equity groups are more likely to enrol in high-status courses in universities outside the Group of Eight, according to Erica Southgate’s new equity fellowship report, Fair connection to professional careers. She produced the report for the National Centre for the Study of Equity in Higher Education at Curtin U.

Dr Southgate found that students from equity groups enrolled in IT, engineering, medical studies, physiotherapy and law at G08 institutions, “make up a remarkably small percentage of their field of education cohort.”

“Students from equity groups are far more likely to be enrolled in high-status degrees in less elite universities and that these students make up a remarkably small percentage of their FoE cohort in Go8 universities in particular. From an equity perspective, such patterns of unequal distribution require concerted attention,” she argues.

“It is imperative that universities expand and innovate around pipeline, enabling and alternative pathway programs into high-status degrees for students from equity groups. … If the Go8 universities are genuinely committed to equity, as some of their documentation suggest then they need to substantially improve the proportion of their student cohort who are from equity groups, particularly in high-status degrees. To not do so, and yet continue to make claims that they are concerned stakeholders in the equity field, would be disingenuous,” Dr Southgate suggests.


Not to be missed

Macquarie U VC S Bruce Dowton is inviting staff to mark his five years as VC (his second term of seven is just starting) at an event on October 5th where everybody can “recommit ourselves to our shared goals, the pursuit of knowledge, and service to our students and community.” As there is an RSVP for attendance (doubtless for catering purposes and the like) perhaps going might be wise.


Expert engagement

Some 50 staffers from 20 universities meet at Western Sydney U today for a planning forum with study-support partner Studiosity. UNSW associate science dean Chris Tisdell, former La Trobe DVC John Rosenberg and IRU VCs’ Fellow Jessica Vanderlelie and colleagues will talk about what they want next from Studiosity – which they likely will get. Last year’s forum decided the service, then called Your Tutor, needed a new name which it now has.

$9m shortfall leads to Griffith U proposing science schools merge

Griffith University plans to restructure its science schools to address changing student demand and deal with a $9m loss on taught load this year.

Student expectation and behaviour has been changing. Demand for increased study flexibility is growing, driven by the need for ‘any time any place’ interdisciplinary education and the merging of study and paid work. The question is how best to equip graduates for the challenging employment environment ahead, while at the same time maintaining a competitive research base,” PVC Sciences Andrew Smith, tells staff in a restructure proposal.

The university also needs to address resource distribution with two science schools now maintaining separate infrastructure groups and maths also taught by two teams.

The university proposes reducing STEM schools from four to three by merging the schools of environment and natural sciences into a new school of environment and science. Staff in architecture and aviation would join an expanded school of engineering and built environment and there will be a new data sciences discipline group in ICT.

There is no word on academic job cuts although Professor Smith mentions voluntary redundancies in the first instance. A university wide admin review is expected next year which would cover changes to administration plus science and technical work. It follows a VR round last year.

Staff have until October 12 to comment.

They wish

The EU’s Eurydice education info network calls on universities to go easy on emphasising rankings. “Perhaps well-ranked universities should be more wary of marketing themselves as the ‘x best university‘ when they are aware that the foundations for the claim are rather hollow. Equally institutions outside the rankings – but still providing life-changing opportunities to many people – should not feel that they have to justify their existence.”  They won’t and they will.

Research with China

There are six $1m pots for researchers working with Chinese partners. A federal government programme has $1m grants over three years for work with Chinese researchers and an industry partner. The feds prefer research in advanced manufacturing, med tech and pharmaceuticals and low emission energy resources/clean energy.


One way to silence university lobbyists

TAFE Directors Australia and private providers ACPET and COPHE are running a unity ticket on higher education reform, regardless of what the Senate does with the present bill.

The TAFE leaders make common cause with the Australian Council for Private Education and Training and the Council of Private Higher Education in protesting at favourable treatment of public universities in the government’s legislation.

They call for “equitable and fair access” to higher education for students at private universities and non-university HE providers, who are charged a 25 per cent levy on FEE HELP loans, “simply for choosing a provider other than a university.”

And they argue their members should have equal access to the sub degree places the government wants universities to teach.

Private universities and NUHEPs provide real alternatives and choices for students seeking to access higher education. Many focus on limited fields of education with courses targeting the needs of their students and industry. This includes fields including theology, applied psychology, creative industries, health and public safety,” the peak bodies state.

The only possible advantage for Simon Birmingham in adopting any of these ideas now is that it would shut the very voluble public universities up – what with their becoming speechless with rage.