Great scot! No time travel

Scientists have not built the flux capacitor that powers Dr Emmett Brown’s time machine, the University of Queensland reports. However, researchers at UoQ, RMIT and ETH Zurich have “proposed a device which uses the quantum tunnelling of magnetic flux around a capacitor which they say can break time-reversal symmetry.” Everybody clear on that?  In other news the Tardis has not landed at Saint Lucia.

UofQ says it’s negotiated out and time for staff to vote on a new agreement

Aidan Byrne has had enough. The University of Queensland provost sent an all-staff email yesterday understatedly announcing that he has had it with enterprise bargaining going nowhere. While he prefers working with the campus unions, if necessary he will put management’s offer to staff, without their support. “It would certainly be possible for the university to ask staff to vote to endorse a new agreement proposed by the university,” Professor Byrne wrote.

The big outstanding issue is said to be extending the span of hours in which professional staff can work a shift.

There is a unions-management meeting tomorrow, at which the university says it “will make every effort to resolve outstanding matters.” But deal or no deal an enterprise offer is going to a staff vote. “Subject to the outcome of these discussions, I would expect a vote of staff to be held as soon as possible,” Professor Byrne advised.

Expert researchers not called

UNSW education researchers wonder if it is something they said. The university’s Gonski Institute for Education says head Adrian Picoli and incoming professor, Pasi Sahlberg, will, “will explain the political and practical implications,” of Gonski 2.0 at an event tonight. Mr Picoli is a former NSW minister for education and Professor Sahlberg is an education policy researcher from Finland. Good-o, but what of USW academics who have spent careers researching Australian schools and students? Academics in the School of Education are feeling ignored, a learned reader says.

Terry to continue at Curtin U to 2023

Deborah Terry will continue as Curtin U VC for a second term, taking her through to 2023. It will be a challenge to continue the pace of her first four years, in which Curtin created a medical school, opened campuses in Dubai and Mauritius plus building a MOOC list (via edX), notably in the career-study micromasters market. And because every Perth university is also a don’t-miss-this-development opportunity, Curtin is now working on a $500m project at the Bentley campus.

And the Curtin community appears relatively quiet and content. To an extent this is due to the university’s enterprise bargaining philosophy (settle fast, settle generous) but Curtin U also runs IR reforms, just without brawling.

Then there is research. In 2013 Curtin U was in the 400-500 bracket of the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Last year it cracked the top 200, ranking ninth in Australia.  Back in 2016 Professor Terry set-out Curtin’s three-point research development strategy; support early and mid-career researchers to nurture stars, broaden research capacities and encourage knowledge transfer, (CMM August 1 2016). It’s working.

Curtin VC sets her agenda

By Deborah Terry 

I am delighted to have been re-appointed as vice chancellor of Curtin University for another five years.  For me, core priorities will be ensuring that Curtin’s upward trajectory continues, particularly in relation to: (a) delivering a revitisalised precinct at the northern end of our Bentley campus – this will include at least 900 new student beds; short stay accommodation; commercial space for industry partners, all designed to transform the university into an urbanised education and research hub that connects industry, business and community; (b) achieving our goal of having a more “balanced” research portfolio across both researcher-driven and demand-driven research; and (c) working with the state government and the other WA universities to enhance Perth’s attractiveness as a study destination; and (d) ensuring that our course offerings and modes of delivery meet the future needs of students and the labour market.

The recent political debate over the funding of universities has created policy and financial uncertainty for the sector.  Policy certainty is critical as we work to play our role in meeting the needs of the new knowledge economy.  This is in relation not only to ensuring that our graduates are well positioned to meet the needs of a rapidly changing labour market, but that universities play a core role as part of a vibrant and more connected innovation ecosystem.

Mixed metaphor of the morning

“With the UK HE sector facing a number of headwinds, Tim Armstrong considers how HEIs can prepare themselves to cope with the shifting landscape.” PWC pitches for British business.

Appointments: Scarce stays on at UniAdelaide

Kevin Scarce is appointed to a third term as chancellor of the University of Adelaide. Rear Admiral Scarce will now serve until November 2020. He became the university’s 16th chancellor in 2014. The appointment is seen as providing support for new VC Peter Rathjen as he develops a new strategic plan.

Ashley Hay is the new editor of the Griffith Review, a JV of the university and publisher Text. GU says Dr Hay is “a distinguished author, journalist and editor.” She replaces founding editor Julianne Schultz.

Chongmin Song is promoted to director of the UNSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety.

Airborne earlier

It’s not just RMIT that includes a drone licence in degrees (CMM yesterday). A learned reader reports that Griffith U offers a UAV licence in its bachelor of aviation. GU was airborne last year which seems to shoot-down RMIT’s first in the air claim.

Good news (who would have thought!) for SA for-profit trainers

There’s good news for private training providers, the first, on CMM’s count, since Adam Smith was a boy.  South Australia’s new Liberal state government has increased the number of public-funded courses that are not TAFE-exclusive (thanks to a learned reader for the pointer). This reverses a trend started by the celebrated Gail Gago. Back in May 2015 (CMM May 22) the then Labor training minister said because TAFE needed time to lift its game it needed a big majority of publicly-funded training places in the state.

RMIT enlists industry partners to deliver digitally

RMIT VC Martin Bean says “digital disruption is changing the way people study, work and live and many of our students are looking for flexible, targeted and industry-focused learning options,” which explains the university’s new suite of online courses badged as Digital Transformation. They are; human centred design, product development and innovation, digital marketing fundamentals, CX (presumably customer experience) strategy and design and digital delivery with Agile software development.

The units are developed with real estate digital advertiser REA Group, Tigerspike (“specialised enterprise mobility”) and Paper Giant, “strategic design consultancy that helps organisations understand and solve complex problems.”

Units are six weeks and $770 each.