Never let policy people near announcements

“The new UDRHs will focus training activities in Modified Monash (MM) three to seven,” the PM announces health funding for WA unis, Friday (scroll down).

The bureaucracy babel fish translates UDRH as university department of rural health. Modified Monash rates locations from city to very remote. But why “modified Monash”? Presumably the PM’s office assumes WA voters know what it means.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

The scholarship of learning and teaching too often rates behind research and the demands of the working. It shouldn’t and it needed.  Shannon Johnston and Michelle Picard (Murdoch U) suggests ways it can be incorporated in the work of the “everyday scholar”.  This week’ selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Maree Meredith (Flinders U’s Poche Centre) proposes  new approached on closing the gap in  health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Morrison makes-nice with Curtin  and Edith Cowan  

The PM commits not much in WA campaign swing

The cost of Edith Cowan U’s “vertical campus” in “the heart of Perth” is going up

When announced the project, was costed at $245m from the Commonwealth, $300m from the university with the state governing providing the land. But now the two governments are kicking in an extra $49m and ECU is adding $60m – all up the project is costed at $853m, with the university up for $360M.  Mr Morrison announced the increase, calling it a “funding boost” – which must be campaign-speak for  budget blow-out.

$36m for Curtin and Edith Cowan rural health programmes

The prime minister also announced funding for departments of rural health, Curtin’s at Kalgoorlie and ECU in southwest WA (CMM suspects it will be at Bunbury). Both will teach nursing and allied health.

It’s another medical milestone for Curtin U, which opened its medical school in 2017. PM Abbott announced it in 2015 (CMM May 18), just months before he lost the job, which may, or may not, be an omen for Mr Morrison.


MOOC of the morning

Yet again, it’s Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching

Kym Fraser (then Swinburne U) and colleagues started it in 2018, because, ““most of us have to learn how to teach at the tertiary level and we can’t rely on teaching as we were taught” (CMM February 19 2020).

It’s still on the Canvas platform  and now comes from the Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching. Agnes Bosanquet and Marina Harvey (Macquarie U) co-lead. AsPro Bosanquet tweets the course has “reached most of the world.” Strange to relate, Greenland, the Scandis, and  central Africa aren’t uninterested.


Hard questions for Vic VCs

Victorian VCs praise the Victorian Government for funding research and capital works (CMM May 20 2020) – they may not be so supportive now

On Friday the state higher education minister Gayle Tierney released a letter to Victorian  VCs in which she asked for, “an update on how your university is working to address the issue of underpayment of casual staff to ensure it does not occur again.”

And while they were at it, she wants them to update her, “on how your university is working to reduce the level of insecure work and provide job security for your workforce.”

Responses to Minister Tierney’s requests will likely be the standard explanations of underpayment (unfortunate errors, being corrected) and casual employment (lots  of people like it, others don’t qualify for continuing jobs).

But what university spinners will not welcome is more attention for the two biggest reputational issues  some universities face.  What appears systemic underpayment of some staff and using contested interpretations of the Fair Work Act to deny long-serving casuals continuing employment is common at universities across the state.

It makes university managements look uncaring and self-serving – neither of which helps their case that Commonwealth underfunding is the cause of all their woes.


Rick Bennett becomes DVC of British University of Vietnam (teaching University of London and Staffordshire University programmes). He moves from ED Academic and Students at RMIT Vietnam.

John Molony becomes PVC and VP International at Deakin U. He takes over as VP from Gary Smith, who retired last year.