There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Paul Farnhill (Curtin U) on equity in HE – it’s not happening as expected or intended. It is a new essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in higher education.

Plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the happy addiction of scientific research.

And Frank Larkin (Uni Melbourne) on how (really, really) exposed Group of Eight unis are to COVID-19.

Border blocks on open-learning

Universities are scrambling to get courses on-line and into China, in the hope that students who want to study in-person here will study in cyber-space. Convincing them isn’t everything

But while they are focused on content and tech, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment has advice on what the Chinese Government thinks about on-line international education from overseas.

Which is not much.

DESE advices, the agency in charge, the China Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange, “does not currently recognise qualifications earned via cross border distance learning. ‘Online degrees’ therefore, are not recognised.”

DESE adds it has asked about blended learning and told that there will be a response, “in due course.”

Universities that want to increase content-speed by using a server in China need a licence from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Uni SA hiring for new structure

The second-round of recruiting for Uni SA’s new academic structure is underway but one senior job is still not filled

Applications invited for deans of research and programmes in five of the seven peak academic units, created out of last year’s comprehensive re-design.

The university is also still looking for an executive dean of clinical and health sciences. This was the only ED position not filled internally in December (CMM December 20). They need to get cracking; the new structure is scheduled to start in April.

He’s from tiger land

Tehan’s working with the Yellow and Black

There’s no faulting Education Minister Dan Tehan for work-ethic, turning out the other night for a graduation at the Richmond Institute of Sports Leadership, a JV between the football club and Swinburne U and a pathway to higher education (CMM July 4 2018). As an example of the “job-ready” courses he is keen on it would be hard to beat.

That Mr Tehan describes himself “as a passionate supporter” of Richmond FC might have made the night business and pleasure.

Problems with first-in-line plan for China students

Who would be head of queue

On Thursday, the PM announced the COVID-19 ban on travel from China was in-place for another week. But the Health Department suggested there could be, “a temporary relaxation of the travel restrictions to allow entry to a larger number of tertiary students,” if the situation in China continued to improve.

And the PM added, “there’s been a lot of discussions going on between the university and school sector and we will be considering some of those arrangements.”

The outcome for the school sector was announced Saturday, when entry was granted to the 760 Chinese students enrolled in Y11 and Y12, on the same terms as Australians, 14-day self-isolation.

One of the other discussions was about a proposal to prioritise some higher education students and fly-in those with the strongest need to be here first for classes, say in batches of 1000.

Suggested target groups included research postgrads, students in lab/studio-intense programmes and those who would complete courses this semester.

The government was interested in helping and HE policy-politics wonks (the wonkiest!) were tasked with creating with a plan.

But while universities welcomed the principle, the practicalities were a problem –  what disciplines, which institutions, where to find students to ask. As of Friday, it all just got too hard.

At the announcement of the school decision Saturday, Education Minister Dan Tehan said that depending on medical advice something could be done for tertiary students this week but that nothing is decided.

Pizza swamp campus

 “Deakin University researchers are labelling Melbourne an unhealthy ‘food swamp’, after recording a dramatic rise in unhealthy food outlets,” D U  research announcement last week

“McCain has launched two new flavours in the Pizza Pocket range through a ‘Pocket Pong’ activation. The snack company invited Australian university students to play a shuffleboard-style game … .”  Inside FMCG, Friday. CMM was so hoping the promotion would be at Deakin U, but no.

Feds on front-foot: plan to expand English-learning market

In Ella Fitzgerald-terrific timing the Department of Education releases a draft strategy for expanding the market for English-language learners, already worth $2.4bn to the Aus economy

Working with industry association, English Australia the feds propose selling on teaching-quality and student experience, developing new markets, expanding teaching on-line and off-shore and developing a national approach to pathways.

There is also a proposal (but no detail) for “a consistent and coordinated approach to promotion, branding and messaging that takes into account the full range of English language teaching options.”

There is a for-comment draft  here.

Good for the department and English Australia, although CMM wonders whether this isn’t the sort of thing which could be done if there was a federal trade promotion agency to work on market development, especially in difficult times.

They could call it Export Aus, Trade Aus, hey, what about “AusTrade” ! Just a thought.

Uni Newcastle in the market for more international enrolments

The university wants a plan to pick up the recruitment pace

In 2017 Japan’s Nihon University bought property in downtown Newcastle for a study-abroad campus. Novocastrians suggest it encouraged the city’s university to look to make more of the international market. Back then internationals made up just 11 per cent of Uni Newcastle students.

The university now proposes student accommodation in a later stage of its riverside Honeysuckle campus, which is convenient to its new, and very flash, CBD teaching building, plus where Nihon will be.

But word is that for the moment not as much as hoped is happening on international numbers. Observers of campus life suggest that, COVID-19, aside there is also concern with projected demand from markets including India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

Dari Milanyi, ED International is said to have a plan, which was due to management on Friday.

Senior DVC Kevin Hall says with the 2020-25 strategy due next month, “all areas of the university are working on local plans to support organisational objectives.”

“Despite some static international student markets, we have seen modest growth in 2020 overall, but of course we can’t yet determine the full impact of COVID-19,” Professor Hall adds.

ANU out of legal practice training

The university announces independent provider to replace its own course

ANU announces its law graduates will be able to undertake their practice training without leaving campus from next year via independent professional development provider Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

“This collaboration between Leo Cussen and ANU is a natural fit,” ANU Dean of Law, Sally Wheeler says.

Presumably a better fit than the university’s School of Legal Practice, which is teaching-out its courses and will close at the end of 2021 (CMM August 9 2019).


Nat McGregor has left Uni Newcastle, where he was chief operating officer. He moves to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research where he will also be COO.