Just in at the enough-already! desk

HE analyst Matt Brett’s personal submission to the O’Kane Accord points out from start (2003) to now the Higher Education Support Act has been amended 83 times, an average 85 days

Plus there were 742 policy instruments enabled by the Act.

“The success of Australian higher education might be attributed to this high frequency of well-targeted reform. Conversely, and in my opinion, there are at a minimum, substantial opportunity costs associated with consuming finite parliamentary and sector time on this level of policy reform,” Dr Brett suggests.

His policy-rich submission is HERE

There’s more in the Mail

in Features this morning

Individual assessment tasks don’t necessarily support the development of higher level graduate attributes or employment outcomes,” argue Nicholas Charlton (Griffith U) and Richard Newsham-West. What’s needed is a focus on programme, rather than course, learning outcomes. New this week in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus Merlin Crosley (UNSW) on the big Accord issues – access and research funding. “We don’t know where the next Einstein will come from, but we don’t want to miss her.”

VET runs on NCVER delivered data

Jobs and Skills Australia is the new power in training but the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research keeps producing the data the system depends on

Amongst all the easy announcements of change to perhaps the most complex policy province in the Commonwealth, the NCVER is oft overlooked. But it does the work that gives interest-groups the evidence to argue about.

Work such as Michelle Hall, Melinda Lees, Cameron Serich (NCVER) and Richard Hunt’s (Deloitte Australia) new paper, “Evaluating machine learning for projecting completion rates for VET programmes.” They conclude it might work, but the disruptions of the pandemic mean they can’t be sure. VET-wise this is as wonky as it gets – but it addresses an immensely important problem – delays in stats mean policy can be made with data that is years out of date.

Research’s many foreign affairs

Universities Australia says there are 10 000 international research collaborations – which may explain why HE gets a special mention in DFAT’s Foreign Arrangement’s Scheme report for ’22

“As university arrangements are a large portion of foreign arrangements notified under the Scheme, engagement with the university sector continued to be a key focus in 2022,” DFAT states.

In addition to “specific arrangements, it points to participation in the University Foreign Interference Taskforce’s steering and working groups and briefing UA sessions, “on key scheme issues.”

What works at work

After all the pandemic pain it’s time to work through the lessons of lockdown and build better HE workplaces

HEjobs invites you to an in-person event to talk, listen and learn about jobs that work better HERE.

Euro open access: still not arrived

A new brawl brews in the Euro-blue between research communities and for-profit publishers

The Guild of European Research Intensive Universities warns pay to publish charges, “has severely worsened” the financial stability of the academic publishing system.

So much for the European Plan S, which requires publicly funded research to be OA – publishers have just changed who they charge and how much.

The Guild calls on EU members to work for, “article processing charges that are transparent and commensurate with the publication services, and that they support the development of alternative models that do not charge fees either to the authors or to the readers.”

Which looks like a call for a new publishing system, “how this support will be implemented concretely will nevertheless be key for the emergence of high-quality and financially sustainable alternatives able to compete with the present incumbent publishers and their dominant model.”

Until, or if there’s a new Euro model, ANZ universities can use the deals negotiated with publisher by the Council of Australian University Librarians that fund reading rights and production charges through journal subscriptions (umpteen CMM stories, and Expert Opinion, with CAUL’s Bob Gerrity,HERE).


Here’s a start for a new post-school system

The Full-Service Six has an Accord prop that should appeal to employers – if not other universities

The six are institutions with HE and VET functions, Charles Darwin U, CQ U, Federation U RMIT, Swinburne U and Victoria U.

There is a significant structural gap in the provision of high-quality work-based learning in the Australian context that will form pathways to skilled employment at the mid-tier, para-professional level of skills and knowledge application,” they argue

The six suggest Professor O’Kane and colleagues, “consider the development and design of a consistent and nationally recognised spectrum of work-based-learning qualifications. This spectrum of qualifications will combine the practical skills taught in vocational education with the analytical knowledge acquired in higher education, co-designed and delivered with industry.”

And they ask for an “early tranche” of CSPs to test transition to work and career change programmes delivered by micro-credentials, cadetships as part of a degree, and diplomas, associate degrees and degrees.


Happy to be at work today?

If you work in HE, we really want to know – about your week, your year and your working life in general

Twig Marketing and CMM are collaborating to survey Australian higher education staff over the next month, to get a better understanding of why you do what you do, and how you are enjoying your job.


Ian Anderson (DVC A UNi Tasmania) becomes chair of the Uni Melbourne based Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity Advisory Board.

Curtin U and Dementia Australia appoint Blossom Stephan their inaugural chair of dementia. She moves from the University of Nottingham.