There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning David Myton examines a new report on the future of work in the unfolding fourth industrial revolution.

Taxation without explanation is aggravation

Back in the budget the feds committed to slugging universities for some the costs incurred in running the higher education course cost loan programme.  According to Education Minister Dan Tehan, who has introduced the required legislation into parliament, the charge will bring HE providers into line with the already slugged VET sector. Providers will be charged on the basis of enrolments, but how much is unknown, with the bill, stating the amount will be set by ministers via regulation. This alarms university lobbies, ““The legislation seeks very broad ministerial powers to tax higher education providers …this would be a significant change from current legislative funding arrangements. It would place such decisions in the hands of the minister rather than the parliament,” Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson says.

Conor King from the Innovative Research Universities expands the argument. “The charge is a rort. Universities support students access the HELP system, so that the government pays their student charge for them. Billing universities for a service provided to students is hardly a fair or transparent way of further reducing funding to actually education those students.”

A sovereign solution to gender-discrimination on pay

A learned reader offers a solution to university leaders who express anxiety about gender-based discrimination on campus – end separate pay packages. Women are the majority of casually-employed staff, who receive the legally-required employer 9.5 per cent superannuation contribution. Continuing employees, and now in numerous universities fixed-term staff, receive 17 per cent in employer contributed super.

Deakin loses top spot in global sports-science ranking

Deakin U slips to a gallant third in the new Shanghai Ranking of sports science in universities. It took first place in the first two issues, (CMM September 19 2017). The University of Queensland holds fifth place this year, for the third time.

Australia has four universities in the global top 20, the most of any nation. Overall it rates fourth for institutions in the world-best 300 with 20, behind the US (75) the UK (41) and Canada 25.

Shanghai Ranking uses standard research metrics to list institutions; citation, publications in top journals and similar.

The rest of this year’s top ten is University of Copenhagen (one), Norwegian School of Sorts Sciences (two), Loughborough U (UK) (four), University of Southern Denmark (six), University of Calgary (seven), Verona University (eight), Liverpool John Moores University (nine) and Ghent University.

The other ANZ universities that breast the tape are;

Victoria U 12 this year – way up from 21st place last year, UWA (20, same as 2017) Edith Cowan (21), UniMelbourne, up seven spots to 23, after a 16-spot improvement last year. ACU also has improved, lifting 14 places to 26th. The University of Newcastle is 38th, up 11. QUT is stable at 43. Auckland Uni Technology is 46th.

51-100 group: Curtin U, Griffith U, Murdoch U, UniAuckland,  UniOtago, UniSydney, UTS

101-150: Federation U, Massey U, UniCanberra, UniSA, UniSunshine Coast

151-200: Charles Sturt U, James Cook U, Uni Waikato

201-300: Lincoln U

The games begin

The first UniSport Division One games are on this week, with 6000 athletes assembling on the Gold Coast to compete in 33 sports. CMM advertiser UniBank is a major sponsor. UniSport says the Nationals are Australia’s largest multi-sport event series for university student-athletes.


Group of Eight reject report of meeting with new education minister

The Group of Eight flat out deny a Fairfax report of a meeting with Education Minister Dan Tehan on Thursday night.

The SMH reported Saturday that Mr Tehan “put the idea” of protestors at campus events paying some of the cost of security.

The story was met with outrage in education social media on the weekend and outright rejection by the Group of Eight.

“At no time was such a proposal raised with the Go8 Board and if it had been it would have been rejected immediately for what it is – a threat to freedom of speech.

“We have since been advised that the minister was misrepresented in the media reporting. We will accept in good faith that this was the case. The Go8 will continue our commitment to free intellectual inquiry and public debate on our campuses, conducted in a safe environment.

“What we did indicate to the minister was that our universities have in place procedures and policies to ensure that our students and the broader community who attend events on our campuses do so in a safe environment and that we were happy to share those with him, “ Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson says.

Iain Martin announced as new Deakin U VC

Iain Martin will be the next vice chancellor of Deakin University. He will succeed Jane den Hollander in May. Professor Martin was DVC A at UNSW, before he moved to become vice chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University in 2016.

 Professor Martin is widely considered a safe pair of hands. Back in 2015 he acted decisively during a media-panic over student plagiarism – saying anybody at UNSW discovered was in strife. Four months later an inquiry discovered 23 proven cases. Some 22 students were retrospectively given failing grades and/or were suspended. One graduate had their degree revoked.

VCs who commit and deliver on process, however embarrassing for an institution, are low stuff-up risks.

UNE VC Duncan announces departure

Annabelle Duncan will stand down as University of New England vice chancellor at the end of her first term, in August next year. Professor Duncan advised council of her departure on Friday.

Professor Duncan was a DVC at UNE, moving up to act immediately in the job when Jim Barber surprised some at the university by giving six-months notice he wanted out, in February 2014. Her appointment was widely seen as delivering calm and continuity – there were two VCs and three chancellors 2009-2014. “Annabelle’s strategic plan recognised the important place UNE has in the Australian community, the need to build on its strengths, and the need to transform in some areas to remain a market leader in online education. “She has shown vision and courage in implementing this plan,” Chancellor James Harris said Friday.

Although not all were enthused. Staff arced up at last year’s academic restructure, which called for consolidating academic units into three faculties and was followed by plans for new governance and faculty support. There was a staff no-confidence vote in August last year. And the university took a fearful hiding in the Fair Work Commission this April over a new workload model it wanted to in the faculty of humanities, arts, social sciences and education.

As to what Professor Duncan will do next, she told university staff Friday, “despite moving away from UNE, I will be devoting my future efforts to advocating for regional Australia and for the rights of the wonderful, yet neglected people who reside outside our big cities.”

Harrumph of the month

Even with a week to go no-one will beat Kurt Iveson from the University of Sydney for a 19-tweet cluster of complaint. “I’m really lucky to have a continuing academic job at Sydney Uni. I have great colleagues, students are awesome, and I’m proud to be working with them on some terrific teaching and research initiatives. But there are some things driving me nuts at this place right now,” the campus president of the National Tertiary Education Union tweeted Friday.

Things that give him the hump include; CCTV in staff amenity space in a new building, the number of casual staff at UniSyd, “a huge number of whom are doing work that is absolutely not ‘casual’” workloads and leave provisions, the cost of contractors and errors of marketers,” there was more and pretty much all of it specific.


The Queensland Young Tall Poppies science awards are awarded. Coral reef scientist Alana Grech from James Cook U is the YTP Scientist of the Year. Georgina Gurney, also a coral research at JCU is also a YTP.

Four researchers from Griffith U made the list, Michelle Langley, Qilin Wang, Roisin McMahn and Michael Simmonds.

They are joined by six UoQ researchers, Sean Coakley, Jacinda Ginges, Amirali Popat, Jacqui Romero, Teresa Ubide, Hosam Zowawi.