Scott, not a croc

The Northern Territory News ran a big story that Scott Bowman (former CQU VC) is the “preferred candidate” to be VC of Charles Darwin U

Or maybe not. “The appointment of CDU’s new vice-chancellor is a decision that needs to be endorsed by the council.  This appointment has not been to CDU Council for ratifying. CDU did not provide the information in the NT News, and we are investigating the source,” Interim VC Mike Wilson told staff yesterday.

“Whatever happens”, a learned reader remarks, “it is no mean feat for an academic, not a crocodile, to make a splash in the News.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Tim Pitman (Curtin U) on support for students with a disability. Good services are undermined, “by a single bad actor, process or learning design.”  It makes the case for making disability awareness training mandatory he argues. It’s a new selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) on the universities that need, really need, international students taking coursework masters and what their absence means for coffers and campus life.

Merlin Crossley argues thinking small is a strategy for success when building a research career.

Four ways to protect against cyber attack

The threat is only going to increase in terms of magnitude and impact

“As mass-connectivity and sensor driven digital campuses become a reality – enabled by next-generation technologies – university leaders will need to take secure a much larger surface area,” Cisco and Optus warn. In Features this week, they propose four ways unis can respond.

And how large, pray, will that surface area be?  “The rapid (and permanent) shift to virtual learning and remote teaching and administration has completely changed the education landscape and pose opportunities to reimagine what the work and learning experience looks like for staff and students alike,” Cisco and Optus also explain.

Perkins resigns from RUN

Caroline Perkins is to depart the Regional Universities Network after nine years

The inaugural ED will leave mid-year, prior to moving to the UK. New chair, CQU VC Nick Klomp, says Dr Perkins made “a fundamental contribution” to RUN’s growth and development.

MOOC of the morning: one for Uni Wollongong

Johns Hopkins U has a course to consider

Regular readers (hello Dad) know CMM thinks MOOCs have huge potential as public-service behaviour change and community information programmes at a fraction of the cost of legacy-media advertising efforts.

The Johns Hopkins U School of Nursing gets it – with a seven-module on-line course, “to educate individuals preparing to participate in COVID-19 vaccination programmes.”

It’s an idea that might appeal to people at Uni Wollongong’s nursing school. The out-going dean of nursing at Johns Hopkins, Patricia Davidson, becomes Wollongong VC in May.

The PM says unis need to adapt. Claire Field show how they are


But the sector needs to know the size of the challenge and that means clarity on research funding

 A critical higher education conversation took place this week, outside the sector. The Prime Minister gave an interview to the Herald Sun where he traversed a number of issues, including the return of international students to Australia.

The Prime Minister commented that COVID had “highlighted a vulnerability” in university business models and he expected universities to adapt like any other business. He went on to say “I think it’s always time for universities to consider their economic model … I would be surprised if it had taken them this long to do that thinking.”

The scale of the challenge facing the higher education sector is enormous and it comes with a key element of the government’s higher education reforms yet to be settled, i.e. how future research funding will be allocated once the Research Sustainability Working Group finalise their advice to government.

Nonetheless institutions are preparing for major changes to their business models.

An increase in academic public-private partnerships (online programme management, boot camps and international education pathways) will be one way in which universities will look to make changes. HolonIQ has identified more than 300 such partnerships were created globally in 2020. And universities are also seeking out more partnerships with employers and industry (encouraged by, but not limited to, the new National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund).

Digital technology will be both a key transformation tool and a significant challenge. A recent survey of 312 higher education leaders in 30 countries identified process and people (and then technology) as the biggest gaps in universities’ digital capability. Australian vice-chancellors face the same gaps and need to fill them in a highly uncertain financial environment.

Clarity on the scale and allocation of future research funding (i.e. who gets what?) will assist universities in determining where and how they need to change. And then the challenge of designing and implementing the change begins.

Claire Field is an advisor to the tertiary education sector. She is also the Australian contributor to HolonIQ’s global market intelligence platform

UNSW benefits

The university offers staff a lower price on courses which are relevant to their work

The scheme was introduced in 2018 and is now an on-going benefit. Plus, while it was 40 per cent off course price then now the discount is 50 per cent.

“It’s not as if management needs the seats for fee-paying internationals,” a learned reader suggests.


International education big four in-line on lobbying

Peak bodies representing English language colleges, private higher education and training, plus the overall industry, are meeting ministers today and tomorrow


Brett Blacker from English Australia says he expects meetings with past education ministers Simon Birmingham and Dan Tehan and incumbent Alan Tudge, plus Alan Hawke (Immigration) to be “detailed and forward looking.”

Assistance for international education providers in general, when Job Keeper starts to phase out in March, is on their agenda. However, the urgent need is for continuing support for private VET and HE providers and the English college sector – which fears it will lose the staff who will be essential to populate study pathways when the border opens.

The group will also urge the government to assure international students outside Australia that they are not forgotten.

With yesterday’s commitment by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to a dedicated quarantine facility at Tullamarine or Avalon airports, the industry now has an opportunity to present specific proposals to bring back international students.

English Australia has long backed managed “safe travel” options to increase capacity, including the app-based goPassport (CMM September 30).

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent

Entrepreneurs with Uni Sydney enthusiasm

The uni announces ten start-ups for its accelerator programme, including one energised by international education optimism

They include a “rehabilitation device” for stroke-victims, a “bioreactor” to create models of human biology, intended for medical research without animal-testing and a streaming platform for personalised news content.

There’s also Achange Study “a platform connecting international students with Australian education providers by simplifying the application and acceptance process.” It’s website states, “we connect international students with institutions in Australia at lower prices than booking with schools directly.”  An idea for past, and hopefully, future times.

The INCUBATE programme provides 14-weeks of accommodation, mentoring and $5000 seed funding.

Appointment, achievement

Alison Bashford (UNSW) wins the US $1m Dan David Prize (based at Tel Aviv University), which is for interdisciplinary research. Professor Bashford is rewarded for her work on global medicine and public health.

Justine Nolan is the new director of the Australian Human Rights Institute (at UNSW). She replaces inaugural director Louise Chappell.