Hard job to fill

Uni Sydney announces the search has started for the next vice chancellor, to replace Michael Spence who will leave at year-end for University College London. The new VC will inherit a university which has to save $470m this year during the collapse in international student fees.

Poisoned Chalice Associates are not managing recruitment.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

 Kevin Ashford-Rowe (QUT) on the digital transformation of education. Ignore it and become Kodak. It’s this week’s essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Suneeti Rekhari (RMIT) on creating learning experiences in crisis-time.

Aidre Grant (SCU) says the best on-line teaching tool (it’s kindness).

Microsoft presents experts building on-line learning communities.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the way the world should work towards a COVID-19 vaccine.

Charles Sturt U announces a restructure

A month back VC Andy Vann told staff the university needed to change, he’s starting the process

CSU faces a COVID-19 driven decline of $80m (on 2019 budgeted revenues of $586m) and is looking for immediate savings.  In April staff heard the university is looking at a deficit this year.

But there is more to this than repairing the damage of a drop in international student fees. At the beginning of April Professor Vann and members of his executive set out for staff things that need to change. There were problems with enrolments, as in not enough of them, wrong-sized campuses as learning moves on-line and subjects available in the wrong places (CMM April 3).

And now the VC announces change is starting.

“We must implement an operating model that is structured to meet our needs as a university and those of our communities, delivering distinctive degrees and quality teaching, learning and research,” he said yesterday.

As to head count cuts, now there will be, “changes to the workforce, as part of a review of courses and campuses and a review of non-salary expenses.” A first-round consultation paper is due in June.

But more job changes may follow early next year, presumably after campus and course structures are sorted. Professor Vann adds “this is not a decision the university has made lightly and we are very mindful of the impact this would have on any staff affected.”

Prospective internationals not abandoning Aus, yet

Aspiring students are still keen to study in another country- but their patience isn’t endless

IDP Education surveyed 6900 students from (unspecified) countries who have offers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States.

Many of them are good to go, for now, with 31 per cent prepared to start classes on-line.  But the strongest preference is to defer to January and then start in-person. And 40 per cent of the sample of people who have deferred or are now considering it, will wait for six months.

Demand for Australia “remains strong” IDP’s analysis states, but competition will pick-up if other providers open their borders in January. Canada is most likely to win demand moving from other markets, if it opens classes in September/October and has capacity in January. The US is in way worse shape, with the survey sample unimpressed with its response to COVID-19.

The survey did not ask prospective students about the Australian Government’s barring in-country internationals from welfare support. Although this may not matter as much given the Canadian federal government has just excluded international students from an emergency allowance for May-September, which compensates locals for missing out on summer jobs. It won’t make any difference to students now looking where to study but just like here, it sends a signal.

Scroll down for Dirk Mulder’s comments on the state of the wait

UNE wants it known it has long-gone the distance

UNE is spruiking its distance credentials in a 30-second spot on social media

The university points to its DE experience, its QILT rating for teaching quality and support and “a five-star rating” 14 years running, (from The Good Universities Guide).

“For an expert on-line education choose UNE,” the voice-over advocates. Good-o, but how is one to do it? There are no contacts or pointer to courses.

Odds unknown on international education opening


But one provider is working with what it might get

COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted around the country – pubs are even set to open in the Northern Territory. But a return to what used to be normal is not likely for international education.  The prime minister has made it clear, that perhaps New Zealand aside, borders are not set to open anytime soon.

This does not bode well for the thousands of students around the world looking to book their education, or the education institutions, hoping to host them.

Certainty is what they all want and what they are not getting in Australia and other countries which had international education industries in the good old days, before January.

But some institutions are working imaginatively with what they have got.

Dublin City University has developed a landing site, is packaging information for students looking to commence in 2020 and offers an On time/On-line initiative.

This means that all postgraduate provisions for non-EU students will be delivered on-line for the first semester, move to on-campus provision for the second and the dissertation/practicum period.

The initiative includes the foundation programme for pre-masters PGs. Students will be able to take their first semester on-line, move on-campus for their second qualifying semester and then progress to their destination degree on-campus as normal in September 2021.

Smart move, as long as Ireland opens up for international students by January 2021. But if there are odds on that happening I can’t find the bookie.

Scarcer on campus

Chancellor Kevin Scarce makes a quick exit at Uni Adelaide

The university’s chancellor announced his resignation to Council yesterday, effective immediately. Rear Admiral Scarce’s term was extended in May 2018, to the end of November this year. He was appointed in 2014. Prior to chancellor he was governor of SA.

More short-courses

Unis are picking up the pace in offering UG and graduate certificate short courses

There were 64 on Friday morning and 77 first thing yesterday – which changes the leader-board. Uni Wollongong now has most – 16.



Mark Nolan is now director of Charles Sturt U’s Centre for Law and Justice. Professor Nolan joined from ANU.

Beverley Webster joins Monash U Malaysia as VP education. She has moved from RMIT, in Ho Chi Minh City.

Monash U ICT dean Jon Whittle is leaving for CSIRO, where he will be head of the digital science team, Data61.