The lady on Macquarie’s green

“Let’s talk about famous mondegreens” a Macquarie U Twitter poll proposed yesterday

MU asked, “which Beatles song lyrics are misheard as the unfortunate line, ‘the girl with colitis goes by’?”  and offered three options, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds,” “Revolution” and “Can’t buy me love”.

CMM must have missed the bit in the university corporate plan about more whimsy.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Frank Larkins on NSW university financials last year: the best may have already happened, HERE.

he joins James Guthrie, who considers what NSW annual reports reveal and don’t,HERE.

as well as  Marnie Hughes-Warrington (Uni SA) on a partnership approach to research creation, and translation, HERE.

plus Verity Firth (UTS) on the Carnegie Commission on community service standards expanding in Australia, HERE.

with, Angel Carbone and Kerryn Butler-Henderson (both RMIT) who warn that significant barriers to women achieving leadership in higher education teaching and learning remain. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching, HERE .

What’s next for researchers? CMM asks experts with ideas

People get research can help everybody – the pandemic proved that

But popularity does not set priorities and researchers face new challenges of purpose and priorities. Join policy experts and opinion shapers at CMM-Twig Marketing’s on-line conference next week, “What’s next for the people who can save the world.”  Details HERE.

Now for the even harder part at U Tas

Submissions are invited to the Legislative Council’s inquiry into the university

This is a problem for university management, what with the inquiry having Nullarbor-wide terms of reference, (CMM May 9).

It follows, and may well result from, an anthology of antipathy towards university policies on fewer UG lectures and more small group classes, enterprise bargaining, claims that some departing staff had to sign non-disclosure agreements and the transformative plan to relocate most of  the Hobart based teaching from Sandy Bay to the city (CMM March 29)

Friday’s announcement of a 4.6 per cent pay rise may go some way to calm on-campus criticism but a short-lived open comments board indicates there are a bunch of issues that staff may want to raise (CMM June 27).

And then there are opponents to the university’s plan to relocate into the CBD, widely criticised off-campus for years, who will surely seize the opportunity.

When the inquiry was proposed VC Rufus Black responded, “we look forward to supporting the work of the Legislative Council in any way we can,” not that he had any choice.

Investigating more med research grants for women

The National Health and Medical Research Council announces “a discussion” on options for “gender equity” in the Investigator Grant scheme

Not that the NHMRC will necessarily do anything, stating yesterday it “has not decided whether to introduce changes to this scheme or, if so, which path to take.”

But however travelled any possible path it could take, the council faces continuing pressure to do something.

Investigator Grants are fundamental to the funding scheme introduced in 2018, designed to support ”highest performing researchers” at all career stages. But in the first three years more men than women applied for, and were awarded grants, receiving “more overall funding.”  Problem was a “predominance of male applicants at the most senior levels of the scheme, where budgets tend to be largest,” (CMM April 12).

The NHMRC has already announced a six-month delay (from this August to next January) in opening 2023 Investigator applications, to work on what to do and the discussion now announced appears part of that process.

There will be in-person sessions presenting options, in all states (ex Tasmania) and the ACT early- mid August with a national Zoom.

Last week the NHMRC released its new three-year gender-equity strategy (CMM July 1) which is admirable in intent.

Saving History from being history

on the one hand

“The employment value of history degrees needs to be better communicated to employers, and governments,” Australian Historical Association’s  History Graduates Survey 2022 report

but on the other

“While emphasis on the value of history degrees in the workplace is needed to address current misperceptions, it should not be at the expense of recognition of the more holistic value of History study in preparing individuals to navigate complex social and ethical issues at work and as citizens,” same report, next recommendation.

they both matter

“The aim is for these findings to be widely used by our AHA members and the broader Australian community to argue successfully that, quite simply, history matters, and students of history play an invaluable role in our society, in whatever field of endeavour they end up,” report preface by AHA president Melanie Oppenheimer.

Researching … the future

What’s next for the people who can save the world? 20 experts (plus CMM) seven Zoom sessions from CMM next week. “Experts, such as?“ you ask.  Such as, for starters, Chennupati Jagadish (Academy of Science pres), Caroline McMillen (SA chief scientist) Margaret Sheil (QUT VC) – check out all the others @

Colin Simpson’s ed tech must reads of the week

 Flexible learning spaces or flexible learning places? from Peter Goodyear (Twitter)

Universities have long needed to consider the practical affordances of venues for learning and teaching but perhaps never as much as now, as we come to realise that physical presence on campus is not the be-all and end-all. This series of tweets from education notable Peter Goodyear summarise some of his recent work looking at the nature of rooms dedicated to flexible learning and what impact our decision to consider them as spaces or places has on learning and research.


Desperately seeking citation (patterns) from Mirya Holman (Twitter)

Another handy Twitter thread during the week came from a call-out for suggestions on ways to track reciprocal research citations. This rapidly spun off into a discussion of a range of tools and whether they did exactly what the original poster was asking for but it led me to at least half a dozen handy tools that I’d never heard of. A couple of respondents even figured that they would could just code their own solution and share the results. Community in action.


The Higher Ed Guide for the Corporate Community – Online course from Educause

Higher Education structures and processes can seem byzantine to the outsider (and perhaps more than a few insiders) but as universities increasingly work with external partners, there is a need to offer clarity around them for more effective collaboration. This on-line short course from Educause is US focused, but based on the course outline may offer some more universal insights. It runs from July 11 – 29.


Building the Behavior Change Toolkit: Designing and Testing a Nudge and a Boost from Behavioral Scientist

The idea of using “nudges” to change behaviour by changing the environment may only have been formalised in 2008 when economist Richard Thaler introduced “Nudge theory” but it has certainly taken off since then, he won  a Nobel Prize in economics, in 2017. This paper describes work undertaken by behavioural scientists on “boosts,” which are more focused on the agency of individuals. While the article doesn’t explicitly spell out the application of one over the other in a teaching context, it offers some interesting provocations.


30 Higher Education IT Influencers worth a follow from EdTech

This list of people – some of who would be mortified to be labelled as “influencers” – is pretty US-centric but covers a wide range of some very interesting people working on the tech side of higher education who share their thoughts and ideas on social media, blogs and podcasts. Some of my faves are Ann Gagné, Casey Fiesler, Tanya Joosten and of course, the only Australian to make the list, Sarah Thorneycroft.

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 and is employed by Monash University’s Education Innovation team. He is also one of the leaders of the TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner

Appointments, achievements

ANU will “trial a different leadership direction” when Paul Duldig finishes as COO at the end of the month. DVC International Strategy Sally Wheeler will be interim COO. CFO Anna Tsikouris will manage financial ops for the facilities and services division.

Nick Birbilis will become Deakin U’s executive dean of Science, Engineering and Built Environment in September. He is now interim dean of Engineering and Computer Science at ANU, which he leaves in September.

The International Science Council announce 66 new fellows, including Ruth Fincher (Uni Melbourne) and Marlene Kanga (former chair, World Federation of Engineering Organisations, fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering).

Charles Lee is leaving Flinders U to become executive dean  of the newly established School of Policy and Global Affairs at City, University of London.

Rorden Wilkinson is appointed Macquarie U’s DVC Academic. He moves from UNSW where he is PVC Education and Student Experience