Like drawing teeth

It’s Dental Health Week – which gives the funsters at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences the opportunity to run a Twitter quiz, asking who in the Middle Ages did the dentistry, barbers, blacksmiths, butchers or tax collectors. Gosh, who do you think dentists dislike?


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

The Federal Court has decided inventions by AI can be patented. Amanda-Jane George (CQU)explains how this happened and why it matters.

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on this year’s Good Universities Guide ranking – the institutions that do well, the way the metrics work and the GUG’s enduring achievement.

PlusJames Guthrie (Macquarie U) digs into the UTS annual report to discover how the big building programme was funded – but not how many jobs COVID-19 has cost.

And Merlin Crossley (UNSW) explains how science would have found other ways to fight COVID-19 without vaccines. It is what a “high-quality knowledge agenda” makes possible.

With an oped a bunch of uni marketers need to readJason Brown (La Trobe U) and Peter McIlveen (USQ) suggest measuring student and graduate experience of study is important to quality assurance but are no measure of employment outcomes. This week’s addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift‘s celebrated series, Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

As well as Tim Winkler (Twig Marketing) on why it’s all over for open days.

A good TERN

The Threatened Species Index was under threat, which was bad. Not now, which is good

Starting in 2016 the index includes data on 254 mammals, birds and plant groups, supplied by organisations and individuals across the country. But federal funding for the Uni Queensland located programme that managed the index ran out in June.

Enter the Ecosystem Research Infrastructure Network (TERN). With support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, “for the foreseeable future” TERN is now “custodian” of the index.  The move should not be onerous, TERN is also at Uni Q.

One out of four

Bized at Uni Tasmania insists it to be known that it is not as credentialed as CMM thought (August 3)

While it is a member of the European Foundation for Management Development, which runs the European Quality Improvement System, it is not EQUIS accredited. Which means it holds just one of the big four accolades, (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, business, AACSB accounting, Association of MBAs and EQUIS).

IT top ten starts with security and student success

The Council of Australasian University Directors of IT reports what worries members and what they want to work on

The 2021 list is much the same as last year – with changes reflecting the impact of COVID-19.

Information security is number one, (as it was last year)

“Supporting student success” is second (number two in 2020)

Business transformation stays at three

New models of learning and teaching is fourth – it did not rate in 2020

Service delivery stays fifth, “embedding agility, scalability and cost effectiveness across activities”

Seamless user experience is sixth (up from 18th last year)

Leadership is seventh, “as a trusted leader and partner.” It was 15th in 2020

Digital integration is eighth (down one from 2020)

Modern workplace is ninth up from 13, covering meeting changing needs, “across evolving physical and virtual environments and flexible work practices

Cultural change drops to tenth, from eight. “Support new ways of working: fostering a workplace that welcomes diversity, safety, and high performance”

No joy on more secure jobs at Uni Melbourne

The 2018 Enterprise Agreement included a provision for academics on fixed term contracts doing the same work for five years or more to apply for conversion to continuing employment

There was also a clause for sessional staff to convert to fixed term.  The provisions kicked in last September – and presumably end when the agreement expires, nominally at end October.

They won’t be remembered for helping many people escape the precariat. Some 120 people or so are said to have secured fixed term appointments and continuing jobs.

Perhaps there might be more to hope for in the next agreement, if only because the Fair Work Act now sets out a path to permanent employment for casual staff (CMM April 21). And there could be a sort-of precedent, Monash U has been working on fixed terms positions for PhD students with sessional-teaching jobs ((CMM April 1, April 20). VC Margaret Gardner says she is “hopeful” that an unspecified number will be offered jobs this year (CMM July 27).


Andrew Miller is the new SA Division secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union. What, you ask, the Andrew Miller who was an especially active activist branch president at Flinders U? That’s the one. Cécile Dutreix (Uni SA) is deputy secretary.

Tammy Small joins Uni Wollongong’s Indigenous Strategy Unit as manager, projects. She moves from student advancement manager at Uni Newcastle.

In Uni Melbourne’s Student and Scholarly Services, Davina Potts will become Director, Future Students at the end of the month. She moves from an associate director role in Student Success. Kate Gascoigne will  start as Director, Operational Planning & Student Information in October.  She was seconded to SASS last year as Programme Director Ops Planning.