So they don’t clam-up

“The performance of a new edible rock oyster will be tested over the coming year as part of a CRC for Developing Northern Australia project,” Cooperative Research Association president, Tony Peacock, via Twitter yesterday. Presumably the test will examine performance-enhancement of mussels (sorry).

Still standing, getting moving: what’s next for higher education

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We’ve assembled expert speakers who don’t have the answers but plenty of ideas on how to deal with whatever happens. Take an hour or two out of your day over a week to get a head start on preparing for a post (or continuing) pandemic world. Details here.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on expertise and the opportunities it creates for meaningful work

Janet Verbyla explains Australia’s on-line learning success pre-dates the pandemic but we aren’t making the most of it internationally

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the enduring uncertainty the government has engineered for universities.

Airdre Grant (Southern Cross U) argues Master Chef has the student assessment recipe. On Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s menu this week for her series, Needed now in Teaching and Learning.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

ACU proposes cutting 170 FTE positions

Management at Australian Catholic U says it needs to save $42m in staff costs by 2022 – but there’ still a $45m surplus

Vice Chancellor Greg Craven tells staff that though internationals account for a comparatively small 13 per cent of students, the decline in income from them, “will still have a substantial impact,” – accounting for over half the 2020-22 forecast of $125m lost revenue.

The university proposes reduced staff costs contributing 33 per cent of savings, compared to 42 per cent by reducing the surplus by $52m – however a $45m surplus over 2020-2022 remains.

Professor Craven also rules out voluntary redundancies – “because experience at other universities demonstrates (they) do not deliver the scale of salary savings required”, although he says “pre-retirement contracts” will be considered.

But he points to savings measures staff could agree to, that would reduce the number of positions that need to go; including leave purchases and reductions in weeks worked.  The university estimates cancelling next year’s enterprise agreement salary increase would save 27 FTE positions. All changes to conditions would requires staff voting to vary ACU’s enterprise agreement.

The proposal Professor Craven announces is now out for consultation until November 13.

A final plan is expected to go to university Senate on December 3.

Circular sore

“With the weather getting better, now is the perfect time to get outdoors for a walk or run. Here are some tips for exercising outside and limbering up with stretches,” Uni Melbourne Sport, via Twitter, yesterday. Just not a run or walk in a straight line that takes you more than 5km from home.

Rating research metrics: excellent and otherwise

The Australian Research Council is asking for expert opinion on its two main performance measures. The learned Innovative Research Universities obliges

The Innovative Research Universities lobby is broadly happy with the main research measurement metric, Excellence for Research in Australia but the second assessment, Engagement and Impact, requires “substantive change.”

The IRU’s submission to the ARC’s review of the two schemes (CMM August 20), calls for eight changes, including;

* adding research volume to the rating of disciplines by each university

* combine the “engagement” and “approach to impact” categories in EI

* extending citation analysis to fields where universities are now rated on peer review

* alternate ERA and EI every six years, with EI next

IRU also advocates a stronger-sell of the research achievements ERA and EI report. “It is unsurprising that perceptions of the Australian public of how investments in research translate into tangible benefits beyond academia is lacking.”

A way to assist with this would be to make ERA data more available, and transparent. “Currently there is no public data to indicate the size and composition of the research workforce or funding by field at an institutional level, or to identify research volumes by field and geographical and regional areas.”

Intel on defence research

Defence Department agencies have $18m to fund research relevant to Intelligence Challenges and National Security Challenges

They’re capped because they are actual things, although knowing exactly what might be a pre-req for applications.

Whatever, the National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants programme has up to $600 000 for a maximum of 12 projects over three years.

Applications will be managed by the Australian Research Council – a sure way to ensure that only people who need to know, know.

A new research and teaching partnership on the radar

Uni Adelaide will teach and research to support the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (as forward-looking as defence gets). Funding is not disclosed but the university will partner with Defence and BAE Systems.

Restructure on UNDA’s agenda

The University of Notre Dame Australia wants to end “substantial inefficiencies”

It follows senior management departures (CMM Jul 27) and a voluntary redundancy scheme (CMM August 27).

Now the university wants to consolidate 16 academic schools into three faculties, * arts, science, law and business * education, philosophy and theology and * medicine, nursing-midwifery, health sciences.

There would be three executive deans and eight heads of national schools. Research institutes would be based in faculties. “Management in the schools” will be very nervous, a learned reader remarks.

The university says change is needed to end “substantial inefficiency” in academic programmes, course administration and “campus based processes.”

However, the proposal also refers to a growth in “teaching scholar” and research academic positions – the university academic workforce is now “predominantly” teaching and research.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM which reported in yesterday’s email edition that Southern Cross U proposes cutting 83 FTE positions. In fact, this is the number that will be “impacted” – the actual cut is 63 FTE.


Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Rebecca Bond joins Macquarie U as GM Science and Engineering. She moves from Uni Melbourne.

The Australian Academy of the Humanities awards its 2020 medal for translation to Penny Hueston. Ms Hueston is honoured for her translation from French of Marie Darrieussecq’s biography of painter Paula Modersohn-Becker.

The International Education Association of Australia announces its 2020 awards;

Distinguished contribution: Marc Weedon-Newstead (UNSW)

Leadership: Heather Thomas (Uni Wollongong College)

Rising star: Ocean Cheung (Practera)

Best practice: Sharon Pickering, Cecilia Hewlett, Bodean Hedwards, Sarah McDonald (Monash U)

Best practice: Lisa Hayman, Elise Kavanagh, Alan James (Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority)

Innovation: David Granzow, David Hope (FutureLearn), Cinta Grimaitre, Sarah Stanton-French (Austrade)

Professional commentary: Catalina Florez (SBS)

Postgrad thesis: Le Thanh Huong Phan (Deakin U)

Of the week

 The Analytical Scientist magazine announces its 2020 pick of global analytical talent. The Australian list (in order published) is; Anthony Purcell (Monash U), Emily Hilder (Uni SA), Debbie Silvester-Dean (Curtin U), Gavin Reid (Uni Melbourne), Jeremy Nicholson (Murdoch U), Jessica Pandohee (Curtin U), Michael Breadmore (U Tas), Philip Marriott (Monash U), Simon Lewis (Curtin U), William Alexander Donald (UNSW)

The Association of Australian University Secretaries announces new executive appointments; president: Gioconda Di Lorenzo (Uni Melbourne), VP: Alyssa White (Uni Sydney), secretary: Nicole Beaumont (Uni Adelaide), treasurer: James Fitzgibbon (UNSW).

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences elects 28 new fellows – full list CMM, yesterday)

The 2020 L’Oreal ANZ women in science fellows are, Marzi Barghamadi-lithium battery technology (CSIRO), Emma Camp-marine science (UTS), Shari Gallop–marine environmental science (Uni Waikato), Adele Morrison-oceanographer (ANU), Kate Nguyen-chemical and civil engineer (RMIT)

 Jonathan Morris becomes chair of Universitas 21’s deans and directors of graduate studies.

The Georgina Sweet Awards for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science are announced; Antje Blumenthal (Uni Queensland), Michelle Dunstone (Monash U), Elin Gray (Edith Cowan U), Guozhen Liu (UNSW), Jessica Mar (Uni Queensland), Makrina Totsika (QUT)

The awards were created by Leann Tilley (Uni Melbourne) as part of her 2015 Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship programme.