A swan brewery

Edith Cowan University students have won a construction competition by building a one-tonne black swan (presumably one on steroids) out of beer cans. Whether the cans are Swan Draught, or even WA craft brew Black Swan, CMM wonders whether the metal swan will be enough to gull WA ornithologists.

PM’s thought bubble of the week

Yes it is only Tuesday, but it will be hard to beat the prime minister wondering whether international students should go to universities not in Sydney or Melbourne (via SBS here).

And how pray would the government ensure this – establishing city-quotas on study visas, capping international numbers at individual universities? Mr Morrison banged on about channelling Robert Gordon Menzies on Friday, maybe he meant Leonid Brezhnev.


UniSydney management to push-on with Ramsay Civ Centre consultations

The University of Sydney’s arts and social sciences faculty board met yesterday and as expected (CMM, Monday) discussed terms of a possible discussion with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, about its funding courses on campus.

It does not sound like any board members who had already made up their minds changed them.

After the meeting, Provost Stephen Garton congratulated board members for “the thoughtful and engaged debate,” if not, it seems much enthusiasm for a deal.

“Discussion indicated that some members of the university community remain deeply opposed to the introduction of such a program while others would find it acceptable as long as academic autonomy is guaranteed absolutely. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the Ramsay Centre, as potential donors, have legitimate concerns and rights.” Professor Garton told university staff.

Professor Ivison also advised that management will push on with the promised process. ”Today’s meeting was an early step in the consultation process around what we hope to put to the Ramsay Board as a starting point for further discussions in future. The next step will be to initiate wider university consultation”.

Leanne Harvey moving to QUT as Brisbane becomes a research policy-powerhouse

Leanne Harvey is leaving the Australian Research Council to join her old boss there, Margaret Sheil who is now vice chancellor of QUT. Ms Harvey will move north in December, becoming VP administration and registrar. She will replace Shard Lorenzo who is retiring. The appointment is part of Professor Sheil’s shuffle of senior executive portfolios, (CMM August 13).

Ms Harvey joined the ARC in 2008 and is executive general manager. She was crucial to the immensely complex design and introduction of the Excellence for Research in Australia programme. “The backbone of the ARC for a decade,” Innovative Research Universities Conor King calls her.

This is a big loss at a challenging time for the ARC, with the panels assessing the new impact and engagement measures (unless new minister Dan Tehan has other ideas) now working.

A learned reader suggests that Brisbane is now a research policy-powerhouse. The last three ARC chairs are there, Aidan Byrne, (provost at UoQ) Peter Hoj, (VC at UoQ), and Professor Sheil. And now they are joined by a very senior ARC senior manager.

UniAdelaide’s new engineering appointments

Dean Anton Middelberg has told staff about senior appointments in UniAdelaide’s Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.

Michael Goodsite will be new head of the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering. He moves from the engineering faculty at the University of Southern Denmark.

David Lewis is confirmed in the top job at chemical engineering, he has been acting head of school.

Chemical engineer Shaobin Wang joins from Curtin University. Professor Wang is said to be a “thought leader” in “materials, catalysis and reaction engineering. His H-index score is a significant 77.

Clearly discussions of a merger with UniSA aren’t alarming engineers.

Big things on a very small scale

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel opened the International Microscopy Congress in Sydney yesterday. It was the standard Finkel speech, as charming as it was erudite and flattering the audience outrageously, telling them that, “without microscopy there is no modern science. End of story.” And he assured them that microscope-wise Australian science is ticking over just fine.

A point made today by the University of Sydney which will launch its new Thermo Fisher Themis-Z transmission electron microscope which apparently does big things on an atomic-structure scale. New NSW chief scientist Hugh Durant Whyte and two Nobel laureates, in Sydney for the microscopy conference Joachim Frank, (Columbia U) and Dan Shectman (Technion U in Israel) will do the honours.

Pitching to elite undergrads

Universities in competitive student-recruitment markets are keen to burnish their brands as elite institutions. The University of Adelaide is offering 100 guaranteed 2019 enrolments for high-performing STEM students in Year 12 at four prestige high schools. The offer is independent of the ATAR process. “”With mathematics being so critical to the future prosperity of our state and the nation, we believe something should be done to encourage students with the aptitude for studying maths to pursue this field at the highest level,” dean of engineering Anton Middelberg says.

James Cook U is also pitching for UG talent, increasing scholarships for high-achievers by an additional annual 63, starting next year. Provost Chris Cocklin says “JCU is a world-class university, and we want high achieving students from our region and beyond to consider JCU as their first choice.” Although how much consideration the money will buy is another thing – the schols are worth $5000 over three years.

UniSydney makes the FT masters of management ranking

The University of Sydney is very pleased to rank 27th in the new (UK) Financial Times ranking of management masters. Apparently, business school dean Greg Whitwell thinks the result is “thrilling,” not least because the school is first in Australia for the sixth time, this year it is the only local in the list. However, UniSyd is also fifth in the Asia-Pacific, behind a French-Singapore JV (3), Shanghai Jia Tong (18) and three Indian biz schools. The first 50 consists of mainly Euro institutions – the top North American entry is the University of British Columbia at 49. The one year (UniSydney’s is 1.15 FT) management master course is very much a Euro-alternative to the MBA.

Appointments and achievements

Michael Egan will stand down as chancellor of Macquarie University in February. At retirement, he will be the university’s longest-serving chancellor.

UNSW announces David Sanderson will lead the university’s fifth research grand challenge, on rapid urbanisation. Professor Sanderson is a professor of architecture at the university.

UoQ nursing research and teaching academic Anthony Tuckett is appointed to the Queensland government’s panel of nursing and midwifery assessors.