There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Bradley Smith (James Cook U) and Peter Bentley (Innovative Research Universities) review the ARC’s new data visualisation tool, which brings together information on research grants now spread across multiple sources.

On-line outreach programmes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students  are needed now. Katelyn Barney and Hayley Willams (both Uni Queensland) explain why. Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s pick of the week.

Merlin Crossley moves beyond zero-tolerance grammar policing which makes people feel excluded. A focus on intent and meaning in students’ work is what matters.

Data answers are out there

The datasets researcher need often already exist but accessing them isn’t always easy. Microsoft can help

Answers to the world’s biggest questions are hidden in datasets already available, but the cost of and expertise needed to interrogate them have been hugely prohibitive. Now, with public cloud even the smallest research teams have access to technologies that enable them to pursue problems in ways previously thought impossible.” To hear how it can be done join Justin Perry (CSIRO), plus Auda Eltahla, Andreas Wilm and Steve van Bodegraven (all Microsoft) for a live panel discussion, tomorrow 5pm AEDT. Register here.  Plus consult Australian case studies here.

What’s next for Uni Queensland architecture academics

Whatever it is, school staff don’t know

Consultation concludes Wednesday on Uni Queensland’s proposal to “pivot” the School of Architecture from its “narrow focus” on – architecture. Management wants the school to do more on urbanism and design.

Dean of Engineering, Architecture and IT Vicki Chen says the school’s “current trajectory is not sustainable.”  (CMM November 12). So the 19.5 FTE teaching and research positions in the school are being disestablished and replaced with 18 FTE academic jobs across architecture, urbanism and design.

So, why not just get the existing architecture academics to teach and research the other stuff? “The new roles required to achieve the school’s strategic objectives, are fundamentally different to the existing positions,” the prop states. But the people whose jobs are set to go will get first crack at the new positions – with the distribution of positions by pay grade largely unchanged.

Problem is, a learned reader suggests, where the people management decides to keep will end up is “opaque.”

“It is not clear what criteria will be used to select who stays in architecture or how many architecture staff will teach in design.”

For staff who don’t make the cut its redeployment or VRs – although CMM struggles to see how there is anything voluntary about departing from a job that is abolished.

Lights-out for lectures at Curtin U

It’s part of a big plan to teach industry-engaged, grad employment focused courses

The final draft of a blended-learning model proposes no more lectures by the end of 2021.

They will be replaced by “Curtin talks,” “ten to 15 minute videos based on a single topic or concept” with students required to watch two-three a week.  While 70 per cent of a unit will still be “class time, specialised labs, specialised teaching spaces,” the university proposes using Curtin-created packaged content; micro-credentials and MOOCs and micromasters available via edX.

It’s all part of a plan to focus on graduate outcomes, “learning technologies will be relevant to the course and real world skill requirements of the students,” with assessment “focused on employability. Assessment “tasks will reflect the practices of the discipline or profession the course is designed around.”

And by 2026, “each course will have a curriculum that has been co-designed via industry collaboration.” To prepare students for the workforce, there will be at least one “authentic industry engagement each semester,” defined as, “internships/practicums/innovative WIL approaches/fieldwork/industry collaboration).”

To which a learned reader asks, who will be organising all of the activities and how will all the on-line course content be managed and presented in ways that make students and academics partners in a, “a collaborative relationship with a shared responsibility for learning and teaching.”

The LR suggests there may be a permanent staff savings dimension to the plan, with assessment, design and industry liaison managed by casual staff.

Also in WA, Murdoch U is also working towards way less lecturing from next year (CMM October 9).

HE standards bill: not perfect but passable

Senators have had multiple looks at the government’s bill on higher education provider category standards. Reviews are mixed

The bill basically enacts (nearly all )the Coaldrake review of the standards (CMM October 12 and 26) and was expected to sail through the parliament. But senators had other ideas, with the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee holding an inquiry. The scrutiny of bills committee also had a look.

The scrutiny committee was not convinced by Education Minister Dan Tehan’s assurance that the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency, in consultation with stakeholders and the states has oversight and assurance covered so that there is no need to specify requirements in the text of the bill (CMM November 27).

The legislation committee’s report (released Friday) on its inquiry was more relaxed. “Many submitters who raised concerns or recommended changes to the bill did not object to its passage; some even expressed explicit support for the bill and its aims.”

Overall the committee recommends the bill be passed, agreeing with the government that, “the use of delegated legislation will allow the standards to be more responsive as circumstances evolve and change over time. The committee is also further reassured by TEQSA’s evident commitment to consultation—including with the Higher Education Standards Panel and other experts in the field of research evaluation.”

However, Labor senators Louise Pratt and Kim Carr want the government’s chosen term for not-quite unis “university colleges” replaced with “institute of higher education” as the Coaldrake review proposed. They also share the scrutiny committee’s concern that specifics on the standards should be in the primary legislation, warning, “as it currently stands the safeguards that ensure standards are adequate and sector specific are not provided in this bill.” But they do not reject the bill outright.

Uni Melbourne admin changes: staff fear more of the same

Management wants to introduce a shared services model, which worries people who worry they will end up where they have been before

Staff in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education fear the Shared Services Model for administration risks a loss of local knowledge and could increase workloads for academic and professional staff in the school.

University top management says the shared services approach is not about centralising support, but collaboration, so “we don’t have multiple ways of doing the same thing,” (CMM August 28).

However, MGSE professional staff tell school leaders that many of them went through the university’s Business Improvement Plan in 2013-14, (more tech, less people, lower paid positions, they say) and are “not convinced … the Shared Services Model will be beneficial”.

Specifically, they fear; “a cut to the quality and quantity of services, which professional staff at MGSE have spent years developing and maintaining,” and more admin for academics, plus, an undermining of academic – professional staff collaboration.


Appointments, achievements

The Curtin Academy (“reward, enable and extend excellence in teaching at the university”) announces new fellows, Natalie Gasson (Psychology) Michelle Kelly, (Nursing, Midwifery, and Paramedicine), Ben Milbourn (School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology), Le Ng (Physiotherapy and Exercise Science).

 The Law Associate Deans Research Network announce their inaugural legal research awards. * PhD: Brad Jessup (ANU). * ECR article/chapter:  Fady Aoun (Uni Sydney). * General category article/chapter: Michael Legg (UNSW).  * Book: Katherine Biber (UTS). * Desmond Manderson (ANU). *BNon-traditional output:  Michael Grewcock and Vicki Sentas (UNSW), Stella Tarrant (UWA).  * Lifetime achievement: Stephen Bottomley (ANU)>

Three TAFES medal at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2020 awards. Chisholm Institute (Vic), gold for access to learning and employment. South Metro TAFE (WA), gold for industry partnerships and Kangan Institute (Vic) bronze in the “sustainable development” category

Monash VC excellence awards


Student learning: Helen Abud, Priscilla Johanesen Danielle Rhodes, (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences), Ewilly Liew, (Business school, Malaysia). Lam Mui, (Business and  Economics).

Early career: Erin Leif (Education)

Teaching associate: Marco Lecci (Business and Economics)

TeachingMichelle Lazarus (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences). Felix Joachim Nobis (Arts).  Jane Terpstra Tong (Business and Economics).

Innovation in learning and teaching

Technology: Tristan Cui, Charanjit Kaur, Julie Luu (Business and Economics).

Technology commendation:  Lightboard team, Lincoln Turner, Russell Anderson, Philip Starkey, Joshua Morris, Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway, Steve Morton, Barbara Macfarlan, Stephanie Luo, Cameron Nichol, (Science and Business and Economic).

Curriculum: Ramesh Nataraja (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences).

 Hons supervisionGrace Hooi Yean Lee, (Business and Economics).


ECR (HASS): Kathy Smith (Education).

ECR (STEM): Zoe McQuilten (Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences).

Enterprise: Michelle McIntosh (Pharmacy).

Impact: Brian Martin (Art, Design, Architecture).

PG Research supervision: Tom Drummond (Engineering).

Honour Roll (“recognising academic leadership”)

Robert Brooks (Business and Economics), Huanting Wang (Engineering).