The Australian Catholic University is phished.

Acting VC Steven Weller tells staff “email accounts and some university systems have been compromised”

Professor Weller reports that “a very small number of staff” have had email and bank details stolen.  Staff caught had responded to a fake email badged as ACU and supplied information on a counterfeit ACU login.

The fraud occurred in May and staff involved, plus banks and regulators, are advised.

Nothing to shout in the stacks

Libraries to stay staffed at Uni Adelaide

At the University of Adelaide student leaders protest at plans to cut library staff at the Roseworthy and Waite ag science campuses. “It is disappointing and unfair that students right to a staffed library is challenged … . All University of Adelaide students deserve the right to the same education and opportunities that are occurring in North Terrace,” they write to university librarian Theresa Chitty.

To which the university replies yes, there is a review “of the utilisation of services” at the two campuses’ libraries but no, there are no final recommendations and when there are, they “will not include job losses”.

Imagining engineering as a liberal arts degree

A major new reports says it could be investigated

The Australian Council of Engineering Deans wants to know what the profession will require in 2035, so they asked Caroline Crosthwaite (emeritus professor Uni Queensland) and colleagues to ask experts and research alternatives for a scoping study.

Which is what they comprehensively did, producing a deep dive into what engineers will do and the education they will need. The report points to five core issues for education,

* programs, and pathways for “a more diverse cohort of students”.  This could mean engineering, “reimagined as a ‘new liberal arts degree’ with a problem finding/solving and design focus, mathematics and science foundations, and the development of engineering thinking, judgment while fostering the capacity for lifelong learning?” Double degrees and/or micro credentials could “contribute more towards meeting future education requirements.”

* importance of T shaped skills: (expert knowledge and skills as the vertical, collaboration and learning as the horizontal

* changed curriculum contexts and pedagogies: “greater use of open-ended problems, and stronger engagement with industry and community is needed. Problem finding as well as problem solving will be required. Pedagogies that nurture the development of engineering habits of mind as well as more general learning habits of mind are required.”

* impact on education provider structures and cultures: “The development of technical and professional skills supporting collaborative, inter-disciplinary team-work and work outside conventional engineering roles appears likely to be a more important part of an engineering education for the future.”

* new kinds of engineering educators: “more practice-oriented, able to better engage with and inspire students, able to use appropriate pedagogies, and able adapt to the broadening requirements of engineering education.”

There is a great deal of detail in the report and many ideas that will challenge the set-in-their ways – the one which some might struggle with is the prospect of engineering reimagined as a “new liberal arts degree.”

UNSW MOOCs on offer in India

UNSW MOOCs (via Future Learn) will be on-offer, on-line in India, through private provider Amity U

This fits VC Ian Jacobs argument at a Sydney conference “that there is a mismatch between where the need and demand for higher education is globally, and where the expertise resides.”

It also could be the basis for a future revenue stream, necessary if demand from academically qualified international students willing to pay to study in Australia has peaked.

Demand driven system: gone but way not forgotten

There’s something for everybody in the Productivity Commission’s report on the demand driven system

The lobbies looked for conclusions they liked in the PC’s mixed findings on the now abolished system of demand driven funding of UG places (CMM yesterday)

Universities Australia focused on the positives, pointed to limitations – the PC only looked at students under 25 in assessing “additionals” who started university under DFF and embraced the reports overall conclusion – “the long-run pressure will be to continue to increase the size of the sector given that the historical shift towards jobs requiring complex cognitive skills is unlikely to abate.”

TAFE Directors Australia liked different bits, particularly the PC’s point that people went to university who would have been better off in training. “This should be a wake-up call that a blinkered and uneven approach to skills and learning is not only bad policy for the nation, but is leaving some individuals vulnerable and disadvantaged as they cope with a rapidly changing workplace,” TDA’s Craig Roberston said

The always-on-message Regional Universities Network warned the PCs picture is incomplete, not including mature age students outside cities.  “Regional universities must have the ability to grow places to allow more regional students to undertake higher education and close the gap in university attainment between the regions and cities.”

The full-on policy people of the Innovative Research Universities warned that by focusing on recent school leavers the PC ignored a third of the additional students who accessed university because of the demand driven system.

And they pointed out that despite suggestions that students enrolling in uni would better off in training the PC report shows 30 per cent of additional starts due to DDF were people who previously had tried training. “This suggests those students were aware of VET opportunities and now wanted higher education to follow.  Demand driven strengthened the pathways between the sectors.”

The IRU also picks up on the PC’s emphasis on the links between school and tertiary education, calling it “a major outcome.”

“The commission is concerned that literacy and numeracy levels for school leavers have dropped, meaning that all entrants to university are likely to be that much less prepared.  When students reach essential thresholds of knowledge and capability they are better positioned for university and other tertiary providers to build on those foundations.”

More places to cite sources

The open-access, pre-print, Social Science Research Network is extending citation services-it is not as altruistic as it sounds

SSRN announces an updated function, which reports where papers it presents are cited in research published on the network and elsewhere. “As SSRN has grown, we have recognised the need to adapt our citations management so that we can more quickly and accurately meet the increasing rate of submissions to our site.”
It’s not quite the unqualified advance for open access it appears. SSRN was bought in 2016 by RELX, which also owns for-profit publisher Elsevier.  The journal giant is reducing its reliance on  long-standing pay to read and newer pay to publish models, by increasing its data-analytic and research services. The more research information in the Elsevier universe the longer it prospers.


Ann McGrath is the new Hancock professor of history at ANU. The chair is named for Keith Hancock, the university’s foundation professor of history.

The Australian Academy of Science announces Louise Moes is manager of diversity and inclusion. Ms Moes has a strong background in government and the welfare sector. She is a former Labor staffer.