The more they stay the same

UNSW reports a makeover for its “Roundhouse,” billed as “Sydney’s first round building.” It still is.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this week, Sally Kift on creating courses and teaching for the world of Industry 4.0

TEQSA audited not auditing

The national audit office is gracing TEQSA with its attentions

Back in March the Australian National Audit Office announced it was considering examining the performance of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency. And now it is on. The audit will examine,

* effectiveness of risk ratings

*“effective and timely” institution approval and course accreditation

* assurance, compliance and enforcement processes and;

* whether, TEQSA provides, “effective support to the higher education sector to address key sector-wide risks.”

Submissions are open to end of October, with a report due in March.

A deal well done at Flinders U

The people have spoken on wage and condition offer

The enterprise agreement proposed by management and campus unions is less endorsed than acclaimed by staff. Around a third of people on the roll turned out and 96 per cent of them voted yes. The agreement now goes to the Fair Work Commission for approval.

Thus ends what appears one of the best managed, even-tempered negotiations of the university bargaining round now wrapping up. This is all the more impressive as it occurred while management and the National Tertiary Education Union were in in fierce disagreement over organisational restructure and staff changes.


Enrolment challenge of the government’s making

The Innovative Research Universities group is not awash with optimism for the government’s education agenda

“The Government focus will remain fiscal tightness ahead of policy innovation, the IRU advises in its new update. And it makes plain that the end of the demand driven system creates challenges for universities to ensure they have the resources needed to meet the coming increase in school-leaver demand for undergraduate places, “the allocated funding system will require each university to argue even more strongly its individual case, articulating the needs of its region.”

And the IRU suggests the government having ended the demand driven system will need to step up.

“If the government wishes to retain ministerial control over university by university allocations its minister will need to be nimble in responding to the likely growth in demand.”

The IRU is more optimistic about research;

“the opportunities may be more positive from the government’s industry, health and development portfolios. The Minister for Industry, Karen Andrews, is determined to improve business’ use of research. The Medical Research Future Fund will reach its full size over the next two years, adding substantially to support for applying research to change health outcomes.”

Open days of the day

Deakin U and ECU get what prospective students want from ODs

Deakin U’s employment outcome-focused approach shapes its OD branding, “a day that is all about tomorrow” and the design of the site – info-rich and easy to navigate. Deakin U marketers get that OD is not the university doing students a favour. The university has just picked up a design award for a 2018 OD product (below in achievements).

The Edith Cowan website isn’t as slick and the incentives are more show-day than Deakin but ECU also understands what ODs should do, “explore the inside of our university to see how we prepare students for the outside world.”


Charles Sturt U new emotional intelligence entry scheme

Access about more than ATARs

Charles Sturt U has a new alternate entry scheme which, “focusses on emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, communication skills, resilience.”

People who are accepted for the CSU Advantage programme, “become part of an exclusive nurture programme that will support them to develop their soft skills prepare them for university, and connect them with a community of like-minded people.”

There are 50 or so degrees on offer and for school-leavers acceptance is conditional, with required ATARS ranging from 55 to 65. The exception is pharmacy, which requires an ATAR of 70. The University of Sydney requites a 90 ATAR for its pharmacy degree.

Where open access isn’t

There’s one continent with no drift to free to read research

For-profit publishers do not have the universal price-setting power they enjoyed a decade back, as government and institutions kick-back and the open-access push picks up pace. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition provides a global guide showing how OA is expanding. The US and Europe lead the list of individual universities and systems from all over the world – but there is one major research nation that does not appear at all. We are in it this morning.


Shivani Bhandari from CSIRO wins the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Louise Webster Prize for early career research – she found fast radio bursts and tracked them to source galaxy.

The Australian Space Agency’s advisory group is announced; Steven Freeland, (space law, Western Sydney U). Lisa Harvey-Smith, (astrophysics and science comms, Australian Government women in STEM ambassador). Peter Klinken, (chief scientist WA). Pamela Melroy (director, space technology and policy, Nova Systems). Chris Pigram, CSIRO deep earth imaging advisory panel). Frank Robert, (associated VP A. T. Kearney). Margaret Sheil (VC, QUT). Andrew Thomas (SA government space advisor).

The 2019 Melbourne Design Awards are announced; Jackson Clements Burrows win gold for Gillies Hall, a multi-story timber student residential building on the Monash U Peninsula campus. Luminary wins gold for its design of a website for a student recruitment website for the William Anglis Institute.  And Deakin U wins silver for their 2018 Open Day “mind racer” brain-computer interface.