As information piles up academics are essential
Setting the right score for success
A win for research open access
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Macquarie U’s library has cancelled the university’s subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review. A message to staff yesterday cites a price hike, “almost tripling our annual subscription cost” and problems in accessing content. According to MU, other universities are doing the same. Perhaps the new owners at Nine Entertainment think university staff will take out their own paid subscriptions.
Less street cred as UniMelb continues “made possible” campaign
There is a new advert in the University of Melbourne’s research campaign, “made possible by Melbourne.” This one is about an oxygen supply independent of electricity being used to help children in Africa with pneumonia. It extends the campaign, which ran in 2016 with 14 adverts, demonstrating how the university’s research made a practical difference to people’s lives (CMM November 2 2016). Th difference is that a burst then was on 14 adshel displays around the Melbourne CBD – this one is a video on social media. Bigger reach but nowhere the impact on Melbournians on the street.
What they are, not what they’re not
The private higher education provider lobby has changed its name. The Council of Private Higher Education becomes Independent Higher Education Australia. CEO Simon Finn says “for too long Australia’s independent providers have been identified by what they are not – non-universities – rather than what they are – independent higher education providers.”
Postgrads call for income-support and fee regulation
The peak postgraduate body, CAPA is calling for income-support to be extended to postgraduates. “A limited and patchwork income support system is in place, where domestic postgraduate coursework students may be eligible for study payments only if their course is listed as the minimum, fastest, or only pathway to gain an entry-level qualification for their profession,” the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations states in it’s budget submission.
“The government invests in research training, yet many research students withdraw from their studies or exit academia upon completion due to financial stress. Easing the burden by providing income support would also enable research students to become more productive researchers by reducing their need,” CAPA claims. The submission builds on a discussion paper last October.
The council also calls for “some form of price regulation for postgraduate degrees”. This would reduce student debt and “assist the government in making budget savings by reducing the amount of money that they would otherwise have loaned.”
First bized ranking of the year
Three Australian schools make the first bized ranking of the year, from the (UK) Financial Times. The Melbourne Business School is 61 (66 last year) in the world and UNSW’s Australian Graduate School of Management, (long part of the business faulty) is 70 ( 63 last year). They are joined by Macquarie U’s Graduate School of Management, un-rated last year, 49th in 2017 and now 74th in the world.
Adler out at Melbourne Uni Press
Louise Adler’s admirers took to Twitter yesterday to regret her resignation as Melbourne University Publishing. CEO. Over 15 years Ms Adler made the publisher a (very) substantial presence in Australian publishing, with a list heavy on political discussion, social commentary and people in public life. MUP has recently published a book on Cardinal George Pell.
But Ms Adler’s publishing approach is no longer to the university’s taste, which stated last night that, “in response to an extensive review,” the press will now “refocus on being a high quality scholarly press in support of the university’s mission of excellence in teaching and research.
“The new focus will ensure the university press is aligned to the strengths of the university of Melbourne and its globally recognised academic and research fields,” PVC Engagement Sue Baker said in a statement last night.
Much as UniMelb decided to do back in 2012, when highly-regarded historian and UofM executive Peter McPhee became chair. Then vice chancellor Glyn Davis said, “Professor McPhee’s vast experience in senior academic and management roles meant he was ideally placed to help MUP renew its focus on great academic publishing.”
Last night the board of the press, expressed “sincere gratitude for her diligence, leadership, good judgement and collegiality. It also honours the legacy of the many fine books she has added to the rich tapestry of MUP’s ninety-six-year history.”
Four directors resigned with Ms Adler. Acting chief executive is MUP COO Richard Tegoni. Warren Bebbington is interim chair.
Western Sydney U is co-hosting a city-transit panel discussion, “the future is nearly now.” Not if it is travelling by Sydney rail.
Four point plan to defend teaching-research academics
Universities are at a “critical historical juncture” and academics should act on four fronts to support academics to teach and research, Lew Zipin and Marie Brennan (both Uni SA School of Education adjuncts) argue in a new paper for the Australian Association for Research in Education.
They warn the “will and vital capacity” of universities to support academics who both teach and research is threatened by government policy and university leaderships diverting money into “HR, marketing, legal and other offices.” Consulting firms also, “play a political role in generating rationales for university councils and managements to invest more in teaching and less in research,” they warn.
This is all very bad indeed as, “the combination of research and teaching is a unique way that universities contribute to social advancements. Research is an invaluable connector between academics, students, and local-global communities, which need sustaining so that all can benefit.”
Zipin and Brennan propose four actions to defend balanced teaching-research work.
* “consult widely about what kinds of universities diverse Australians need and desire for their futures
* “mobilise students and communities to join us in challenging governance constraints,” (and) “communicate to wider publics how the quality of both research and teaching in Australian universities is under threat
* “challenge governance across the sector to expand early-career research time and opportunity within fair workloads. … Older academics need to learn from younger colleagues about how they experience changing university cultures
* “spur our research organisations … to help us take action.”
Packaging achievements for Swinburne students
Swinburne University spruiks a partnership with cloud-based platform Portfolium, where students and new grads can create an ePortfolio, “supplementing traditional resumes.” It’s an “Australian first” says Swinburne U.
Smart move –the generality of unis bang on that employers value their degrees, but superior institutions help grads get jobs. Deakin U does, its TALENT service, which offers resume reviews, interview techniques via video practise and career coaching.
The Regional University Network has a new chair, Federation U VC Helen Bartlett. Professor Bartlett replaces Greg Hill (VC, University of the Sunshine Coast) whose two-year term expires today.
LeRoy Poff (distinguished professor at Uni Canberra, also at Colorado State) wins the 2019 excellence award from the Society for Freshwater Science.