plus the cosmopolitan campuses with the highest per centage of international students

the three VCs honoured

and attrition busters: marvellous MOOCs from the University of Sydney

McKay goes for gold

University of Melbourne marketing director Lara McKay is leaving to become GM marcoms for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Ms McKay made CMM’s people of the year in 2015 and 2016 for two brilliant research branding campaigns. Given the new job ends mid ’18 universities should start working on offers she can’t refuse for the end of next year.

MOOCs of  the morning

Perhaps the year. The University of Sydney is addressing attrition – not just there but everywhere, with MOOCS teaching prospective and commencing students the foundation skills they need to succeed. Starting mainly on Monday the university is offering five courses, via Coursera, collectively badged as Building learning skills to excel at university. “The course equips you for full participation and engagement with your studies by building awareness and understanding of the core values and expectations of academic culture.”

The five units address, information and digital literacy, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills (this six week unit started on Monday), communication skills, and the capstone unit, academic skills. People who complete as much as they want in a month are up for $65.

The courses come from the Centre for English Teaching, which, “aims to connect the best and brightest global citizens to the University of Sydney”. It is hard to imagine a more virtuous MOOC – it builds the university brand with local and international prospective students and it explains the standards and skills that are the foundation of university education.

Ideas to bank on

RMIT professor and expert on the economics of innovation Jason Potts has joined the industry advisory council for the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association. It’s a appointment. Back in September Professor Potts explained the problem for new technology is finding ways to use it. “The challenge is to create governance institutions to solve this knowledge problem, and overcome the various coordination problems and hazards that stand in the way. This means dealing with problems of identifying and minimising transactions costs to arrive at effective and efficient governance institutions for pooling distributed innovation resources in order to create new knowledge.” (CMM September 27)

Expanding international education

The feds have released data showing 34 000 Australian undergraduates studied overseas in 2015, 20 per cent up on 2014 and just ahead of the 15 per cent of US students who did the same. But lest anyone consider us cosmopolitan, consider the number of international students who came here, as of last  November some 551 000. International enrolments in higher education were up 13 per cent over 2015 with a 12 per cent VET increase. Australia rates third in the world in hosting 8 per cent of international students, behind the US (26 per cent) and the UK (13 per cent). We are followed by France and with 7 per cent each.

Where the internationals are: Australian universities with over 10 000 onshore international student enrolments in 2015 were; UniMelb 18 300, Monash 15 700, UniSydney 15 700, UNSW 14 700, UoQ 12 600, RMIT 11 700 and UTS 10 400.

Most cosmopolitan campuses: Universities where onshore internationals accounted for more than 20 per cent of on-campus students were; Federation U 42 per cent, Bond U 41per cent, UniMelbourne 31 per cent, ANU 28 per cent, UniSydney 27 per cent, UNSW 26 per cent, Monash U 26 per cent, UTS 26 per cent, RMIT 25 per cent, Uni Wollongong, Uni Adelaide and UoQ 24 per cent, CQU 23 per cent, Macquarie U 20 per cent, Victoria U 20 per cent, Charles Darwin U 20 per cent, UniCanberra 20 per cent

Higher education benefits from blurred borders

While the education and training borders are blurred the much smaller but richer higher education system dominates practise and policy. It’s a trend that is set to continue if, as seems likely, the government grants universities their wish and enrolment caps are lifted on the sub-degree programmes. The danger, suggests Craig Fowler, head of the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research is that, “left to current policy settings, higher education will continue to steadily take over the top levels of VET, and it is arguable that, whether by design or not, the tertiary system has already accommodated this shift. The policy, program and funding boundaries have been reset. If this ‘new normal’ applies, then implementing initiatives that seek to bolster affordable paraprofessional, vocationally oriented learning might be all the more challenging.”

In a new paper for the NCVERDr Fowler suggests the answer is less to create distinct divides between the sectors than allow students to pick and mix from both. With some 86 institutions answering to both training regulator ASQA and its higher education equivalent TESQA this seems less a good idea than an acknowledgement of reality.

Honoured Australians

Biomolecular scientist Alan Mackay-Sim from Griffith University is the Australian of the Year. Professor Mackay-Sim was out early yesterday calling for better careers paths for young medical researchers. He will be heard – as the Australia Day honours list demonstrates, when it comes to community respect there is no matching medicine, with a gong of awards going to medical scientists, especially ones affiliated to Group of Eight universities. Order of Australia recipients announced yesterday who work in higher education or have strong campus connections (with apologies to anybody missed) are


University of Melbourne chemist Andrew Holmes

Former education minister and policy reviewer David Kemp

University of Sydney VC Michael Spence

Tasmanian governor and former Uni Tas dean Kate Warner

Flinders U opthamologist Keryn Williams


MaryAnn Binsallik, indigenous studies scholar Charles Darwin U. Roberta Brazil, former University of Southern Queensland chancellor. Stephen Colagiuri, diabetes researcher, University of Sydney. David Jamie Cooper, intensive care brain specialist Monash U. Mark Cooper, medical researcher Baker IDI. Greg Craven, VC Australian Catholic U. Jane Den Hollander, VC Deakin U. Helen Durham, humanitarian law, UniMelb. Leon Flicker, geriatrician UWA. Ray Frost, scientist, QUT. Jim Gehling, environmental science Uni Adelaide. William Gibson otolaryngologist at UniSydney. Gwendolyn Gilbert, infectious diseases specialist, UniSydney. Peter Gray, biotechnologist at UoQ. Patricia Grimshaw, historian, UniMelb. Tracey Horton, chair, Navitas. Ian Johnston, engineering academic, UniMelb. Liz Kenny, oncologist and adjunct professor at UoQ. Carol Liston, historian, Western Sydney U. William Lovegrove, former VC, Uni Southern Queensland. Max Lu, former provost UoQ, now VC, University of Surrey. John McLean, veterinary scientist at UniMelb and Swinburne U. Colin Masters, Alzheimers researcher UniMelb. Bill Mulford, education academic, UniTas. Larry Sitsky, emeritus professor of music ANU. Andrew Stewart Coats, medical research, Monash and Warwick universities. David Vaux, biomedical cancer research, Walter and Eliza Hall. Gordon Wallace, polymer research, Uni Wollongong.


ANU social scientist Jon Altman. Uni Sydney neuroscientist Patricia Armati. Uni Melbourne and UTS dispute resolution lawyer Ian Bailey. QUT adjunct IT professor David Barbagallo. Vaughan Beck, advisor to the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Alan Bittles, genomics researcher with adjunct chairs at Murdoch and Edith Cowan U. Jill Blackmore, Deakin U researcher into university employment. Sue Blundell, former English Australia chief. Uni Adelaide scientist John Bowie. John Boyages, oncologist at Macquarie University hospital. Clinical associate professor Stephen Bradshaw, ANU. Judith Brown, professor of music education at CQU. Sandford Clark, law professor at Uni Melbourne. Simon Clarke, adolescent health researcher University of Sydney. Ruth Colagiuri, diabetes research specialist, University of Sydney. Noel Cornish, deputy chancellor, University of Wollongong. Christine Deer, emeritus professor UTS. Hugh Dove, CSIRO agricultural scientist. Harry Iland University of Sydney haematologist. Tom Karmel, former head of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research. UWA radiologist Makhan Kangure. Vijay Kumar, nuclear medicine specialist at the University of Sydney. Albert Lam, paediatrician, University of Sydney. Sandra Lowe, UNSW obstetrician. Lyn March, rheumatologist at the University of Sydney. William Maxwell, emeritus professor in veterinary science, UniSyd. Robert Morris-Nunn, architecture academic at UTas. Nahan Mushin, family law adjunct professor at Monash U. Geoffrey Painter, opthamologist at UniSyd. Evan Simpson, breast cancer specialist at the Hudson Institute and Monash U. Owen Slee, (deceased) radio astronomer at CSIRO. Larry Smith, (deceased) vocational education researcher at UNE. David Stanton, public policy researcher at ANU. Bob Stimson, UoQ geographer. Malcolm Walker, astrobiologist at UNSW. Albert Yue-Ling Wong, philanthropist and president of UniSyd physics foundation. John Yeaman, civil engineering academic, University of the Sunshine Coast. Peter Zablud, adjunct law professor Victoria U.


Michael Armstrong, medicine, UniSyd. Neal Ashkanasy, education and psychology UoQ. Gabrielle Cooper, pharmacy education, UniCanberra. Hugh Dickson, aged care, UniSyd. Gayle Fischer, dermatologist, UniSyd. Gregory Fulcher, medical administration, UniSyd. Robert Howman-Giles, paediatrics, UniSyd. Jennifer King, obstetrics, UniSyd. Leonard Kliman, obstetrics, UniSyd. William Maiden, professional associate, education, UniCanberra. Ian Meyers, dentistry, UoQ. Gary Richardson, oncology, Cabrini Monash. Ranjana Srivastava, oncology, Monash U. Graeme Stratford, council member, Uni of Southern Queensland.