Still no QILT

CMM asked the Department of Education twice last week and officials promised to advise when they can

Institutions received their undergraduate survey results for the 2021 Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching in January, as usual. But nothing has happened since.

It’s a curious contrast with last year, when the 2020 all-institution results were out in March.

Observers suggest QILT ‘21 has long been ready to be released and that the government, at least lately, did not want to detract attention from Friday’s teacher education summit.  But now, the sooner the better.

As Studiosity’s Jack Goodman points out,  it’s essential for prospective students trying to decide where to study. QILT “is the only objective comparison information, and as such it is essential that it be available during critical decision-making times in the academic calendar,” (CMM July 26).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

David Chinofunga (James Cook U) on creating maths courses: remember to include what students already know. This week’s contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally’s Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

plus Frank Larkins (Uni Melbourne) on Queensland public universities 2021 financials: good  results – for reasons that won’t all happen again.

The heart of the matter in discovery research

Researchers report examples from cardiovascular medicine

Christina A Bursill (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) and colleagues warn the emphasis on research translation has “increased job insecurity for discovery science researchers and especially early-mid career researchers.”

To explain why this is very bad indeed they present six case-studies of how fundamental discoveries in cardiovascular science translated into treatments.

And fascinating, if not always elegantly easy, reading it is too – making a practical cases for work that did not start with a market in mind.

Their take-out is,

“spectacular developments in our understanding of CVD over the last 60 years have seen dramatic declines in mortality. However, a plateau has been reached and ‘solving’ the next frontier of CVD (eg coronary artery disease in patients without conventional risk factors, treatment-resistant hypertension, and haemorrhagic stroke, among others) will require a whole-of-pipeline approach that places importance on basic and discovery science.”

It’s an argument that needs to be heard way beyond the medical research community – which the authors did not make all that easy by publishing in journal Heart, Lung and Circulation.  

Good idea, bad timing

Firbank Grammar launches its partnership with Ladies’ College Institute of Professional Studies in Colombo

It’s for students at the latter to study the VCE via the former and thus acquire an ATAR. It’s an innovative for new markets in international education. Great idea, shame about the timing, what with the state of Sri Lanka’s economy.

More of the same at Uni New England

Acting VC Simon Evans says the existing strategy stays

Professor Evans was appointed last Friday, replacing Brigid Heywood who is facing assault charges and had resigned. But while Professor Heywoood is gone her strategy says. “Council has also signalled its commitment to maintaining the strategic direction of the university,” Professor Evans says.

Given Chancellor James Harris has made it plain the Heywood plan for organisational change and her ten year strategy for the university “will continue” (CMM August 8) Professor Evans did not have much choice. But this will deeply disappoint UNE staff unhappy with the impact of admin changes and staff departures under the old regime and who hoped that as a newcomer (he arrived in January) Professor Evans would not be bound (also CMM August 8).

China student arrivals way down

Total arrivals of people on international student visas in YTD May were 36 per cent of comparable 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. Arrivals from China were 15 per cent

All up there were 425 000 Jan-May pre-COVID 2019, and 151 000 this year.

India (25 610 arrivals YTD for ’22) replaces, China (just) as the top source of arriving students (24 000).

However Indian arrivals are still way down 45 per cent down on 2019.

And Nepal moves up from the fifth market in 2019 (13 600) to the third this year.

International education expert Dirk Mulder says officials suggest a recovery from the pandemic is slow but happening. Certainly Home Affairs reports a record, almost 43 000, student visa applications lodged in June. This continued in July with 10 000 applications being received a week.

All states and territories recorded big declines in arrivals, from 50 per cent in the Northern Territory to 72 per cent in WA. Of the big three, NSW arrivals to May were down 60 per cent, Victoria was down 65 per cent and Queensland 69 per cent.

Mr Mulder reported the international arrivals big-picture in CMM last week (August 9).

Fed U reverses direction on Arts exit

Just over a week back the university announced there would be no arts degree from 2023, due to lack of demand. But on Friday the university said arts would stay – there’s a reason for that

The decision followed vocal protests from the National Tertiary Education Union  and Australia Catholic U announcing it was looking at introducing an arts degree at its Ballarat campus, cross-town from Fed U’s homebase (CMM August 8 and 12).

And then there was a change of management mind at Fed U.  Perhaps the publicity was putting in peril the university’s Open Day unveil (yesterday) –  the cooperative education model, which it will launch in 2025.

Federation U says students will undertake accredited leaning in a workplace, with options for paid work, “or working on real projects on campus to deliver practical outcomes for industry.”

And so management announces arts will be part of the new model, “for regional students wanting a head start on a successful career and for regional employers wanting graduates primed for the workplace.”

Acting VC Liam Sloan says a group of employers, students, staff and “experts” will “redesign the BA so that it is contemporary, multidisciplinary and digitally driven to meet student and industry needs.”

Students starting arts next year will complete their degree in the new model.

Feds warn on the what and where of student visa fraud

The Commonwealth (quietly) reports “emerging integrity issues” with visa applications

Problem is you have to know where to look for the warnings, which are down page in both July and August Home Affairs advice notes for international education  providers, at its Provider Registration and International Student Management System site.

“ This information needs to be drawn to people’s attention – not only those who work directly in international recruitment and admissions, but quality and risk managers, deans and other senior leaders,” a learned reader warns.

The Department of Home Affairs tells HE providers “there are ongoing concerns” about education agents and sub-agents who arrange enrolments and/or lodge visa apps without declaring involvement.

It also asks providers “to sight and check overseas tertiary qualifications,” “particularly where the student is not represented by an education agent or where a new education agent is involved.”

Officials specifically warn of integrity issues with student visa applications from,

India: (in particular Haryana, Gujurat and Pubjab), fraudulent academic and English language qualifications. “Several education agents have been linked to large volumes of these applications.

Pakistan: “widespread use of fraudulent financial documents,” which “appears to be organised by a small group of education agents.”

Nepal: “fraud is present” and “there has been a significant increase in lodgements in the VET sector).

Kenya, Ghana: insufficient funds, fraudulent visas and identity fraud.

Minister agree on performance funding for teacher education

Education Ministers adopted a national plan for teaching, Friday

The plan includes “elevating” teachers’ status, ways for teachers to teach more and administer less and to increase the workforce.

And then there is an idea that the previous government was keen on, “strengthening initial teacher education.”

This will include,

* first-year school placements for ITE students

* assessment in teaching students’ first year of “literacy and numeracy skills” with “targeted support if they need it” (student teachers now must pass existing LANTITE tests before they can graduate

* states and territories will “consider” regulatory and accreditation structures, “to ensure they are fit for purpose”

And then there is the big one for education academics

*  an “expert panel” to strengthen “the link between performance and funding of ITE.”

“This will include but not be limited to advising on how Commonwealth supported places for teaching should be allocated based on quality and other relevant factors.”

This comes from a report to the previous government and the idea was quickly adopted by then (acting) education minister Stuart Robert – who announced Uni Sydney VC Mark Scott would head the panel, the rest of which was not named before the election (CMM February 25).

And now the new government wants to links ITE course funding to performance and wants to Professor Scott to head the panel.

There’s a cheery thought for dean of education faculties – questions about their work is bipartisan and shared by the Commonwealth and the states/territories.


As of October, Paul Bonnington will be PVC (Research Infrastructure) at Uni Queensland.  He moves from Monash U, where he is director of eResearch.

Andrew Clark (Charles Sturt U) is elected president of the “preeminent scientific forum for wine science,” the Vino Analytica Science.

David Martinez Martin steps up to deputy director at Uni Sydney’s Sydney Microscopy and Microanalysis.

Monash U appoints six new Arts professors, * Sharon Bong (Monash Malaysia, Arts and Social Sciences) * Jacqui Broad (Philosophical, Historical and International Studies) * Kate Fitz-Gibbon (Social Sciences) * Katrina Lee-Kho (Social Sciences) * Marie Seagrave (Social Sciences) * Belinda Small (Media, Film, Journalism).

Peter Radoll (Victoria U) becomes an executive council member at the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.