Sell of the morning

“There’s no UTS without US,” campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union announces a stop-work yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

David Myton talks to Macquarie U’s David Christian, who developed Big History in the face of a postmodernist pushback. How Australia is getting serious about exploring the final frontier; and the wrap on ARC Linkage research partnerships.

Easily fixed

From across the ditch Nicole Lawson reports the University of Auckland misspelt September on testamurs handed out last month. Typos are always with us, as regular readers of CMM recognise but this cannot be the big deal it would have been once. UoA is an early adopter of the ANZ MyeQuals qualifications register which provides graduates with digital copies of transcripts and certificates, where corrections are surely easy.

Huge cost of big loss

The National Tertiary Education Union reports spending $870 000 in the Fair Work Commission case against Murdoch University, which applied to cancel conditions set under its expired enterprise agreement. The university won. CMM asked Murdoch U how much it spent and a response is promised.

Navitas invests

Just days after announcing a 10 per cent profit slide while pointing to a positive future, Navitas announces the purchase of Christchurch College of English. CCE provides services to Navitas’ own pathway college and the University of Canterbury. The price for 100 per cent ownership is NZ$5m.

How governing is and isn’t done ANZSOG opens its case study archive

ANZSOG has opened its collection of case studies to all interested in how we are governed. The Australian and New Zealand School of Government has a library of 200 papers addressing public policy issues which are used for interactive teaching. Academics who want to use the cases in classes, can also access teaching notes.

The most recent case examines what occurred when public servants were given 48 hours to come up with a home insulation scheme – we know what resulted, the case study explains why.

Gore honoured

Jennifer Gore is the first woman to become a University of Newcastle laureate professor. The title recognises “exceptional academic achievement” and is “among” the university’s “highest academic honours.” Professor Gore is director of the university’s teachers and teaching research centre.

University union sets new membership union

The National Tertiary Education Union had a good year, with its annual report showing membership at an all-time high. Assistant National Secretary Matthew McGowan states there are 28 000 people are on the books, up on the previous peak of 27 500 in 2014. Mr McGowan attributes a surge in membership to university workers responding to the Fair Work Commission to cancel conditions set by the expired enterprise agreement at Murdoch University and “bargaining struggles at the University of Sydney.”

While relations with three of the four WA public universities have improved, the union also describes an “exceptionally tough” start to the present round of enterprise bargaining, with the WA public universities declaring, they wanted “to break the union’s industry and enterprise bargain” and taking “a no compromise position on all key issues.” This accounts for the $870k the union spent on legal costs the union spent unsuccessfully fighting Murdoch University in the Fair Work Commission. The FWC agreed to Murdoch’s application to end the application of wages and conditions in its expired enterprise agreement. The union reports a marginal loss of $63k on revenues of $21.7m

Monash to make its own mint as it builds on blockchains

Does ambition at Monash University know no bounds? Silly question really, demonstrated yesterday by news the university is partnering with venture capitalist Collinstar to create a blockchain based cryptocurrency exchange, using Hcash. This Monash’s Joseph Liu says is a value and information exchange system for blockchains, which is superior to Bitcoin. Hcash can potentially serve separate blockchains. The venturers will establish an R&D centre at Monash Clayton, with a node at Hong Kong Polytechnique U. Can a unit of cryptocurrency called the Monash be far away?

CMM suspects the news will interest Jason Potts and colleagues at RMIT who have set up what that university claims is the “world’s first research centre on social science of blockchain,” (CMM September 4) Splendid, an RMIT crypto-regulator for a Monash cryptocurrency exchange.


Best bookshop

The UNSW Kensington bookshop is the campus bookseller of the year. The Australian Publishers Association has now named it best bookshop four times and runner up once since 202.

Sinking a skills shortage: education and training for shipbuilding set to expand

 Last week universities scrambled aboard the starlight express when the government announced a national space agency. This weeks the news is naval.

Still set to sail

Christopher Pyne still says his proposed navy shipbuilding college will launch next year. The Defence Industry minister announced the college back in March (CMM March 27) and since then has consistently said it will be based on Adelaide (at the Osborne ship yard, we now know) but will involve universities and trainers around the country in a hub and spokes structure.

In  a speech this week Mr Pyne added the college,“will attract, train and re-train more than 1,500 students across Australia in its first few years.”

“The college will also manage the rapid expansion of skilled shipbuilding workers in Australia, collaborating with government and industry to ensure the right workforce supply,” the minister said.

The government requested proposals for the college at the end of May but when the college will launch and who will crew it continues unannounced. If it is to launch for the standard academic year a 2018 start looks tight.

Another plan

The college is not the only training programme on the slips. German firm Luerssen wants to build the next patrol boat fleet and plans to partner with the Defence Industry Education and Skills Consortium (including UniSA, UniAdelaide, Flinders, RMIT) to provide shipbuilding training.

Plus ideas

Shipbuilder Fincantieri will fund technology innovations proposed by researchers at Flinders U and partner Genoa University. Flinders VC Colin Stirling points to university research that adapted fibre optics used in gastrointestinal research to work on noise and pressure in submarines. Fincantieri is shortlisted to build the navy’s nine antisubmarine warfare frigates.

Just when it gets interesting

The University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College is losing its principal. Neil Bose is leaving after 10 years at the AMC, including five at the helm, to become vice president research at Memorial U, the higher education institution for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Professor Bose departs as the AMC extends its reach, announcing new degree courses at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney ( CMM August 31). Five day courses in supply chain management and “fundamentals of naval architecture are on at the ANMM next month.

Times Higher subject rankings signal Asian unis arriving

Times Higher Education has announced four new global subject rankings. The US and UK dominate the global top 20s but Hong Kong, China and Singapore institutions are appearing, where Australia is not. The global top 20 institutions include:

Social Sciences: Oxford (1), Harvard and MIT (=2), Stanford (4), Princeton (5). No ANZ universities made the cut.

Law: Duke (1), Stanford (2), Yale (3), Chicago (4), Cambridge (5). The University of Melbourne is 7th.

Education: Stanford (1), Harvard (2), Oxford (3), Hong Kong (4), UCal Berkeley (5). The Chinese University of Hong Kong also ranks, at 20th.

Business and Economics: Stanford (1), MIT (2), Oxford (3) London Business School (4) and Cambridge (5). The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is 14th, the National Univesity of Singapore is 16th and Peking University is 17th.