UNSW in the money

It is $1.6m ahead of its 2021 raising target fund of $42m. Since 2015 it has raised $371m – the goal is $650m by 2025. Cash in makes a change.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie looks at ANU’s books – another uni big in property.

plus, Universities will open but that does not mean students want to be on campus. Samantha Hall (from Campus Intuition) has ideas on encouraging them. Hers is a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

There will be more from Dr Hall at CMM’s Reimagining the lives of the lectured conference next week. Sign-up here.

and, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the power of youth in life, and university administration.

What grant panels need to know

QUT researchers are surveying health and medical researchers about what they will include in research applications

They want to know how much applicants will reveal, abut medical and social circumstances, including about career disruption, to the National Health and Medical Research Council.  The  team invites responders to include “a hypothetical scenario on career disruption.” The survey also asks responders to report how they would consider such information if they were peer reviewing applications.

The anonymised results, “may inform national policy on career disruption,” the QUT team suggests.

Which matters to many researchers who apply to the NHMRC, particularly to people who take time-out for caring responsibilities and especially women of an age when they are most likely to have young children – which can mean they may never catch up in the research race.

National Health and Medical Research Council head Anne Kelso has acknowledged this could be a (but not the only) reason for fewer women than men winning chief investigator grants, “when women are having their families it is then very much harder to be a full-time researcher and to do all the travel and other things that are part of being a full-time researcher and being competitive in a scheme like this which is so track-record driven,” (CMM September 16 2019).

The survey also asks whether an “independent medical panel” should assess career disruption rather than scientific experts.

“I used to lecture, but it’s all over now”

When students go back to campus will they include live lectures and if they don’t what will academics who love to lecture do? 

Elizabeth Baré (L H Martin Institute), Scott Bowman (Charles Darwin U) Gregor Kennedy (Uni Melbourne), and Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland) discuss what might happen at Sally Kift, Twig Marketing and CMM’s new conference, “Reimagining the lives of the lectured,” October 19-21. Details  here.

Deakin U to roll-out (another) restructure

Management expects 200 positions to go with new structures to be in place by year end

VC Iain Martin briefed staff yesterday on the second major set of changes in around 12 months. The new model is largely as set out in the change proposal required by the university’s enterprise agreement, which was sent to staff last month, (CMM September 1).  Back then management estimated 180-220 positions would be abolished and yesterday 200, mainly professional staff ones, were announced as going, although teaching and research positions are abolished across faculties with some teaching-only roles created.

Yesterday’s announcement follows 2020 staff cuts when around 300 positions were abolished after a long, and bitterly contested industrial process, in part over consultation (CMM August 4 2020).

The new Deakin Reimagined Plan has been in development for months – a team reporting to the CFO was working on it back in March.

This second set of changes appears to be more than an emergency response to pandemic- caused income loss. “Deakin Reimagined is about not only emerging from the difficulties of COVID-19 but investing in a vibrant and sustainable future,” ProfessorMartin told staff yesterday.

UNSW makes vax mandatory

As of this week staff who are on campus must be double vaccinated (or have a medical exemption)

This applies for stage one of the NSW Government’s Roadmap, through to December 1, during which all classes and “assessable tasks” for students stay on-line. Vaccination requirements from December until the next academic year are not announced.

The university expects all staff, plus students enrolled for in-person classes to be on campus from Term One next year. There will be “on-line provision for those unable to return.”

The university reports that 96 per cent of staff and 95 per cent of students either are, or intend to be, fully vaccinated.

Monash VC calls for buffer between government and unis

Margaret Gardner calls for an agency to stand between universities and the vagaries of politics

Speaking on a Group of Eight podcast yesterday, the vice chancellor of Monash University nominated two issues that are shaping “top-level discussion,” freedom of speech on campus and foreign interference. Free speech “is not actually at great threat in our universities,” she said. “We get discussions about foreign interference, there’s not a lot of evidence that there is a really great threat in this space and the universities have responded and have always been responsibly engaged,” Professor Gardner added.

“Threat aspects are culturally raised and that seems to be the basis on which people read the relationship and that seems to be a very unfortunate and limited way of talking about the way universities are embedded in the future of our society and economy,” she said.

Professor Gardner proposed a “buffer body that would stop a lot of this tetchy debate.”

This would be the place for funding discussions and on issues like foreign interference through to freedom of speech, “in ways that are considered and are not driven by populist politics.”

Prior to the restructure of higher education by the Labor Government in the early ‘90s the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission recommended funding for universities and then then colleges of advanced education to the government.

Claire Field on new opportunities in international education

There is clearly potential to expand TNE in Australia’s key source markets, and elsewhere in Asia


 Australia’s pre-eminent international education conference (AIEC) took place last week and included a number of presentations which offered useful insights into Australia’s future opportunities. A separate conversation with Stephen Connelly at Adventus.io provided further food for thought.

Stephen observed that budget pressures will mean changes to where and how student recruitment activities take place. Providers will have less money to spend on staff travel which may well impact Australian educators delivering transnational education under FIFO arrangements and might also see some application processing work transferred offshore to reduce administration costs.

At AIEC Rob Lawrence shared data indicating that the future of Australian international education will involve a “24/7 virtual and personalised global presence” and “promotion through all digital channels.” He went on to note that while there will be different rates of recovery in different markets and segments – there will be much greater use and acceptance of on-line learning especially in a blended model and “enormous growth in TNE”.

Rachel Power from Deloitte unpacked the TNE opportunities further by examining Australia’s current offshore delivery profile against the profile of students studying onshore. Our Top 10 TNE markets for VET and higher education include the UAE, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Mauritius – none of which are large source markets for inbound students. There is clearly potential to expand TNE in Australia’s key source markets, and elsewhere in Asia.

Finally – three of Australia’s Education and Science Counsellors (Elizabeth Campbell-Dorning, Fiona Morris and Jen Bahen) gave an excellent presentation on the TNE opportunities in South-East Asia.

While Australia’s first priority is the return of international students, COVID-19 has given providers new insights into the opportunities available to them offshore and on-line and it has given students, parents and overseas governments direct experience of the flexible, high quality study options Australian providers have to offer.

 Claire Field is the host of the ‘What now? What next?’ podcast. She recently spoke with Stephen Connelly about the future of international education. Listen online or in your favourite podcast app.

Dolt of the day


A typo yesterday caused Bronwyn Bartsch’s surname being misspelt.

Appointments, achievements

National Computational Infrastructure announces three new board members, Melodie McGeoch (La Trobe U), Clare McLaughlin (National Health and Medical Research Council) and Rosemarie Sadsad (Uni Sydney).

 Rodney Smith becomes interim head of Uni Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. He replaces Lisa Adkins who is now interim dean of FASS.

The Victorian Endowment for Science Knowledge and Innovation announces its 2021 career recovery grants (up to $50 000), awarded, in part, in recognition of the “profound disruption to their work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” * Robyn Brown (Uni Melbourne) * Kirsten Ellis (Monash U) * Samantha Grover (RMIT) * Jessica Holien (RMIT) * Sarah Jones (Monash U) * Lisa Mielke (Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute) * Louise Olsen-Kettle (Swinburne U)

Naomi Wray (Uni Queensland) wins the Ming Tsuang lifetime achievement award from the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics.