Merlin Crossley on being comfortable in a data desert
Postgraduate on-campus courses that aren’t viable this year (and next)
Sprinting the COVID-19 marathon at Macquarie U
For-profit joins business deans
Torrens U joins the Australian Council of Business Deans, being the first private for-profit invited. Will NUHEPS that make the TEQSA grade to be university colleges follow?
Big Linkage day for Unis Adelaide and Queensland
The ARC must have been so excited yesterday, the new round of Linkage Grants was on its website before the minister’s announcement
The second 2020 announcements of Linkage Grants was on the Australian Research Council website first thing yesterday, just ahead of Minister Tudge’s announcement.
The University of Queensland (ten) and University of Adelaide (eight) both had a big day, winning the biggest shares of the 65 applied research awards.
CMM’s favourites are a Uni Queensland-led project to wind-tunnel test “an air-breathing plasma engine that is capable of out-performing rockets and scramjets” and another on the social impact of age-induced hearing loss.
Funding to Uni Adelaide includes sustainable biological fertilisers and for work to remedy informal voting in elections in Victoria.
But what of two grants said to be supported by the ARC but rumoured to be knocked back by the government? – CMM has idea but wonders if anything will emerge when ARC officer appear at Senate Estimates tomorrow.
Fade to black
Uni Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education has sponsored space on Facebook promoting its, “wide variety of short courses”
But yesterday the embedded video was a black screen with reversed type stating, “we’re having trouble playing this video.” “A very short course,” a Learned Reader remarks.
Unequal UQ’s for teachers of English
Despite more money for teaching at Uni Queensland (CMM yesterday) the news there isn’t all good – at least not for people teaching English
But then again, bad news isn’t new for them. The Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education had a tough 2020 as COVID-19 shut down new demand for courses. A university brief states ICTE enrolments fell from 10 000 in 2019 to 2000 last year.
And so management responded with moves to save money, 24 professional staff went last year, leaving 36 teachers and academic managers and 14 administrators.
The university now proposes moving ICTE into the wholly university-owned pathway provider UQCollege, which will recruit 35 people from ICTE’s remaining staff. But while those who move will remain under the university’s enterprise agreement ,any new (most likely casual hires) will be employed under the less staff-friendly Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Modern Award.
James Cook U graduation: perhaps you had to be there
CMM watched yesterday afternoon’s graduation ceremony for Arts, Society and Education
The sound was less muddy than swampy, (the clearest part was the pre-recorded occasional address) and the lighting did not exactly shine on what was a bright day for graduating students. Except at the end, when the Academic Procession’s exit was obscured by a very bright spill.
Hopefully it was a memorable experience in-person but for anybody who could not be there to see someone they love graduate in person, it looked like an average one, very average.
Uni Canberra goes the griffin
There’s an announces this morning of a 20-year masterplan, “for growth while connecting with the community”
What, you ask, the plan former VC Deep Saini commissioned and which was originally expected at the end 2019? If the one revealed is “driven by a vision of how universities will operate in the future, abolishing the boundaries between the academy, industry and community of all ages, establishing UC as a showcase of the confluence of living, learning, innovation and entrepreneurship,” (CMM May 27 2019) that will be it.
It certainly sounds like it, today’s plan “embraces the concept of the ‘educated life’ – integrating campus with community through a range of neighbourhoods where people love, learn and work,” says VC Paddy Nixon.
Canberrans have always liked a good urban plan.
Review for ERA before ERA
Last year the ARC issued a consultation paper for a review of its performance metrics, Excellence for Research in Australia and Engagement and Impact, (CMM August 20)
But the agency announced submissions would only be released, “when the review is completed” (CMM October 15).
This struck CMM as a very bad idea indeed and accordingly reported all of those we were sent.
Now, a Learned Reader reports, the ARC has released most but not all of the submissions received, with 38 of 112 under wraps. If the council is holding to its original position, the review must be ready to go.
If so, it will be a scene-stealer. The new Excellence for Research in Australia performance review is scheduled for release before July.
More of the same for Uni Melbourne staff: there’s already been a”22 per cent reduction in casual labour”
Uni Melbourne management must have found some change under the couch – it’s not enough
The “break-even” budget surplus for last year has increased from $8m (CMM February 26) to $9m, yesterday. However it appears the $250m savings target for this year stands.
What’s happened: Management told staff yesterday there has already been a 22 per cent reduction in use of casual labour.
Of continuing staff, 56 academics and 142 professional staff members were accepted for voluntary redundancy and 107 more were made redundant.
But this did not save as much as might seem, the university created 76 new positions.
What’s going to: As required by the Enterprise Agreement, management proposes a second stage of savings.
Stage Two academic workforce savings will include,
* Increased teaching loads (as permitted by the Enterprise Agreement)
* “reduced reliance on high cost casual employment in circumstances where workloads are not inappropriately increased elsewhere”
* curriculum re-design and ending “low-performing” and “low enrolment” programmes
* more VRs and early retirements
* “where unavoidable, involuntary redundancies”
For professional staff, the Professional Services Redesign rolls-on to “reduce some of the duplication and cost of professional services across the institution.”
Charles Sturt U’s new schools
CSU announces its new academic structure, with nine new schools and could have been way worse job losses
Work on savings started in May, with any head count cuts then expected early ’21 (CMM May 5). Changes for admin was first, followed by faculties, with then Acting VC John Germov advising 100-110 FTE positions “were identified for potential redundancy,” (CMM June 19).
By September the university reported it halved the 2020-21 deficit, to $22m, and expected a balance budget by the end of this financial year (CMM September 17). Things are even better now, with the university announcing yesterday it is “on track” to a budget in balance by December.
The university also announced it would abolish 4.1 FTE positions, although there was no word on how many people are caught in that unfortunate administration abstraction. However, individuals effected “will have priority opportunity” to apply for 30 new/vacant positions in faculties.
CSU says it kept the job losses down by abolishing vacant positions, “some changes to positions in technical and enterprise teams” and “creating and retaining academic leadership positions” in the new school structure.
* Education (combining the previous schools of education and teacher education
* Agriculture and Environmental and Veterinary Sciences (combining the three discipline schools plus Wine Science)
* Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (exercise science, sport-health, community health)
* Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, including Rural Dentistry and Oral Health (combining the previous School of Dentistry and Health Sciences plus pharmacy and medical pathology disciplines and biomedical sciences disciplines from Community Health)
* Nursing, Indigenous Health, Paramedicine (the existing school with paramedicine added from Biomedical Science)
* Business (merging accounting and finance with management and marketing)
* Computing, Mathematics and Engineering (from the present computing-maths and engineering units)
* Social Work and Arts (the former Humanities and Social Sciences with part of Creative Industries)
* Information and Comms Studies (the School of Information Studies school plus comms disciplines from Creative Industries).