A long farewell for La Trobe U VC

John Dewar stays until January

Chancellor John Brumby announced the exit yesterday stating he has agreed with Professor Dewar for him to leave when his contract expires.

Dewar became VC in 2012, moving from provost at Uni Melbourne.  In 2019 university council extended his second term by three years.

The announcement encouraged speculation yesterday that he will not be the only veteran VC to announce an exit in the coming few months.


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lisa Grech (Monash U) argues the NHMRC gender-equity policy does not do enough. “It is only through targeted, specific, measurable and accountable processes that support researchers in minority groups that true equity and diversity in research will be achieved,” she writes,  HERE.

plus Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new student data from 2021 and why student progress rates are set to slid.

with Teaching students transferable skills works best when they know how to apply them in jobs. Gayle Brent (Griffith U) suggests, “the experiences we provide for our students while they are students must prepare them to effect this transfer for themselves.” Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and, Mary O’Kane calls on universities to prepare for the long term. Sean Brawley and Richard Cook  sets out Uni Wollongong’s structure designed to do just that https://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/uni-wollongong-takes-the-future-ready-challenge/  HERE.

including, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on when managing fast works but  why people like to take time.

The SAGE smell of success

Science in Australia Gender Equity points to its achievements in ‘22

SAGE describes its mission as to “embed genuine and sustainable gender equity, diversity and inclusion across the Australian tertiary education and research sector,” notably through the Athena Swan accreditation framework.

It points to success in its impact statement for last  year– reporting SAGE accredited universities have a higher proportion of women in key leadership positions than others, 30 per cent to zero for chairs. The gap for MRIs is less,  33 per cent to 24 per cent.

But it’s the comparisons for staff at universities that make its strongest case.

All SAGE accredited universities have formal flex-work arrangements, compared to 60 per cent of others and 97 per cent of SAGE unis provide secondary carers with full during parental leave compared to 40 per cent of those that are unaccredited.

More of the same in selling education to India

Education Minister Jason Clare is joined by 11 vice chancellors and five lobby representatives

The minister is going, in part to sign the rules for mutual recognition under the free trade agreement, governing access to education in both countries. These include Mr Clare says, “the qualifications we provide on-line and off-shore.”

This is a big deal. The number of Indian students in Australia was stable in 2022, on 2021, while the number from China was down 9 per cent and universities are keen to encourage Indians to study here. Some with healthy appetites for risk are also keen to set up there,

But the possibility of exponential growth, home or away, takes some optimism.

Fion Lim (UTS) points out India is much more price sensitive to the cost of education than China (CMM November 13). And Peter Varghese warned in his 2017 report on trade with India,  “the high volume, low cost model needed for India does not stack up economically for most Australian providers, who operate on a low volume, high cost structure,” (CMM July 13 2018).

When professors push back

The Australian Association of University Professors announces the programme for its third annual conference

Big issues on the agenda include, the campaign against moving U Tasmania from its existing campus to the Hobart CBD, the state of staff-university council relations at Uni New England and “reimagining” UWA’s convocation council.

It’s physically at UNE Armidale and via ZOOM.

There are also sessions on system-wide issues, academic free-speech, performance criteria for university governing bodies and “changing pathways” to become a professor.

Programme for March 23 is HERE


Curtin U management walloped in staff vote

The university put an enterprise agreement offer to staff which the National Tertiary Education opposed – this wasn’t wise

Management advised staff yesterday that the offer was rejected 72 per cent against and 28 per cent in favour. That this was the voice of the Curtin community is clear – some 79 per of eligible staff turned out to vote.

This means the terms of the now expired enterprise agreement continue but yesterday management announced a two-stage wage increase – a payment of 3 per cent of earnings from July last year to March this and a 3 per cent rise from then.

But as for a new agreement, it is back to bargaining, “We will now take the time necessary to consider our next steps. This process will involve discussions with the NTEU.”

The vote confirms yet again a law of industrial relations in universities – even though the majority of employees are not union members when it comes to negotiating wages and conditions, way more often than not they listen to the comrades.


Colin Simpson’s ed-tech reads of the week

Online reading lists: a mixed-method analysis of the academic perspective from International Journal on Digital Libraries

As semester kicks into gear, the perennial cry of students about the high price of textbooks is again heard throughout the land. Happily, institutional librarians are at least able to reduce the overall burden of supplementary readings through the use of digital reading list systems. This article from Kumara et al. explores current attitudes toward these platforms, notes different levels of use based on discipline area and the need to improve ease of use.


What’s behind the growth and interest in learning design? From Neil Mosley

Good teaching has always been challenging for individual practitioners and is evermore the case as technology and pedagogy grow more sophisticated. Neil Mosley discusses the growth of specialist advisors in Learning Design needed to support the evolution of teaching as a design process. Entry paths into this field are still poorly defined, with a smattering of post-grad qualifications emerging but nothing at the undergraduate level yet.


An evolving partnership model in higher education — a matter of inter-connections from Medium

Jenny Pesina reflects on the nature of working relationships between learning designers (and peers) and educators in Higher Education, considering some of the organisational structures that influence how these people can contribute to better learning and teaching. The way that relationships vary, based on central vs faculty units and what might be done to strengthen bonds, is noteworthy.


Education Dept. Shocks Ed-Tech Experts and Colleges With Expansion of Oversight from The Chronicle of Higher Education

This is American news, but these broad policy changes do seem to tend to flow on eventually. In a nutshell, it sees third party providers of services to universities that are tied to recruitment and delivery of online programmes are facing great accountability in their activities. In Australia, this would include on-line programme managers (OPMs) like OES and Keypath, who operate on-lineonly programmes in many Australian universities.


ChatGPT – how should educators respond? Webinar Wed 1st March 2-4 pm AEDT from CRADLE/TEQSA and Student-staff forum on generative artificial intelligence at Sydney Wednesday, March 1, 1-2 pm from Uni Sydney

Two very interesting looking AI webinars on Wednesday this week, with CRADLE/TEQSA continuing their great series of deep dives with Margaret Bearman, Rola Ajjawi, Lucinda McKnight (Deakin U), Simon Buckingham Shum (UTS), and Sarah Howard (Uni Wollongong) considering educator responses and the Education Innovation team at USyd creating much needed space for the student voice in this discussion. (The recording of last week’s TELedvisors Webinar – the Two AIs – is now available on YouTube as well).


UTS Open Education Week March 6-10 – UTS hosts a string of notables including Maha Bali and Amanda White in a series of sessions about opening up education

Colin Simpson has worked in education technology, teaching, learning design and academic development in the tertiary sector since 2003 at CIT, ANU, Swinburne University and Monash University. He is also one of the leaders of the ASCILITE TELedvisors Network. For more from Colin, follow him on Twitter @gamerlearner (or @[email protected] on Mastodon)



Michael Hamilton becomes PVC and Chief Executive of Charles Darwin U TAFE.

Jaala Pulford becomes chair of MTP connect, the federally funded agency charged with commercialising med tech, biotech and pharmaceuticals. She is a former Vic Labor minister for innovation and medical research.



Michael Hamilton becomes PVC and Chief Executive of Charles Darwin U TAFE.

Jaala Pulford becomes chair of MTP connect, the federally funded agency charged with commercialising med tech, biotech and pharmaceuticals. She is a former Vic Labor minister for innovation and medical research.