ANU research open to all

There is a great tradition of open access scholarship at ANU, demonstrated by the 5000th addition to the digital theses resource in the Open Research Repository.  The latest is Ian Brunskill’s PhD thesis, Optical studies of off-centre ions in strontium oxide, to read which a cyber-queue will surely form. They certainly have for the first 4999, there were 457 000 downloads of ANU theses last year.

A golden hello for international students at Murdoch U

Murdoch U is offering international students a discount on fees. The university refers to “international welcome scholarships” but university deposits in student tuition fee debit accounts look like a discount to CMM.

The university offers $11 000 for business and governance and nursing students and $8 000 “for all other eligible” courses, which includes all UG and PG coursework degrees and diplomas. Murdoch UG course fees are around $15 000 a year. The cuts are offered for four semesters, providing a significant savings for the first two years of study.

“There is no scholarship application process. An eligible student simply needs to accept their Murdoch University offer to be considered for an international welcome scholarship,” the university states.

WA is not doing well in the international market, with the state’s market share dropping from 11.2 per cent in 2002 to 6 per cent last year. Murdoch U had 1397 international EFTS in Perth last year, just 9 per cent of the total.

Macquarie U close to adopting a completely new curriculum model

Macquarie U is set to introduce a new curriculum model from 2020, with plans being well-received at an all-staff meeting this week. The plan goes to Senate next week. “Consultation has been quite good, for a change – the people doing it, really, really want to get this right” an observer of life in Lighthouse Land says.

The plan proposes two undergraduate degree types; generalist and specialist, studied singly or as a double degree.  Students in all degrees will take units from a red zone (“specific depth requirements for the disciplinary, trans-disciplinary or professional area of study”) and a purple zone, where they can “enrol in any unit within the university for which they meet the pre-requisites.”

Macquarie U people are particularly pleased that the Professional and Community Engagement programme continues, as an in-depth degree requirement. PACE, in place since 2010, is the university’s experiential-learning placement programme.

The post-graduate course model is also redesigned, along the same lines and micro-credentials are incorporated into the new structure.

Simple it is not, but the view on campus is that essential it is.

UA releases new guidelines on dealing with sexual assault

Universities Australia has released guidelines for member institutions dealing with reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment. They were created with input from student groups, victim support providers, student services and university lawyers.

UA CEO Catriona Jackson says the guidelines, “guidelines complement other major initiatives developed by the university sector as a whole and the hundreds of initiatives by individual universities.”


Philosophers propose doing more with less

Peak humanities research bodies feel un-loved but the philosophers are, well philosophical about it.

Back in May both the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and the Humanities lamented the negligible share of funding their members will access under the national research infrastructure plan.

And now the context of their submissions to the House of Representatives committee inquiry into research administration is that the humanities are unreasonably ignored.

“The strategic focus for research is currently skewed primarily to the science, technology, engineering and maths side of the system – with little attention to capacity, health or potential of the humanities, arts and social sciences sector,” the academy announces.

“Given the vital role HASS research has to play in meeting the challenges of a modern world, we again urge the government to consult with and include the HASS community in the development and implementation of a comprehensive science and research policy” DASH declaims.

The Australasian Association of Philosophy also has a submission to the inquiry which presents three practical proposals. One in particular will appeal to parliamentary pragmatists, to do more with less;

“Many excellent projects in the humanities simply do not cost enough to qualify for ARC funding and therefore receive no support at all. We could get much better outcomes for humanities and social science in our competitive grant schemes by funding more projects, each of which costs less than the current minimum thresholds for (ARC) Discovery and Linkage grants.”

Appointments, achievements of the week

Charles Sturt U has announced its inaugural excellence awards for individuals and teams.

Kate Organ: work on the new ethics and compliance unit

Kate Aylmore and team: changes to the student special consideration system

Christine Lindsay: process improvements for student surveys

 Brett Russell and team: reducing retail waste

Kelly Linden, Lucy Webster and team: implementation of Adaptive Learning Technologies

Lee Baumgartner and team: research on food security in the Mekong Basin

Isabel Fox and team: raising student awareness of sexual consent in university residences

Siobhain Howard: work on the AgriTech Incubator

Deborah Murdoch: student assessments

Anne Geddis and team: school and community partnerships


Martin Thomas from ANU is appointed Keith Cameron professor of Australian history for 2019 at University College, Dublin. The chair is funded by the Australian Government. ANU advises Aspro Thomas specialises in, “specialises in Australian, Aboriginal and trans-national history.”


The Economic Society of Australia has announced its 2018 awards. Deborah Cobb Clark (UniSydney) is the distinguished fellow. Rachel Ong (Curtin U) is the ESA young economist award. Chris Ryan and Cain Polidano from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research win the Trevor Swan Memorial Prize.


Some 60 University of Sydney staff are honoured in the vice chancellor’s awards including;

Bec Plumbe, educational designer in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry who wins the Outstanding Contribution to Educational Excellence.

Tara Murphy, aspro in the Faculty of Science receives the Outstanding Educational Engagement and Innovation award and the Outstanding Teaching and Research award.

Leanne Togher is honoured for outstanding research helping people with severe traumatic brain injury.

Annette Tredrea is recognised for her Outstanding Contribution to Research Excellence as trials officer at the university’s plant breeding institute.



The University of Queensland has 40 new fellows of the (UK) Higher Education Academy, “in recognition of their dedication to teaching and learning.” There are four new principal fellows, Paul Mills and Susan Rowland (Faculty of Science) Polly Parker (Faculty of Business, Economics and Law) and Christine Slade (Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation).


Amir Mahmood will become dean of business at Western Sydney U in October. Professor Mahmood is now head of the University of Newcastle’s Singapore campusSenior DVC Scott Holmes now doubles as WSU biz dean.


Deb Verhoeven (UTS) has Cad$350 000 per annum for seven years as a Canada 150 research chair at the University of Alberta. She moved from Deakin U to UTS a year or so back to become associate dean, engagement and innovation in the arts and social science faculty. Professor Verhoeven will go to Alberta in April where she will lead a team, “using machine learning and crowdsourcing to create an open-linked, open data knowledge base of feminist content sourced from a wide range of Canadian cultural collections.”