Unfilled vacancy at La Trobe U

Among questions about workloads and job losses on the La Trobe U staff briefing page a learned reader notes one that management can’t fly away from. “When is the wildlife sanctuary getting a new emu to replace Ed the Emu,” Surely not soon – hiring outside is a bad look in hard times.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley UNSW) on metrics in teaching and research – why we need them and why they aren’t everything.

And this week

Garry Carnegie (RMIT) and James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the savings-plan at UWA. With the university’s finances appearing in ok-shape VC Amit Shakma should make the case.

Angela Brew on undergraduates as researchers. This week’s selection by Contributing Editor Sally Kift for her series on what we need now in teaching and learning

Angel Calderon wraps a great ranking year for Australia.

Luke Hesson feared leaving medical research – he found a new life when he did.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

Unmuddling metrics

Submissions are due today to the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund Consultation paper (CMM October 2)

This is the proposal for metrics to allocate research money, using five principles applied to three indicators, each with three performance measures. CMM is hoping for a submission that explains how the formula would work.


“Name and shame” students who cheat says den Hollander

Universities can’t stop all the cheats but they can make it harder for them

Former Deakin U VC Jane den Hollander urges universities to identify students who cheat.

“We should name and shame because that’s the best way to learn that there’s no fun in this and there’s no gain,” she told a conference on the new academic integrity law, convened last week by study-support provider (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity.

Graduating students need to know, “that everyone around them who is graduating is just like them, they have worked really hard and they deserve what they are getting.

“The fear and the irritation that happens in communities when they know someone’s cheated to get that high distinction is one of the most corrosive things that we deal with in classrooms,” she warned.

Professor den Hollander also argued universities need to give staff  training, “to do assessment properly,” to make it harder for students and cheating services, “some of the simplistic ways we do our assessment are not going to withstand those people.”

But the task is suppression, not eradication, “I think making it harder for cheats rather than trying to catch the cheats is the way to go and bring those numbers down, because we need to operate for the 99 percent or the 95 percent who genuinely want to learn.”

As to the new law; “I don’t think legislation deters anyone if they genuinely are pressured or otherwise predisposed to be dishonest. But it does make it aware for everyone else how hard it is and perhaps stop some people doing it. We need to educate our students … to make it harder for them to go down the slippery path where it appears to be easy.”

A delay for some as Murdoch U advances on-line

 Kylie Readman has a bold plan for digital teaching at Murdoch –part of it is just going to take a little longer

The DVC E wants less in-person classes and more flexible learning, starting next year.

“The feedback from students has been clear – they have enjoyed having the flexibility of engaging with the subject matter at a time of their choosing and have a preference to maintain some face-to-face contact for tutorials and labs, allowing them to maintain academic and social connections,  she says (CMM October 9).

But now, Professor Readman tells staff, there are “amendments, based on your feedback.”  “It is clear that for some disciplines, courses and units, there are concerns about being ready to move to this approach to learning and teaching in time for the start of Semester One next year.”

What isn’t changing is a ceiling of 100 people in a venue and priority on moving large and first semester units on-line for first semester, with all to follow for the start of 2022.

And staff with courses ready to make the change can also go ahead.

But, people who to make a change to timetabled activities have until November. “I am confident this extended timeline will give you more time to adapt to the new model,” Professor Readman says.

Way of the day to improve ERA

The Australian Research Council is reviewing its two research metric schemes, Excellence for Research in Australia and Engagement & Impact

Time and scale work against creative arts in ERA, the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools and the Australian Council of the Deans and Directors of Creative Arts, warn in their submission. In particular,

* some art-works take time to reach their full impact,” which makes ERA’s time-frames problematic

* institutions with resources can recruit high-ranked academic researchers

* assessment for peer-reviewed disciplines is more complex and time consuming than for those that are citation-driven

Overall, they warn the peer review process is a demonstrable failure for non-traditional research outputs.

Get the word out

The ARC plans to release submissions to the research metrics review after it is out, which seems a bit late for a debate. So, CMM will report and/or link to, as many submissions as it can – send them in people.

What audit offices can ask

As much as they want to

Across the ditch, Radio New Zealand reports the Auditor General has asked Uni Auckland questions about its purchasing a house for VC Dawn Freshwater (ex UWA) to rent.

So, could state audit office’s here go beyond examining universities financial statements and inquire into specific activities?

CMM asked the NSW Audit Office, which replied, “the Auditor-General may at any time make a report to parliament on any matter that arises from or relates to the exercise of the audit or other functions of the Auditor-General and that in the opinion of the Auditor-General should be brought to the attention of Parliament.”

The NSW Office was certainly warning universities they were exposed to a decline in international student numbers years ahead of the pandemic. And it appears it could look at other issues – if it chose too.

Union says no to job cuts proposal at Southern Cross U

The university wants more to staff to go as part of a restructure

Some 71 staff have already accepted voluntary redundancies but now management wants 63 more FTE positions gone, as part of turning six schools into four faculties. Another 20 positions would be “impacted,” (CMM October 15).

But the National Tertiary Education Union argues management is in breach of the enterprise agreement, on workplace change and job changes/losses.

This isn’t surprising. Back in July then VC Adam Shoemaker put a savings proposal to a staff vote which the NTEU opposed (CMM July 13). The prop was narrowly defeated and Professor Shoemaker said savings would have to be found under the terms of the enterprise agreement – which the union now invokes.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Jaime McCowan is appointed CEO of universities-owned library support provider CAVAL.

Science and Technology Australia announces four board appointments, Vipul Agarwal (UNSW), Jodie Bradby, (ANU), Tatiana Soares da Costa, (La Trobe U), Michael Walker, (Soil Science Australia)

Of the week

The Australian Council of Deans of Education announces Michele Simons (Western Sydney U) is the new president. Donna Pendergast (Griffith U) is deputy and Elizabeth Labone (ACU) is secretary/treasurer. They are all elected to two year terms. Professor Simons replaces Tania Aspland (Australian Catholic U), in the post for six years.

The Forrest Research Foundation (as in Andrew and Nicola) announce Prospect Fellowships for Curtin U staff, Michael David Wilson (fatigue and wellbeing in safety-critical workplaces) and Georgia Hay (psychology of interdisciplinary healthcare teams).

Andrew Godwin (Uni Melbourne Law School) is seconded to the Australian law Reform Commission from December to be special counsel for the review of corporations legislative framework and financial services regulation.

 The International Water Association announces its 2020 fellows including; Distinguished Fellows: Jurg Keller (Uni Queensland), Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran (UTS). Kathryn Silvester (Sydney Water) becomes a Fellow.

Shitij Kapur is named president of King’s College London. Professor Kapur is now dean of medicine at Uni Melbourne.

Sarah Loughran joins the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Protection Agency’s electro-magnetic energy programme. She joins from Uni Wollongong.

Paul McGreevy (Uni Sydney) wins the Global Animal Welfare Award from the World Veterinary Association. He can put it in his dog house with the UK Kennel Club Charitable Trust’s 2017 lifetime achievement award.

Winners of the NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering are here.

The Prime Minister’s science awards are  here.

The US based Optical Society also announces new fellows, for 2021. Australia based researchers are, Igor Aharonovich UTS), Baohua Jia (Swinburne U), Ilya Shadrivov (ANU),

The New York based Asia Society announces Kevin Rudd becomes president and CEO in January.

 Monash U is losing CFO Paul Townsend who is moving to ag chemical company Nufarm Australia. VC Margaret Gardner says his work was vital in, “assisting the university to weather the significant downturn of revenue that came upon us unexpectedly in 2020.”

The WA Government announces the advisory council for the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund. Research representatives are, Sandra Eades (dean of medicine, Curtin U), Dale Disher (adjunct professor Monash U and Swinburne U) and Christina Mitchell (executive dean, medicine, nursing, health science, Monash U).

Mike Wilson joins Charles Darwin U as provost. He moves from Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.