Different strokes

“Griffith to make a splash at short course championships,” the university predicts. No it’s not a competition for micro-credentials but a swim meet.


There’s more in the Mail


The British Academy is allocating small grants via lottery (CMM Friday). Adrian Barnett from QUT advised the Brits on the scheme and makes the case for random selection of qualified apps. “When you have a highly competitive system, with lots of excellent applicants and not enough money, the final decisions between choosing who to fund and not to fund are on a knife edge, it’s like choosing your favourite shade of blue,” new in Expert Opinion, ep 15 HERE


James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on WA public universities 2021 financials, particularly UWA’s

plus For work integrated learning to work it needs collaborative curriculum design. The Board of the Australian Collaborative Education Network makes the case in a contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and Tim Winkler on the great Uni Tasmania debate – people are arguing about the wrong issues 

Alison Barnes returned as NTEU president

While the poll is not declared her opponent concedes

Dr Barnes has a second term as president of the National Tertiary Education Union with rival candidate Fahad Ali conceding yesterday.

The success of Dr Barnes running mates Damian Cahill (running for general secretary) and Gabe Gooding (assistant sec) appears assured.

Mr Ali says his ticket took 30 per cent of the poll.


Regal gestures get casuals a paid day off

There’s a push for universities to pay people who will lose a day’s wages because of the snap public holiday on September 22

(For readers on Mars, Queen Elizabeth II is dead and officially we need a day t0 deal with it).

Australian Catholic U has agreed.  Acting COO Paul Campbell tells the university community that sessional and casual academic staff scheduled to work will be paid if classes are cancelled. However if there are any other non-academic workers affected they are out of luck.

ACU’s National Tertiary Education Union branch president Leah Kaufmann proposed the payment on Monday and “applauds” management’s decision.

Uni Sydney followed within hours with VC Mark Scott going for major magnanimous, “while the University is not required to pay casually employed staff for work lost to a public holiday, in recognition of the unexpected nature of this holiday the University will.”

And ANU followed yesterday afternoon.

CMM suspects that the story by Monday will be the universities who aren’t.

Scent shanties

Uni SA researchers can identity chemicals in bones and shells of marine life by ocean chemistry – good for identifying fraud in origin labels and unsustainable fishing.

At Uni Waikato they are training dogs to identify where feral fish are, by smelling water samples.

Claire Field on the international ed challenge: what to offer who and where


As the tertiary education sector thinks about more on-line, off-shore delivery, one of the hardest decisions institutions face is where to start

In work undertaken for Austrade in 2016, Deloitte Access Economics estimated the size of the offshore opportunity to be 110m students, if Australia was to educate just 10 per cent of the estimated one billion learners worldwide.

Based on that analysis a conservative target of 10m off-shore students engaged with Australian education providers (including Australian EdTech platforms) by 2025 was set and formed a cornerstone of the National Strategy for International Education 2025.

The current Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030 focusses on recovery from the impact of the pandemic. It shies away from specific targets, although its strong emphasis on diversity means that off-shore delivery continues a priority.

What then for institutions? Is it as simple as loading a micro-credential or two onto the FutureLearn platform, through Austrade’s ‘Study with Australia’ partnership?

The Study with Australia pilot, conducted between April and June 2020, attracted more than 800 000 enrolments from 224 markets. The partnership has since expanded to include many more providers, but it will take considerable effort for most institutions to springboard from this impressive level of initial engagement into on-going on-line offerings for significant numbers of fee-paying offshore students.

The most important decision for institutions is, of course, being clear about their market advantage –their “unique selling proposition.” Put simply, why would students in Costa Rica, Ghana or Uzbekistan, want to enrol with you?

Even once an institution has determined its market advantage, then comes the question of what it offers? Will students living in countries which lack close ties to Australia be prepared to invest their time and money in a full qualification on-line, or are short courses for professionals looking to keep their skills up-to-date a better alternative (especially if the short courses can stack into full qualifications)?

While institutions are moving to offer more of micro-credentials/short courses within Australia – a significant offshore opportunity awaits particularly for providers which already have strong relationships with large employers in Australia, who are well placed to use those relationships to enter new offshore markets.

Claire Field is the host of the ‘What now? What next?’ podcast. She spoke recently with Tony Brennan, founder of Talisium, an Australian EdTech platform offering thousands of healthcare courses globally.

A new campaign for ANY U

When universities do the same things the sells seem similar

RMIT’s new student recruitment campaign pitches the same things other unis do – the relevance of its courses and the good its grads can do. “Be hands on, make it real, because people like you will forge what’s next,” is the message.

Compare with La Trobe U’s “the impact is real” and contrast with Monash U’s “it’s time for us to act. It’s time to change it,” (CMM August 11).

Perhaps all Melbourne’s universities could use the same creative and drop in their brands at the end.

New Future Fellows: unis that (really) did well

There’s great news for 100 applicants leaving 525 to wonder what to do now

The Australian Research Council’s big mid-career Future Fellowships are announced. The successful 100 applicants (same as last year) share $94m (ditto).

who got them: Women were a third of applicants, with a success rate of 15.3 per cent. Some 16.4 per cent of the much larger (415) pool of men received fellowships.

where they went: as usual many went to the big five, UNSW (14), Monash U (11), Uni Queensland (ten) Uni Melbourne (nine) and Uni Sydney (seven), just ahead of ANU with (six).

Of the other two Group of Eight members  Uni Adelaide has one new fellow and UWA none.

Other institutions that did well (five or more awards) are Macquarie U with five and UTS with six.

However, the success rate for universities making a major investment in applications, say ten or more, demonstrates different per centage outcomes.

The Australian National University 31 6 19.4
Macquarie University 19 5 26.3
The University of New South Wales 70 14 20.0
The University of Newcastle 15 3 20.0
The University of Sydney 62 7 11.3
University of Technology Sydney 21 6 28.6
University of Wollongong 22 4 18.2
Queensland University of Technology 27 3 11.1
The University of Queensland 54 10 18.5
Flinders University 14 3 21.4
The University of Adelaide 25 1 4.0
University of Tasmania 10 3 30.0
Deakin University 16 4 25.0
La Trobe University 10 1 10.0
Monash University 46 11 23.9
RMIT University 27 4 14.8
Swinburne University of Technology 11 2 18.2
The University of Melbourne 58 9 15.5
Curtin University 11 2 18.2


Appointments, achievements

Timothy Carey is the new chair of Country Health Research and Innovation at Curtin U. He was previously at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

Political scientist Andrea Carson is elected to a three-year term representing staff on La Trobe University’s Council.

Helen  Milroy (UWA School of Health and Medical Sciences) is one of ten community representatives invited to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

Pascal Perez becomes director of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure. He moves from Uni Wollongong.

Karen Lamb and Sabine Braat are co-leads of the biostatistics node at Uni Melbourne’s Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health Research Hub.

Justin Yerbury (Uni Wollongong) will receive the Keys to the City of Wollongong. Professor Yerbury researches Motor Neuron Disease.