Great timing for lock-down learning

UTS  is extending study support to Year 11-12 students at the 23 schools in its U@Uni Academy

The 587 people in the programme, (it’s an alternative to the ATAR entry pathway) can now access free of charge, out of hours support for their maths, science and English subjects.  It’s provided under UTs’ relationship with academic support service (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

If vaccines had not happened scientists would have found other ways to fight COVID-19, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) explains. It is what can happen with a “high-quality knowledge agenda.”

Plus Conor King’s Farewell Address, “the arguments we put forward will be self-interested but they should still be credible, take some account of the supporting evidence and avoid gross simplifications that are laughable.”

And James Harland (RMIT) on the on-line lab. It will never replace the real thing but it adds to the learning mix. This week’s addition to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

With Inga Davis, who demonstrates how hard organising university mergers can be. But it can be done, as an architect of the celebrated Manchester merger explained to her.

Another restructure way at UWA

The bitter Social Sciences restructure isn’t the only one at UWA

But it is the one generating all the attention. All but announcing to academics that the disciplines they have devoted their lives to are gone is way to get them talking, loudly.

In contrast, the proposal for the library is measured and focused on fine-tuning to serve the university’s new academic structure rather, it appears, than cost-cutting to contribute to an all of UWA target (CMM July 12).

And the National Tertiary Education Union responds in kind with a submission for its library members.

“From both the initial presentation and the discussions that followed … there appears to have been a very clear rationale for decisions made that was explained clearly and simply to staff. The result of this has been a far more effective consultation process, which has ultimately led to a better experience for our members,” the union states.

The analysis of strengths, and numerous  identified weaknesses, in the restructure is detailed and certainly appears to indicate that library and management are on the same page.

New Linkage grants – same old winners

There are 67 new projects set to go – a 24 per cent success rate

As ever, the Group of Eight cleaned up, with 38 successful projects. The Australian Technology Network picked up eight.

Uni Queensland leads with eight projects, followed by Uni Melbourne (seven), UNSW (six) and Monash U (five). Outside the Go8, Swinburne U is a stand-out, with five.

CMM’s pick of the projects (at least those he understands) and their team-leaders is,

* software for emergency/search and rescue helicopters (Hanna Kurniawati, ANU)

* Indigenous knowledge and western science in fauna conversation ( Emilie-Jane Ens, Macquarie U)

* a certification system for sustainable hydrogen fuel (Fred Gale – U Tasmania)

* “vertical schools” and how students go in them (Jillian Wills – QUT)

* biomass waste for road subgrades (Arul Arulrajah – Swinburne U)

* “rethinking and revitalising” existing herbicides (Joshua Myle – UWA)

* digital tech for post COVID-19 performing arts (Anna Goldsworthy – Uni Adelaide)

Justin Chalker, Louisa Esdaile and Kevin Fell from Flinders U had a good day – wining two Linkages. One is for recycling electronic waste (packaging and circuit boards, say). The other is polymer tech for oil spills and slow-release fertiliser.

Maybe they will their photos taken in front of the Flinders’ yellow prism! (CMM July 23).


Victoria U’s unity ticket

The university’s new strategy (CMM yesterday) was a team-effort – a really big team

Adam Shoemaker started at VU just before Christmas and it appears had ducks sufficiently in a row to start the strategy process in March, using on-line forums, with some 900-staff engaging in the creation. There was a separate stream for students, with 300 plus responses to what management proposed.

A draft went to Council in June, followed by all-staff virtual meets. The now in-place plan was signed off by Council a fortnight back.

Smart stuff – the more people in the tent the better. And it shows how VU has changed.

The last savings round was tense and votes on enterprise bargaining demonstrated staff suspicions of management – the university lost two votes on a proposed agreement.

But well before Professor Shoemaker arrived there was a concerted campaign by management to engage with the workforce, demonstrated by then DVC Marcia Devlin organising a “festival” with “recognising and celebrating our staff a key theme.”

It worked. Victoria U won the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association award for “substantial positive change” demonstrated in staff surveys (CMM September 2019). And it won in five of ten categories at the staff-focused Association of Tertiary Education Management Awards that year (CMM October 2).

Shoemaker inherited a store of staff good-will – it;’s got to last the seven years of change the new plan will take.

Top cop on campus at UTS

Nick Kaldas becomes an industry professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Mr Kaldas is a former deputy commissioner of NSW Police, a long-time counter-terrorism consultant and present chair of the Commonwealth’s Royal Commission on Defence and veteran suicide.

FASS dean Alan Davison says, he will “take a leading role in industry and agency engagement” and work on new programmes, including a new criminology programme and “short-courses to meet industry and employer needs.”

This is presumably part of Professor Davison’s plan “to adjust its academic staff profile” and “develop actions that address principal areas of focus.”

FASS has a $3.2m savings target this year, which will include compulsory redundancies (CMM April 30).

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

The Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology announces its 2021 awards, * Uni Canterbury for improving student success * Griffith U wins the innovation in teaching and learning category * Uni Melbourne has the operational excellence award * Uni Newcastle for research support.  Fadi Alja’fari from Deakin U is CAUDIT’s emerging leader.

 Of the week

 James Arvanitakis (Western Sydney U) is the new ED of the Australia-American Fulbright Commission.

The Australian Journal of Management’s outstanding reviewers of 2020 are Jing Yu (Uni Sydney) and Sarah Wright (Uni Canterbury).

James Brown becomes an adjunct clinical aspro with Monash U Rural Health in Gippsland. He is medical education advisor at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Shi Xue Dou (Uni Wollongong) receives a lifetime achievement award from the International Cryogenic Materials Commission.

Geographic information system tech provider Esri announces two special achievement awards to Australian organisations.  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare wins for interactive mapping of mental health stats by region, groups of people, age and behaviour and risk factors. Victoria’s Northeast Water is awarded for its digital visuals of its infrastructure with a near real-time data on the state of stuff.

Hanna Kurniawati (ANU) wins the Test of time award at the Robotics Science and Systems Conference, with David Hsu and Wee Sun Lee (both National Uni of Singapore). The award is for a 2008 paper that contributed to “efficient point-based POMDP planning via the SARSOP algorithm,” (sorry, CMM has not clue).

Jessa Rogers joins QUT as a First Nations Senior Research Fellow. Dr Rogers is MD of Baayi Consulting

Ann Bonner (Griffith U), Raymond Chan (QUT), Alison Hutchinson (Deakin U), Debra Jackson (Uni Sydney) Jane Phillips (QUT) are inducted in the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame of Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing, (Sigma to its mates).

Nicole Brigg will leave Macquarie U in early September. The PVC International departs after eight years, to become COO of a “national network of skin cancer centres,” which she tells colleagues is, “on a strong growth trajectory.”

Alistair Sloan (Un Melbourne) wins the International Association for Dental Research’s Isaac Schour Memorial Award for “outstanding scientific contributions in the anatomical sciences.

The Social Research Centre announces board appointments, Bruce McKay (ANU Enterprises) Missy Nachbar from Uni Chicago social survey affiliate NORC (which insists that is not an acronym) and consultant Helen Swift. The SRC manages the in all ways excellent Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching surveys. It is an ANU Enterprises business.

Jeannette Taylor (UWA) wins the Sam Richardson Award for the most influential paper published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration. Aspro Taylor is awarded for her paper on whistle-blowing in the Australian Public Service.

Uni Melbourne’s David Syme Prize is shared by Marco Herold from the MRI formally known as Walter and Eliza Hall (adapting CRISPR for clinical research) and Fan Wang (UTS-physics research in nanoscale biology). The prize is for original research in biology, physics, chemistry or geology.

The ACT science Young Tall Poppies, include Megan Evans (environmental policy, UNSW Canberra), Steph McLennan (Antarctic geoscience, Geoscience Australia) and Brett Scholz (public health – ANU).