Less interested more appalled

Around 20 per cent of Australians are “not at all interested in politics”, according to ANU survey data, released yesterday (below). Perhaps because  this morning the rest of us are just appalled.

In the money: where uni philanthropy flows

Some 24 Australian and one NZ university cracked $600m in gifts last year.

Group of Eight universities secured eight times the philanthropic funds in 2017 scored by 16 other unis participating in a Council for Advancement and Support of Education survey.

There were 63 $1m donations to the Group of Eight, although other unis improved their performance in big grants, with 24 per cent more $1m gifts than in 2016.

Go8 institutions spent 16c to raise $1 in new funds, compared to 28c per $1 by the others.

Overall fundraising returns on investment are nine times staff costs per head for the Go8 and five times for the others.

Across all institution there were 519 FTE working in fundraising and 290 in alumni relations.

Curtin announces Crane as chancellor

Andrew Crane will become chancellor of Curtin University in January, replacing Colin Beckett, who will step down after two terms.

The university describes Dr Crane “as one of Western Australia’s most influential business leaders.” He has a PhD in agriculture and was most recently chief executive of grain exporter CBH Group. Dr Crane is well experienced in the university, being a member of the Curtin Business School advisory council from 2009-2015. He is now in his second term on the Curtin council.

Australians look to science for a better future

Australians trust science and scientists, according to a new survey for ANU’s National Centre for Public Awareness of Science.

Scientists, along with doctors and farmers, lead a table of professions by people’s perceptions of the contribution they make to society. And while 44 per cent of people say science changes society too fast 82 per cent believe the benefits of science are greater than any harmful effects. And while majorities do not believe science has the power to solve all problems there is close to universal belief that scientific progress “will help manage or develop cures” for AIDs and cancer. Around 90 per cent of respondents think science “will make our lives healthier, easier and more comfortable.” And 80 per cent agree that thanks to science, “there will be more opportunities for future generations.”

Macquarie U sticks with new approach to bargaining

There is still no enterprise agreement for academic staff at Macquarie U but word is that a deal is getting closer.

Both management and union leaderships are also said to be happy enough with the Fair Work Commission’s interest based bargaining New Approaches programme, which was used.

Certainly, happy enough for it to have a role in professional staff bargaining, which is expected to start soon. The union’s original position was to run the professional staff negotiation by the usual ordeal by argument, (CMM April 24).

New Approaches involves parties talking through issues and objectives and looking for solutions that work both ways rather than the traditional approach of beginning with hostility and taking it from there. (CMM January 29).

FWC deputy president Anna Booth was involved with the process for the academic agreement and she is set to meet with union and management representatives to help with the new negotiations.

Murdoch U asks alumni to work for free

Murdoch U is holding mid-week graduations next month at the Perth Arena and is asking alumni to help make them “a smooth and unforgettable experience” by acting as ushers at the event. “To thank you for volunteering you will be provided with a T shirt, free parking and refreshments,” MU’s alumni relations people promise.  Cheaper than paying staff.


Unis innocent on attrition but it makes the case for training

Universities aren’t to blame for undergraduate attrition, its high schools which tell students that higher education is the only option, Brody Hannan writes.

He should know, “it wasn’t too long ago that I went through the university application process,” Mr Hannan writes in a considered essay for the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society, at ANU’s Policy Forum.

So what’s to be done? “Teachers and careers advisors could more actively encourage the value of vocational education, instead of insisting on alternate pathways into university. Admission centres that look solely at ATARs without considering the motivations of students applying to university also bear responsibility. Finally, the government should work hard to make non-university options more appealing.”

Smart piece and a sign of the times. A policy consensus is coming that voced and higher ed are equally indispensable.

UniMelbourne unionists tick agreement  

Union members at the University of Melbourne have signed off on the enterprise agreement proposed by management and the National Tertiary Education Union, which should mean VC Glyn Davis will gift industrial peace to successor Duncan Maskell, who takes over in October. Of course, the deal has to be ratified in a vote open to all staff, but unless the Liberal Party is organising the numbers a yes vote is all but assured.

Appointments, achievements of the week

UNSW law professor Ross Buckley will have five years of unspecified support from KPMG and law firm King and Wood Mallesons to work on financial and regulatory technologies.

Kerri Lee Krause is named one of the  top 50 women working in the Victorian public sector. Professor Krause is DVC A at La Trobe U.  

Charles Sturt U is conferring an emeritus on Professor Jennifer Sumsion for her contribution to early childhood education.

Kliti Grice from Curtin U has received the ANZ Association for the Advancement of Science award “for her extraordinary contribution to science. Professor Grice is founding director of Curtin’s Western Australian Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Centre.

John Murtagh, the bloke who wrote the book on being a GP has received the Australian Medical Association‘s gold medal. He is an emeritus professor at Monash U and a professorial fellow at UniMelb (amongst other university appointments).

The NSW Young Tall Poppies for 2018 are: YTP of the Year, Melody Ding (public health), University of Sydney. The university has two other YTPs, Samantha Solon-Biet (nutrition, ageing) and Laura Parker (environmental change and oysters). UNSW also has three YTPs, Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina (bio-medical engineering) Aliza Werner-Seidler and Michelle Tye, (both mental health). Genevieve Steiner (cognitive neuroscience) and Kate Umbers(zoology) are both from WSU. The University of Newcastle has two winners as well, Andrew Gardner (neurotrauma) and Serene Yoong, (diet).  They are joined by Simon Gross (lasers) Macquarie U and ecologist Caragh Threlfall, from the federal government Clean Air and Urban Landscape Hub.

The University of Queensland has filled two of three senior comms jobs. Chief communication and officer Kelly Robinson  announces Sandra McMullan is deputy communications director and Pip McConnel-Oats is head of brand and creative servicesMs McMullan has extensive corporate comms experience and Ms McConnel-Oats is experienced in brand strategy, design and implementation.

Media scholar Amanda Lotz will join QUT early next year, moving from the University of MichiganProfessor Lotz researches media platforms and channels and is interested to explore “the connections and differences among various internet-distributed media and social media services.”

Ilona Charles is CSIROs new Executive Director, People. Since 2010 she has had HR roles at Medibank PrivateTelstra and tech company AconexNigel Warren also joins CSIRO as ED, Growth. He has previously worked in public sector agencies including Austrade and the Australian Trade Commission.

Cindy Shannon (ex UoQ, now with UniMelbourne) will join QUT next month as professor of indigenous health.

Lina Pelliccione is inaugural PVC of Curtin U’s new campus in MauritiusProfessor Pelliccione is now deputy PVC for Curtin’s humanities faculty.