Hard times at James Cook U

First, James Cook U was caught in Townsville’s February floods. On Wednesday night, there was a fire in student accommodation that forced 200 people out, (nobody injured, support in place).  Can pestilence be far behind, oh wait – cane toads!

There’s more in the Mail

In Features David Myton talks to Uni SA’s Libby Roughead about a program that has dramatically improved the lives of veterans.

Plus, a learned reader reviews the Uni Wollongong and Uni Queensland Ramsay Centre-funded western civilisation degrees.

And Susie Robinson analyses the outcomes in the ARC’s inaugural engagement and impact study.

The humanities: older and under-rated

The peak body is asking for ideas on what to do about it

The HASS academic workforce is ageing, with 50 per cent over 50, but there may not be enough academics to replace them, with young scholars too often imprisoned in the precariat. This is a problem, warns the Australian Academy of the Humanities, given the “core knowledge and trainingHASS disciplines provide for workers in tourism, international education and finance, “industries that are both critical to the Australian economy and in which we are regarded as a global leader.”

The academy addresses the future for HASS in a discussion paper, now out for consultation and focusing on three issues;

* support for humanities early career researchers

* “future knowledge, skills and capabilities for a productive humanities workforce

* diversity, gender equity

The discussion paper argues, “the capabilities generated through humanities training are the foundation of a competent and agile workforce”. Which sets out a big issue for discussion;

“how to address the current misalignment between perception and reality in how humanities skills relate to employer requirements across academic and other sectors is therefore fundamental to any effort to move beyond common biases associated with the employability of humanities graduates and researchers.”

And yet there is one

Every ranking is an opportunity

“God knows we don’t need another university league table but it’s worth considering how universities are helping achieve the UN’s Social Development Goals,” University of Sydney DVC R Duncan Ivison, via Twitter yesterday. Professor Ivison took the opportunity to mention Uni Sydney rated 25th on the Times Higher’s SDG ranking yesterday, (below).

Visualising Charles Sturt U’s new identity

A strategy is all very well, but the colour has to be right

Charles Sturt U will unveil its “new visual identity” next month, CMM thinks this means there will be a new logo and livery. But the name as previously, painfully, announced ( CMM February 19) stays the same, with management accepting a push in its core catchments to keep the Charles in Sturt U.

The name-change proposal and new livery is a distraction from what is important in the university’s 2022 plan, which is “designed to transform our competitive position and enhance our student experience, teaching, research, and economic and social impact across our regions, “as CSU VC Andy Vann tells staff.

But the design is certainly generating activity. “A cross-functional project team and steering committee are working behind the scenes to prioritise the introduction of the new logo and brand identity. … Accessibility testing has helped refine our colour palette and finishing touches are being applied to our logo and brand guidelines. It’s all coming together!, DVC Jenny Roberts advised last month.

What the techies want

Their learned academy sets out six priorities for the next government

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering proposes six “priority themes” to “guide the next federal government.” This seems like a polite way of assuming Labor will win the imminent election, what with the government setting its priorities, at least for the first year of the next parliament, in Tuesday’s budget.

Whatever party sits on the ministerial bench, what the Academy wants is;

* value-added raw materials for energy storage technologies.

* transition to low-emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure

* healthcare encouraging preventative technologies

* consumer data protection legislation

* discipline-specific STEM teacher training, phasing out-of-field teaching in years 7 to 10.

* a national gender equity framework for SMEs “without regulatory burden”

 Putting the UN in university rankings

The Group of Eight does not dominate top spots in a new, and different, ranking

After last week’s ARC Engagement and Impact and Excellence in Research for Australia rankings university marketing engineers were worried that their superlative generators could not take any more work. But orders are orders and so yesterday they started up the spin cyclers to promote the new Times Higher impact rankings, which list universities on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The University of Auckland is global number one with ANZ institutions in the top 100 being;

 Western Sydney U (11th in the world), Uni Wollongong (=13th), Auckland Uni Tech (=16), Uni SA (=22), Uni Sydney (=25), Massey U (38th), James Cook U (=39th), Edith Cowan U (42nd), Monash U (45th), Uni Queensland and QUT (=46th), Macquarie U (63rd), RMIT (82nd) and U Tas  (96th). There is extra good news in scores on the 11 SDGs Time Higher ranked, which include, “peace, justice and strong institutions,” (Uni Auckland 7th, Uni Wollongong 11th, Edith Cowan U and James Cook U =22). On “reduced inequalities” (James Cook U, Western Sydney U and Uni SA are the world top three).

Appointments and achievements of the week

Two VCs have new terms this week

 Steve Chapman will continue as Edith Cowan VC to 2025. The university council has appointed him to a second term a year before his first expires. Professor Chapman joined ECU in 2015 from Heriot-Watt U, in Scotland.

Michael Spence will stay on at the University of Sydney to 2022 after accepting a further four-year term. Dr Spence joined the university in 2008

Mark Grant is the new CEO of the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership. He joins from the NSW Department of Education.

Geoff Lee is the new NSW minister for skills and tertiary education Dr Lee is a former TAFE teacher and Western Sydney U academic.

Diane Costello has stood down after 30 years as executive officer of the Council of Australian University Librarians. She is replaced by executive director, Rob O’Connor and content procurement manager Mark Sutherland.

Peter Leggat (James Cook U) is elected president of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Lisa Line is moving to Swinburne U to be DVC Pathways and Voc Ed, she is now CEO of the Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong.

Justin Craig returns to Bond U as professor of entrepreneurship. The university has also appointed Francesco Cangiano assistant professor of organisational behaviour.

John Shields is standing down as deputy dean of the University of Sydney’s business school. He is taking up a new position as the school’s academic director, international

Peter Klinken has a new three-year term as WA Chief Scientist. He commenced in 2014 and will continue to 2022.

Mia Lindgren will become Swinburne U’s dean of arts, social sciences and humanities, in August. She will move from Monash U, where she is head of media, film and journalism.

The Australian Accounting Hall of Fame has inducted Wai Fong Chua (Uni Sydney) and Roger Simnett (UNSW).

Stephen Finlay will move from the University of Southern California to lead Australian Catholic University’s   new Institute for Philosophy.

Griffith U has appointed Reserve Bank analyst Ellana Brand to a new research fellowship on financial advice. The post is funded by AMP.

Budget reply: Shorten sticks to his promises

In his budget reply Bill Shorten went the full Mortein on education – he’s decided he is on a good thing and he’s sticking to it 

A Labor Government, “will uncap university places” for “an additional 200 000 Australians,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said last night.

In his budget reply, Mr Shorten also confirmed deputy leader and shadow education minister Tanya Plibersek would be education minister in a Labor government.

In a speech that emphasised VET, Mr Shorten also committed Labor “to backing public TAFE all the way.” And he announced a doubling, to $200m, of the party’s TAFE rebuilding fund to renovate campuses. He also promised his government would meet “up-front fees” in high priority industries, for 100 000 TAFE students, including 20 000 for workers in the NDIS.

While Mr Shorten appeared to put a ceiling on undergraduate places, CM understands the 200 000 figure refers to independent modelling which estimates demand will increase by this number the next decade. A return to demand driven funding continues Labor policy.

While Mr Shorten talked up investment in technology and manufacturing his speech made no mention of research.

Demonstrating Labor long-ago picked post-school education as a party plus, Mr Shorten’s speech last night included commitments, and lines, from his budget reply last year, (CMM May 11 2018).