Dan Tehan speaks at the National Press Club today, where he will fix issues on his immediate agenda
campus free speech: Mr Tehan is expected to announce the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching will in future include questions for students about freedom of expression on their campus. “I will work with the sector on what questions to ask to measure diversity of opinion on campus and whether students feel empowered to voice non-conformist opinions.” The minister adds he will do the same for university staff questionnaires. “I believe universities want to know if students and staff are afraid to discuss certain topics. It is only through diversity of thinking, perspective and intellectual style that we get innovation and problem solving. This is the kind of thinking that universities are there to encourage.”
This is smart indeed. The generality of university managements dislike QILT, because students do not give them the ratings they think they merit – but no one questions its independence. And an independent survey of staff should have the same standing. The government may still decide to upset universities by imposing a free speech code but if it does it will have a solid base to act on.
foreign interference: Word is the minister will announce an officials-uni reps group to look at cyber-security, protecting IP and research security without impeding researchers, international collaboration and fostering “a positive security culture”. Whatever this accomplishes it demonstrates the government is acting, without increasing interference by the Defence Department and security services.
Regional, rural, remote strategy: as expected the government will accept all seven key recommendations from the Napthine Review, they include more places in regional campuses and scholarships. Given Mr Tehan’s commitment to RRR education this was always going to happen.
Below: what happens next