Not universities by another name

The Innovative Research Universities is largely happy with the government’s plan to implement Peter Coaldrake’s review of Provider Category Standards. But not entirely

Professor Coaldrake’s recommendations on research minimums for universities, community engagement and creating new unis were all adopted by the government, (CMM December 11). But where Coaldrake proposed top-quality teaching-only institutions could be called “national institutes of higher education” (CMM October 16 2019), Education Minister Dan Tehan preferred “university college.

The IRU isn’t happy with that and uses the Higher Education Standards Panel request for advice on how to implement the changes (CMM March 3) to make the point, calling Mr Tehan’s change, “an unfortunate decision,” “maintaining the potential for confusing between a university and other providers.”

There is as much as nothing the IRU can do about this but it does seek to minimise the impact of what it does not like about the “university college” title. Thus it responds to HESP’s proposing that one of the roles of university colleges is, “demonstrate strong civic leadership … .”

“This proposal further distracts a group that is meant to be the leading non-universities with a university requirement due to the minister’s naming change. The result is to nudge the university colleges that much closer to university. It could undermine the potential for the non-university,” IRU argues.

However, pointing to the possibility of existing universities expanding, IRU also suggests regulatory room to, “ensure space for universities to have related elements accredited as university colleges.”