Simon Birmingham says there’s no plan B but watch-out for a Plan A Plus

The Education Minister says he will put his higher education changes to the parliament as soon as possible and, “there’s no Plan B in the backpocket.”.

But it seems there is another plan in the minister’s mind. The senator said once his package was in place he wanted to “get on (with) working cooperatively with the sector in other areas of reform, in terms of how they become more efficient and adaptable in the future; how they engage in innovation in a better way; how they indeed modernise.” Senator Birmingham also mentioned the need for a change involving to the standard teaching-research academic employment model.

“In a modern world, where we see modern universities teaching record student numbers – far beyond what was ever envisaged when many of these industrial arrangements were put in place – universities should be able to recognise the reality that not every one of their academics is actually undertaking research, and they should be able to structure their industrial arrangements in a way that reflects the reality.”

Certainly, Senator Birmingham says, he wants ,”academics who are undertaking valued research (to) have the time and scope to be able to do so … But for those where the focus is on teaching and learning, that should also be reflected in the way things are arranged, too.”

Hard for vice chancellors who are pushing teaching-only roles to argue with that, but as for staff happy on traditional teaching-research-service models, not so much. Probably not at all.