Finkel, Finkel, music star

There’s a new ABC recording of the late, great Allan Zavod’s Environmental Symphony, narrated by Richard Branson with a text by Alan Finkel. Yes, that Alan Finkel, the chief scientist. CMM waits for his cantata on hydrogen as fuel.

How good is UNSW

Its great – just ask the PM

It was a great institution then and it’s a great institution now … importantly it equipped me for what was ahead. I thank UNSW for all the opportunities I had when I went there, and I know that it’s going to be an institution that continues to serve Australia well,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison, UNSW’s Facebook page, yesterday.

CMM suspects this endorsement will not be the basis of UNSW recruitment campaigns.

Macquarie U mucked up clause 45.14

The details aren’t always in the detail

Macquarie U’s professional staff enterprise agreement was successfully negotiated, and signed off by the Fair Work Commission on December 28. So, it was still fresh in everybody’s mind when management had to go back to the FWC seeking variations. The problems are omissions and errors in the celebrated clause 45.14 with regard to calculating severance pay for people with three to four years and four to five years of service. The union is fine with the change and the FWC has duly ticked it.

Given the trackless wastes of rules and requirements in enterprise agreements it amazes CMM that universities aren’t in the commission asking for variations more often.

Sunshine on regional unis

Location and lobbying are good for student growth

The University of the Sunshine Coast is recruiting first staff for its Moreton Bay campus, at Petrie.

The new campus is scheduled to start next year, putting into action an aspiration that started in 2015, when VC Greg Hill and Moreton Bay local government agreed on the development. The feds have also helped. In January ’18 the always on message Professor Hill warned that federal infrastructure funding would avail nought if the then newly announced freeze on Commonwealth supported undergraduate places applied.  Next month 1200 CSP places for 2020 were forthcoming.

With student growth for universities in general now to depend on yet to be identified metrics, USC demonstrates how it’s done, especially for regionals unis, which Education Minister Tehan is keen on.

Enrolment options under govt planning (they’re all bad)

The NTEU says there are three enrolment strategies to deal with whatever follows the funding freeze on student places. None are good

When the government abandoned demand driven funding of undergraduate places in December 2017 it capped Commonwealth Grant Scheme places in 2018-19 at 2017 levels. When growth funding starts next year it will be based on 18-64-year-old population increase, with extra places allocated on the basis of as yet unannounced metrics. But if population growth is lower than inflation the value of funding will decline. The National Tertiary Education Union estimates that funding per CSP is already well down, $11 100 last year compared to $11 575 in 2011.

A paper from the union argues universities have three enrolment options through to 2022;

* increase enrolments in-line with population growth to maintain the participation rate: this would mean public funding per student would decline to $10 057 in 2022

* maintain the value of funding per student: this would lead to fewer places, meaning unmet demand will be back

* holding CSP at 2018 levels: this will exclude prospective students while not improving funding per place.

Multifunction management at Uni Newcastle

The deputy chancellor fills two roles 

At the University of Newcastle university secretary David Cantrick-Brooks and his deputy Kim Davis are both on leave. But not to worry, Chancellor Paul Jeans got his deputy Dianne Allen to act. So, the deputy chancellor is working in an executive committee position which advises the vice chancellor. But just in case Ms Allen felt she did not have enough to do, the chancellor is now away – so she is acting in that role as well, until June 14. Ms Allen is now advising the VC, who reports to her.

Student stress and what to do about it

Former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry speaks at a July conference on student mental wellbeing

The conference is organised by study support provider (and CMM advertiser) Studiosity and features Professor McGorry, professor of youth mental health at the University of Melbourne and founding director of national service, Headspace.

Other speakers include learning expert Jessica Vanderlelie from La Trobe U, Phillip Dawson from Deakin U, who researches contract cheating and UNSW maths teaching maven Chris Tisdell.

The conference is on at La Trobe U’s Melbourne city campus and is free – but space is limited. More information here.


Keyzer continues at La Trobe U

La Trobe U says an inquiry into allegations against law dean Patrick Keyzer has ended, “without any finding being made”

 Professor Keyzer will step down as law school head at the end of June, but will remain in the school as research chair.

PVC Simon Evans told staff yesterday that Keyzer had, “led a transformation of the school in its administration and its performance in both research and learning and teaching.”

The university launched a misconduct investigation against Professor Keyzer and stood him down following allegations from two law school staff. Professor Keyzer took the university to the Federal Court seeking reinstatement. That action is also dropped.

Law school observers agree with Professor Evans, that Keyser did a good job as dean. One tells CMM that overall “the school was a happy place” and that his work to lift teaching and raise research performance was transformative. “The school is now one of La Trobe’s jewels.”

Appointments, achievements

Maxim Goryachev wins the National Measurement Institute 2019 award for “measurement excellence in a young individual”. Dr Goryachev is a post doc fellow at UWA’s Frequency and Quantum Metrology Lab.

John Fahey is reappointed chancellor at Australian Catholic University. His second five-year term starts in September.

Suzanne Fraser is announced as director of La Trobe U’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. Professor Fraser moves from the Curtin U based National Drug Research Institute. She will be joined at La Trobe U by her collaborator at the National Drug Research Institute, David Moore.