It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing

Uni SA celebrated International Jazz Day, yesterday by running animations on its Bradley Building giant LED screen – shame Jazz Studies 101 and 201 are not on this year. Presumably they went when the JV with maestro James Morrison closed (CMM November 15 ’21).

There’s more in the Mail

in Features this morning

To expand university access for students with disabilities invest in accessible learning technologies. Ratna Selvaratnam (Edith Cowan U), Luke Butcher (Curtin U) and Justin Brown (Edith Cowan U). Make the case.

plus Making more and the most of student partnerships require an inquiring mind and nuanced approach. Alison Jaquet and Lolita Liboon-Aranas (Uni Southern Queensland), Megan Pozzi and Sherry (QUT) and Kate Walsh (Flinders U) set out the challenge for Commissioning Editor Sally Kift, HERE.

and in Expert Opinion Brigid Freeman (Uni Melbourne) explains the challenges and opportunities for Australian universities and colleges as the Indian Government expands post-school education. HERE


Accord agenda for regional unis

Regional education commissioner, former Nats senator and federal minister, Fiona Nash has just filed her first report.

It includes a “consideration” on regional, rural and remote issues the O’Kane Accord should address, including;

* whether policies and funding settings, enable regional universities “to meet the skills needs of regional communities,” notably in teaching and healthcare

* more Commonwealth Supported Places for the Murray Darling (med school) Network

* “explore” expanding the Regional University Centre programme  

* a “recognition” of the importance of student support, and encouraging universities to undertake “good practice”

There’s a fair chance Professor O’Kane and colleagues will be aware of these– Ms Nash is a member of the panel.

Research investment already invested

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources announced Friday the Commonwealth, “will invest $13bn in science, research and innovation,” this financial year

Good-o, although it was hardly new news, what with there are only being 8 weeks left. And not all the funding impresses. Like the $3.2bn for the Research and Development Tax Incentive which includes money many in the research policy community think could be better spent on research investors fund from university labs,” a learned reader remark.

Curiously the announcement was made Friday but on Sunday CMM “was not authorised to access this page.”

Uni Newcastle makes new “competitive” pay offer

Uni Newcastle has upped its enterprise bargaining pay offer to 13 per cent – an improvement to the 9.5 per cent staff decisively knocked back in a December vote

Management says the “increase over the life of the agreement is competitive with the Australian university sector and in line with the University’s financial position.”

Up to a point. Uni Sydney’s offer is 15 per cent and UoN always has trouble convincing staff that money is tight.

Management focuses on operating costs and revenue – in December it projected a $23m deficit for the year (CMM December 1 2022) and while the university recorded an $180m surplus in ’21, that was in part due to investment one-offs.

Last year’s numbers are imminent and are expected nothing like that. But critics still point to the university’s $500m plus in reserves – while the pandemic changed things, in 2019, UoN’s cash and financial assets covered debt by a factor of 50 (CMM April 29 2021).

We will know soon enough what’s in the books for ’22 – the university’s annual report is soon for tabling in state parliament.

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union did not respond Friday,  to CMM’s request for comment on the new offer.

What works at work

After all the pandemic pain it’s time to work through the lessons of lockdown and build better HE workplaces

HEjobs and CMM invite you to an in-person event to talk, listen and learn about jobs that work better

NSW VCC’s big idea for funding new sorts of study

The NSW VC’s committee submission to the O’Kane Accord ranges from the immediate to the epochal

The committee states it is focused “on tangible and realistic proposals to address key Accord questions” that can be addressed in the ’24 budget cycle but align with possible structural change.”

Which makes a change from the grabathons that make up many submissions.

NSW VCC proposals include,

* philanthropically funded university endowments to fund scholarships for low SES students, with start-up support from government

* short-term funding to address flaws in the Job Ready Graduates model, ahead of a “more complete funding model that properly reflects the cost of delivery, student demand, and industry priorities for graduates in key areas.”

* increase Commonwealth Supported Places for postgraduate courses “in key priority areas” with

* Commonwealth backed currency hedge funding so universities can quote international student fees for an entire course in A$, US$ or UK£.

* full economic cost approach to funding by ARC, MRFF and NHMR.

And then there are ones that set a course away from more of the same fine-tuned change

* CSP for set numbers HECS-HELP eligible joint TAFE-university courses.

The “full-service six” VET-HE institutions put an approximate proposal to the Accord, for “a consistent and nationally recognised spectrum of work-based-learning qualifications,” (CMM April 20).

* FEE HELP for micro credentials

This may not look like a big deal, but it could be.

“Another option is to return to the original concept of HELP, rather than instil even more fragmentation into the current system with a ‘Micro-HELP’ stream. In this case that there be a single income contingent loan system called HELP. This scheme would allow any individual to take up to a lifetime cap (currently $109,206) to use as they prefer across a set of accepted purposes.”

The VCs suggest that it sit outside the student learning entitlement (“as it is not a funded course”) but perhaps it would mainstream the idea of people assembling their own suite of qualifications via study loans.

Appointment, achievement

Poet Sarah Holland-Batt (QUT) wins the Stella Prize (Australian Women’s Writing)

Manu Platt is awarded the Australian Society for Medical Research Medal. Dr Platt is inaugural director of the Centre for Biomedical Engineering Technology, in the US.