If the conspiracy-theory klaxon is going-off

Perhaps it picked up a tweet from UWA VC Amit Chakma, featuring a photo of him, WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken and Uni Notre Dame Aus Chancellor Francis Campbell “after a great conversation at Government House.”

And what, pray, was the great conversation about? CMM has no idea, but learned readers suggest it could have included Professor Klinken’s proposal for merging universities in the golden west.

A matter for the (acting) minister

Stuart Robert is now minding education and research

Alan Tudge stood down yesterday while the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet investigates allegations against him from a former staff member Rachelle Miller.  Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert will now act in Education and Youth.

An issue that might be in Mr Robert’s brief is Australian Research Council funding recommendations for Discovery and Linkage grants plus Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities funding.

A Senate required report from the ARC reveals Mr Tudge did not approve (if he got them) ARC funding recommendations in November. Maybe the paperwork from the council was not ready, maybe he had other things on his mind.

What is on the minds of applicants is when they will know who gets what.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on access and equity to post school education – expanding and funding access has got better over time. And now there’s a new challenge.

And, Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new international education strategy and what Australia can achieve.

Plus, Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) on 2020 uni financials – the worst could be over.

With, Lisa Andrewartha on how to help students who are also parents. Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Outcome in the ARC pre-print shambles

The Australian Research Council announces six disqualified research applications will now receive grants, based on academic merit

They were among 32 ruled out from Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and Future Fellowship rounds for breaking a relatively new and not universally recognised ARC rule against citing research pre-prints (CMM September 15 and umpteen other reports). The ARC has now deleted the pre-print rule.

Of the 32 determined to be ineligible applications, the authors of 28 appealed under ARC rules. Five DECRA and one Future Fellowship applicants are successful.

The original ban led to an outcry in the research community, notably in physics, where many rejected applications originated. It culminating in ARC chief Sue Thomas being closely questioned in Senate committee hearing by Mehreen Faruqi (Greens-NSW) and Kim Carr (Labor-Vic).

The ARC has also exempts all 32 applicants from the rule that caps at three the number of times a researcher can apply for grant funding – word is that this was the third go for three applicants.

Scroll down for the six now successful researchers


Flinders U VC asks the question on mandatory vax

VC Colin Stirling says he is considering it and wants to know what staff and students think

Professor Stirling’s announcement occurred as SA’s parliament stood adjourned over an Omicron risk. He tells staff that eased restrictions and new variants mean living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.

The VC reports 93 per cent of Flinders U staff are double vaxed with a further 3 per cent scheduled for a second shot. However, the remaining 4 per cent are variously opposed or ambivalent.

“Should the university move to mandate vaccination then it would be my fervent hope that the small minority of unvaccinated staff would recognise that this measure was intended to protect their health and safety, and that this might give them sufficient cause to reconsider their position on vaccination,” Professor Stirling says.

Staff have until December 9 to express opinions and the university will consult students “in coming days.”

But Uni SA is ok as is, for now

A university representative advises 94 per cent of staff are doubled vaxxed, “or intend to be” and “we will continue to monitor SA’s vaccination rate in the coming weeks.”

And Uni Adelaide will follow orders

The university states it has encouraged staff and students to vax up but while mandatory vaccination is not mandated “the matter is under on-going and detailed assessment.” However, ““if a public health order were to be issued in which vaccination is mandatory for the tertiary education sector, the university must be ready to follow it”

Charles Sturt U goes the santa

There’s a $1000 for staffers to sock away

Vice Chancellor Renée Leon wants, “to acknowledge the sustained contributions of Charles Sturt’s wonderful staff,” in what was a “challenging 12 months.”

“In extremely difficult circumstances you have found new ways to ensure our students could continue their educational journeys, important research projects could be undertaken, and the university’s role as an anchor institution in regional Australia could be strengthened.”

And because nothing says thanks like cash, there is a $1000 bonus for continuing academic and professional staff and casuals on the books, working a base 500 hours. Hopefully it includes a bunch that did not make the cut for the current casual conversion to continuing work round.

The bonus compares well against the price-setter for management gifts, Uni Sydney which has provided $2000 (CMM November 12). Given the difference in institutional assets and income $1000 from CSU is a stand-up sum.

Big week for appointments, achievements

Of the day

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering announces board members. Elanor Huntington (CSIRO) joins. Iven Mareels (IBM) is elected for a second term. He continues as VP, financial sustainability.

At ANU Kylie Message becomes head of the Humanities Research Centre. She is a professor of digital humanities at the university.

The Australian Research Council announces the six researchers who are awarded research grants after successfully appealing exclusion for breaching the now-dropped ban on pre-print citations in applications. They are all in physics and astronomy related disciplines, Manisha Caleb DECRA (Swinburne U) * Caroline Foster, Future Fellowship (UNSW) * Ciaran O’Hare DECRA (Uni Sydney) * Mikolaj Schmidt, DECRA (Macquarie U).  ) * Simon Stevenson, DECRA (Swinburne U )  * Nora Tischler DECRA (Griffith U)

The NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering are announced

James Patrick (Cochlear) is Scientist of the Year. Other winners are

* Richard Bryant (UNSW): innovation * Nicholas Carlile (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment): joint winner, public sector innovation * Louise Causer (UNSW): early career researcher-biological sciences * Rona Chandrawati (UNSW): early career researcher-physical sciences  * Fang Chen (UTS): engineering, ICT  * Gregory Dore (UNSW): medical biological sciences * Terry O‘Dwyer (NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment): joint winner, public sector innovation * Cassandra Portelli (Hunter School of Performing Arts): teaching * Peter Steinberg (UNSW): biological sciences  * Shujun Zhang (Uni Wollongong): mathematics, earth sciences, chemistry or physics

Of the weekLouise 

 The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education announces its new executive. Chris Campbell (Griffith U) continues as president, for a new two-year term. Michael Cowling (CQU) is VP, replacing Sue Gregory (UNE), who returns to a committee role. Mark Schier (UNE) continues as treasurer. Lisa Jacka (Uni Southern Queensland ) joins the committee, with returning members Sandy Barker (Uni SA), Thomas Cochrane (Uni Melbourne), Elaine Huber (Uni Sydney), Hazel Jones (Griffith U), David Porter (Uni Wollongong), Petrea Redmond (Uni Southern Queensland), and Kwong Nui Sim (Auckland Uni Technology).

ASCILITE also announces awards. The ever-energetic and generous with time and ideas Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) is 2021 Community Fellow. Other achievers include, * Chiu-Lin Lai (National Taipei Uni of Education) and Ruofei Zhang (Education Uni of Hong Kong) – distinguished reviewers * Keith Heggart (UTS) – emerging scholar * Laura Tubino (Deakin U), Samantha Clarke and team (Uni Sydney) –  innovation awards * Michael Henderson (Monash U) – life member.

The Australian Academy of the Humanities 2021 Fellows are in CMM here.

As are those of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, here

 Monash U announces Megan Galbally is new director of its Centre for Women’s and Children’s Mental Health. Professor Galbally will move from Perth, where she has multiple appointments, including at Murdoch U.

Griffith U combined its research, teaching and support awards into single event this year, making way-more announcements than CMM can fit. The complete list is here

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) joins the hall of fame of the Australian division of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research. Yes, that Guthrie, the one who scrutinises university financials in CMM.

The Higher Education Standards Panel has a new advisory committee on admissions info for PG/international students. It is chaired by Kerri Lee Krause (Avondale U) with members, * Sarah Bux (La Trobe U) * Catriona Jackson (Unis Aus) * Alistair Maclean (TEQSA) * Connie Merlino (RMIT) * Stuart Mossman (Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres) * Arshad Omari (Edith Cowan U) * Natalie Simmons (International College of Hotel Management) * Kathryn von Treuer (Cairnmillar Institute) * Martin Westwell (SA Certificate of Education Board)

 Monash U announces the VC’s awards, of which there are around 200 recipients, the list is here.

Nyadol Nyuon succeeds Kathy Laster as director of Victoria U’s Sir Zelman Cowen Centre (“legal education, training and research, with a particular focus on law and cultural diversity.”)

 Winners of the South Australian 2021 Science Awards include *Australian Institute for Machine Learning – Science-Industry Collaboration (Uni Adelaide) * Alicia Byrne – PhD research (Uni SA) * Justin Chalker (Flinders U) – innovator of the year * Giselle Rampersad (Flinders U) – STEMM Educator of the Year * Michala Short (Uni SA) – unsung hero * Shizhang Qiao (Uni Adelaide) Scientist of the Year * Graham Wegner – primary/secondary STEMM educator of the year (Prospect North Primary)

 Derek Scott (principal Haileybury School) is the new chair of the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, appointed for a three-year term. He replaces Belinda Robinson.

Stephan Tillmann (pure maths, Uni Sydney) receives the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation, for research time at a German institution.

The University of Newcastle announces the (numerous) winners of its staff awardshere.