Wisdom of the HERD

The Higher Education Research and Development journal has published a special edition on the pandemic’s impact. Editors of vol 39, issue seven, are Wendy Green (U Tas), Vivienne Anderson (Uni Otago), Kathleen Tait (Macquarie U) and Ly Thi Tran (Deakin U). It’s open access.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Madelaine-Marie Judd (Uni Queensland) and colleagues on staff-student partnerships. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift in her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning,

 Tim Winkler reports  the embrace of change reported last week’s ReMaking HE conference.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the three roles that ensure learning will always be a human game.

Data for Uni Sydney to deliver mental health help

The BHP Foundation is giving Uni Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre $12.8m for a five-year programme of data-driven mental health modelling targeting young people

The project will forecast needs and test responses in eight primary health networks across Australia.

While not focused specifically on students, the announcement follows the Productivity Commission calling on universities to provide mental health support for their undergraduates, (CMM yesterday). Universities with catchments covering the health networks might want to get in touch.

Coaldrake taking over at TEQSA

Peter Coaldrake will be the new chief commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency

Professor Coaldrake, who became a TEQSA commissioner in June, will replace Nicholas Saunders, in the chief commissioner role since 2014.

Professor Coaldrake was VC of QUT 2003-2017 and since retiring from there has undertaken a range of projects for the Queensland Government. For the Commonwealth, he conducted the well-regarded review of HE provider category standards (CMM October 16 2019), which was (nearly all) adopted by the government and shaped the bill about to go to the Senate. (Professor Coaldrake wanted to call nearly-but-not-quite unis “national institutes”, Minister Tehan liked “university colleges”).

This is an astute appointment. Professor Coaldrake combines vast practical experience in university management with great policy grasp – he is the co-author of two books on university functions and governance. He is generally considered a safe pair of political hands and will be more than capable of dealing with whatever is bowled up to the agency.

He commences as chief commissioner in March, joining relatively new CEO Alistair Maclean, who was appointed end August (CMM August 31).

Bright and shining citation stars

Australia rates fifth in the world for highly cited researchers

“Australian research institutes continue to punch above their weight,” data analytics provider Clarivate announces in its annual bibliometric analysis of Web of Science publishing records.

Researchers make the list for multiple highly-cited papers in journals ranked in the top 1 per cent by citations for field and publication year.

There are 305 Australian-based researchers on the new list, accounting for 4.8 per cent of the global total. The number is an increase on last year ‘s 271 and 4.4 per cent and Australia stays in fifth place.

Clarivate attributes the big increase in researchers to Australian institutions cultivating “home-grown” talent and recruiting highly cited individuals.

Australia’s fifth place is way ahead of Canada in sixth with 195 (3.1 per cent). But it is far behind the US in first place with 2650 researchers (41.5 per cent). China is second with 770 researchers (12.1 per cent), up from 636 (10.2 per cent in 2019).

Local heroes:  Curtin U was quick to praise the ten highly-cited researchers it can claim as its own, including three visitors. James Cook U was also fast to point out it has ten people listed, double last year.

Australian-based HiCi researchers by discipline :* ag sci: nine * biology: four * chemistry: eight * clinical medicine: 15 * computer science: 11 * cross-field: 123

* economics: one * engineering: 15 * environment: 16 * geoscience: five * immunology: 15 * materials science:  seven *maths:  seven *microbiology: two * molecular biology: four

* neuroscience: six * pharmacology: eleven * physics: three * plant and animal science: 17 * psychiatry/psychology: 14 * social sciences: nine  and *space science: three

Modest master

“Learn from world leading experts and build lasting networks with the Master of Psychiatry,” Uni Melbourne spruiks a course on Facebook, yesterday. There’s a photo of an unnamed bloke in the advert, perhaps that’s him.


Victoria U selective on VRs

Management has accepted 79 applications for voluntary redundancy from 142 expressions of interest

This leaves management short of the 190 FTE departures needed between 2020 and 2022 to get the budget back in black by 2023.

But this does not mean 110 people who don’t want to leave will be told to go, at least not now.

VC Peter Dawkins tells staff, “it is still too early to say what the next phase will involve.

“We do not intend to rush into a further phase of substantial staff reductions, without reviewing the full implications of this voluntary separation phase. Further, additional consultation will occur before any further staff reductions will be implemented.”

Professor Dawkins probably means the consultation before a staff restructure, mandated by the VU enterprise agreement. Unless he is contemplating another go at talking to the union about an agreed proposal for a temporary cut in wages/conditions to protect jobs. Any such proposal would need to be passed by a staff voted. Talks for such failed in September (CMM September 25).

Whatever Professor Dawkins is thinking you can bet its in-line with what incoming VC Adam Shoemaker wants to do. The former is retiring and the latter arrives next month (CMM August 27).

Appointments, achievements

The Australian Council of Graduate Research announces new executive committee members for 2021. Imelda Whelehan (UWA) is Convenor Elect next year and Convenor in ‘22.  She is joined by Anne-Marie Hede (Victoria U), Simon Moss (Charles Darwin U) and Stephan Riek (Uni Sunshine Coast).

Lyn Griffiths (QUT) wins the outstanding achievement award for 2020 from the Australian MedTech Industry.  Professor Griffiths is ED of the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.

 The NSW chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education chooses Lesley Hughes (Macquarie U) as the state’s tertiary educator of the year