“I did, I did see a pussy cat”

The University of Queensland reports  research by authors including its Martin Ringbauer (maths and physics) which suggests, “ a theory of multi-level quantum coherence, a step further than the theory which allows the famous Schrödinger’s cat to be in a quantum superposition of being dead and alive at the same time.” Or as the brothers Warner put it, “I did, I did see a pussy cat”.

UniSydney profs propose a platform to talk to govt

The University of Sydney’s Association of Professors has big hopes for its November 22-23 conference; “one outcome might be the formation of an Australia-wide association of professors that government could consult,” the programme proposes.

The conference, announced in April, is all about who should run universities; “students and their academic teachers form the core of every university, but corporatised university businesses run by managers now largely disregard this with detrimental effects on academic life and the ability to undertake high quality research and teaching. At the same time, Australia and other modern countries increasingly need universities run by academic criteria, yielding graduates and research outcomes for society.”

CMM looks forward to UniSydney Provost, Stephen Garton handling this when he opens the event on November 22.  He may well be glad the organisers have dropped one question which appeared in the original announcement of the conference. “How much management and how many administrators are necessary?” (CMM April 17).”

ACU builds for Melbourne growth

That the feds are silent on how many federally funded undergraduate growth places there will be when the present freeze lifts seems of no concern to the Australian Catholic University. The university has appointed civil engineer Watpac to build a $250m 12-story teaching and research space, which is “part of a larger plan to accommodate student and staff growth at the university’s Melbourne campus.” ACU is funding it from a bond issue last year.

University of Queensland to negotiate with Ramsay Western Civ Centre

The University of Queensland is opening negotiations with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, submitting an expression of interest.

The university says it’s EoI is, “clear that any potential partnership would need to align with our longstanding principles of institutional autonomy and intellectual freedom and would be governed by our standard policies and procedures. These are critical matters for the university.”

The university adds the EoI is subject to a confidentially agreement. “Should our negotiations progress beyond this, the university will consult with staff and students,” it adds.

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union yesterday welcomed “assurances up-front on university autonomy and academic freedom,” and the university’s commitment to considering any partnership proposal through normal university processes. “The VC can rely on UQ staff to give any proposals very careful scrutiny, branch president Andrew Bonnell said.

However, he added, that reports of why Ramsay-ANU negotiations stopped rang “alarm-bells”, and that there are “very difficult academic questions about integrating such a programme into a modern, globally-oriented humanities curriculum in a research university.

What’s La Trobe got?

La Trobe U offers tips from alumni on “making your dreams a reality,” (via Twitter @latrobe). The first five are the usual blancmange (self-care, accept ups and downs and so-on) but then there is the sixth, “get real.” Get real what? a learned reader asks.

Teacher educators appeal to outcomes

The teacher education establishment is digging in to defend the status quo against appalathons about low ATARs for teaching degrees and the quality of courses. But their strategy now is smarter than only arguing everything is fine and they know best.

Last month three deans defended education faculties and the quality of their graduates. “The teacher education programs we use are all heavily and nationally accredited. They are rigorous and vigorous. These courses are definitely not for the fainthearted. Every student that graduates with a teacher education degree has demonstrably changed and has developed as a professional in response to the program of study and experience we provide,” they argued.

The point was made again yesterday, in an opinion piece by Neville Jennings for the Australian Association for Education in Research.  Dr Jennings reports how he was an “unexceptional student” with average school results who may not have passed an emotional intelligence test and behavioural interview. But; “my personality blossomed during my teacher training years, I was inspired to pursue an academic career and I found that I loved teaching.”

This is rather the point Christopher Pyne was making when in 2015 he announced the national literacy and numeracy tests for teacher education graduates now in place (CMM June 29 2015) – it’s not what students start with when they commence teacher education degrees, it’s what they can do when they graduate that matters. It’s not an argument that will shut state up education ministers, who demand astronomical ATARs for teaching courses, but it’s about the best the deans have got.

Student recruitment campaign of the year  

The Australian Marketing Institute 2018 awards are announced.

The marketing campaign of the year is from education category winner, Mater Education, an RTO owned by not-for-profit healthcare provider Mater Misericordiae, offering postgrad, professional development and entry level VET courses. The campaign objective was to increased qualified course applications for a diploma of nursing.

The University of Melbourne won the business to business/business to consumer category for its “talent for every future” which pitches the Melbourne Model to employers of graduates.

The Sir Charles McGrath award for a “significant contribution” to marketing went to Mark Ritson, adjunct professor at the Melbourne Business School.

Collateral damage of the VET FEE HELP disaster

Private higher education providers have slammed regulators, for “overlaps in the information required for accreditation and registration in both the VET and higher education sectors, including duplicating the paperwork and reporting requirements creates unnecessary workload and additional costs for providers (and government).”

“These resources could be better spent providing services to students,” the Council of Private Higher Education states in a submission to Senate committee inquiry into “red tape in private education.”

“It feels like the unscrupulous behaviour of some in the VET sector (the VET FEE-HELP scandal) has hardened the regulatory attitude towards all private providers where ‘red-tape’ is an unfortunate consequence of this legacy, COPHE suggests.

According to COPH, providers working in VET and higher education are burdened with dual reporting to the Australian Skills Quality Authority and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. COPH also states the time for TEQSA to decide on course accreditation grew from 202 days in 2015-16 to 303 days in 2016-17.

“TEQSA needs to better understand the nature and role of independent higher education providers and provide a more flexible regulatory framework across the higher education sector,” COPHE claims.

Appointments, achievements

La Trobe U has appointed a new head of LT U Asia. Euan Graham joins from the Lowy Institute. He replaces Nick Bisley, who moved up to run the university’s HASS school.

UNSW announces Dimity Kingsford Smith is the inaugural MinterEllison chair in risk and regulation.

Ian Musgrave (pharmacology at the University of Adelaide medical school) wins the Australian Skeptics 2018 Thornett Award for, “the promotion of reason.”  Last year Dr Musgrave was named un-sung science communicator at the SA Science Awards.

 Three Australian based researchers make a North American selection of top women in fire science, published in research journal Fire. Lynda Prior is a fire ecologist at the University of Tasmania. Tina Bell is also a fire ecologist, at the University of SydneyFay Johnston works on environmental factors of poor health, including epidemiology of smoke pollution at the University of Tasmania.