(Yet more )tribulation for U Tas

National Tertiary Education Union members at the university have voted unanimously to apply for a FWC ballot on taking industrial action. “We have bargaining for a new staff agreement for ten months with very little ground being given by management,” the comrades state.

They follow this week’s release of submissions to the Legislative Council inquiry into the university’s administration and governance. The authors of most are as upset as the union (CMM yesterday).

There’s more in the Mail

In Expert Opinion, Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland ) on the changing challenges and opportunities in teaching

“My sense is that every student deserves to walk into a classroom, to get on-line, whatever that looks like and have someone who knows the basics of education, the basics of teaching. I don’t think it is enough to say we will have  a certain class of academics who focus on this – we have got to have raise the skill-set across all teaching academics.” (episode 14) HERE.

also in EO, Claire Field on what’s next for VET following the Jobs and Skills Summit  (episode 13 HERE)

and in Features

The Australian Collaborative Education Network Board on quality outcomes of work integrated learning and why it must involve students. New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching

with Mahsood Shah (Swinburne U) on the message in international student satisfaction survey scores. Institutions must do better.


Prime Minister’s three things government can do for research

Universities did not get much spot-light at the Jobs and Skills summit so advocates cannot but applaud the prime minister speech to CEDA yesterday

“Government can’t be in the business of dictating breakthroughs or directing research but it does have a vital responsibility to invest in our research agencies and universities and to support the field of smart and skilled Australians who will lead this work,” Mr Albanese’s distributed text states.

He added three things government can do,

“* signalling a respect for science, evidence and research

* valuing foundational work – as well as commercial applications

* “creating a sense of certainty and support for long-term projects, so researchers and scientists can do their work without looking over their shoulder, or spending their time re-applying for funding”

What open access hasn’t closed

The for-profit journal giants are still making a motza. A new study shows how

The big five publishers have adapted their publishing models to keep making money, as Stefanie Haustein (Uni Ottawa)  and colleagues explain in a NEW PAPER.*

“Although OA was  meant to remove inequities and break the oligopoly’s control of the traditional scholarly market,  these publishers have found a new revenue by equating (open access) with article processing charges and are now exerting their power in this system,” they write.

The set-up for Jobs and Skills Australia: no special space for unis

The Senate committee inquiring into the two bills to establish JSA recommends them

Its report appeared late yesterday. More legislation will follow to get the operating structure, but submissions to this inquiry and the resulting report set a context.

The committee finds a need for change in the training system, in part to end the, “disconnect that has developed between the national training system and the needs of industry and workers” and to drop the previous government’s detrimental directing resources to private providers.

And it notes the tripartite operating model in the bills – government, unions and industry – is consistent with the approach at last week’s summit, “to bring people together, find common ground, and develop consensus solutions to pressing economic challenges.”

The committee also notes, but only notes, the Group of Eight’s call for universities to be formally recognised in JSA functions and the Australian Technology Network and RMIT ideas for the agency to cover everything post-school.

Brits trial lucky-dip for research funding

The British Academy’s small research grants scheme (as in 10,000 quid) will be allocated for three years by a “partially randomised trial.” Yes it does sound like a lottery

Once applications are assessed as to-standard they go into a draw. It’s a “fairer and more transparent way of allocating limited funds to a consistently strong field of applications,”  the academy’s Ken Edmond says.

The model builds on trials in Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland. Analysis of previous rounds by Adrian Barnett from QUT and Philip Clarke (Uni Oxford) reports random allocation would have made no difference to funding awards by gender, ethnicity, institution and geography.

The academy hopes, “the transparency and simplicity of the system will help to improve research culture more generally (and) “ease the burden on applicants and research offices without impacting the quality of applications and assessment.”

In CMM Expert Opinion on Monday Professor Barnett talks about the trial and his research on random selection for funding

ERA cancelled but not over everywhere

Education Minister Jason Clare has cancelled next year’s Excellence for Research in Australia national performance measurement, “in light of the sector’s concerns about workload” – not all unis are stopping work

Deakin U, for one, was quick to decide to press on after Mr Clare’s announcement. DVC R Julie Owens told senior staff, “with all the preparatory work already completed by Deakin, in my judgment it would be a wasted opportunity if we do not continue with our current plan.”

For a start, whatever replaces the existing Excellence for Research in Australia methodology, “may well be assessed in a similar fashion to the current system so that work is likely even more important to complete.”

Plus DU’s own data might be useful to compare with whatever the ARC comes up with, “which may not consider the contextual and complex environment in which universities operate.”

And so what is now a “strategic research profiling exercise” continues. It will be “extremely valuable, have a variety of applications, and provide Deakin, and its research enterprise, evidence to support future performance targets.”

Not all of the 45 or so “cluster leaders” involved are thrilled. Learned readers suggest, that a bunch of work blooms still, even with deadlines extended, through to mid-October,

Appointments, achievements

of the day

 The Australasian Research Management Society announces board appointments. Tania Bezzobs (UTS) continues as president. Yordanka Krastev, (Chrysalis Advisory) is a committee member. Kate Swanson (Uni Queensland) is secretary and Brett Szmajda, (UNSW) is a committee member.

Flora Salim (UNSW) is Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society.

Monty Singh will start as Victoria U’s Chief International Officer, in November. He moves from Southern Cross U.

of the week

ANU announces two new professors in the practice of politics, Natasha Stott Despoja (former senator and leader of the Australian Democrats) and former speakers of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith.

Quin Chang (La Trobe U) is re-elected chair of Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia.

Kate Gunn (Uni SA) receives Suicide Prevention Australia’s 2022 LiFE Award.

Richard Hobbs (UWA) becomes an honorary member of the British Ecological Society. Membership is the society’s top honour.

Laura Smith-Khan (Law, UTS) receives the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ Max Crawford Medal for “achievement and promise in the humanities.”

Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia’s ’22 awards include,

Monash U, Additive Assurance (3D printing) * Erin Rayment (QUT) commercialisation professional of the year  * QUT robotics for manufacturing,  * QUT Banana Biotech Programme  and * UTS sensor for point of care disease tests.

 Sharon Lewin (director of the Doherty Institute) is the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences’ Outstanding Female Researcher for 2022.

Anne-Marie Morgan joins Uni South Australia as UniSA as Dean of Programmes at Education Futures.

Forbes McGain and Jason Monty (Uni Melbourne) and collaborators win the MTP Connect Biomedical Translation Bridge Award for their isolation hood, to protect against airborne infections in hospitals.

Alexis Bergantz (RMIT) wins the NSW Premier’s Australian History prize for French Connection: Australia’s Cosmopolitan Ambitions, (published by New South). The General History prize goes to Mina Roces (UNSW) for The Filipino Migration Experience (Cornell UP).

Andrew O’Neil moves from Griffith U to Australian Catholic U to become ED of Law and Business.

Peter Khalil (Labor, Victoria) is the new chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, replacing Liberal senator for Victoria, James Paterson. Mr Khalil was appointed in October, thus missing most of the committee’s inquiry into foreign interference on campus. Andrew Wallace (Liberal, Queensland) is deputy. Senator Paterson continues a member.