Name not quite up in lights

Former Griffith U VC Ian O’Connor has a campus building named for him

It’s the new Gold Coast campus home for the university med and dental schools. Professor O’Connor is not one for self-promotion, making this multi-story site just about his highest ever profile.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning Gretchen Dobson and Dirk Mulder on the  five things you can do now to reach international alumni.

Kylie Colvin on how to rise up university rankings

And Lambert Schuwirth (Flinders U) on the disruptors unis have a decade to deal with

Professors stand-up for free speech

The Challis Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney is being prosecuted in Poland

Wojciech Sadurski is also a professor at the University of Warsaw and a critic of the governing party in Poland  – which is not responding well, taking him to court.

The new Australian Association of University Professors has taken a public stand to back him.

Professor Sadurski is a scholar of the highest international standing. His criticism of the Polish government draws upon his world-renowned expertise in legal and political theory and freedom of speech. The harassment of him is a grave interference with academic freedom and freedom of speech, each of which is in turn essential to the promotion and maintenance of democratic government and the rule of law in Poland and globally,” the association writes.

Accommodating international students: help with housing would be a start

Laurie Berg (UTS ), Bassina Farbenblum (UNSW) and colleagues surveyed international students on their housing experiences – what they found is disgraceful

Some 36 per cent of international students move into shared housing when they arrive – and over half of them are exploited, by deceit over what they would get, by over-crowding and exploitation by owners.

Perhaps not surprising given 98 per cent of them organise their own housing, often via social media. And they do so, “without assistance from their university or college.”

“The findings underscore the need for education providers to provide housing services that assist international students to find decent share-houses and evaluate housing offered on-line, both offshore and onshore.”

It’s the least institutions, particularly in big cities, could do in return for the international student fees that keep roofs over vice chancellors’ heads.

Ditto state and federal governments who are very keen indeed on international students as review streams.

“There is a clear need for increased government enforcement to break cycles of impunity and hold accountable the many accommodation providers who are repeatedly engaging in deceptive and exploitative practices in relation to international students. At the same time, the data indicates a pressing need to strengthen international students’ legal rights and access to justice, particularly in share houses, boarding houses and elsewhere in the marginal rental sector,” Berg and Farbenblum state.

The survey is part of a project, funded, to its credit, by the NSW government (CMM April 10).

Politics of bad pisa

Education Minister Dan Tehan was out early with the bad PISA results for school maths and science

He wasn’t blaming teachers, Mr Tehan works hard to make friends with those in the classroom, but he is no ally of the school-education establishment. He fine-tuned his lines in Question Time yesterday and last night released a statement, suggesting that at next week’s minco, state ministers “should leave the teacher’s union talking points at home” and that they should, “embed how to teach phonics as part of teacher training.”

Sometimes government really is here to help

Heng Jiang (La Trobe U), Richard Chenhall (Uni Melbourne) and colleagues wondered whether government policies on alcohol and tobacco can reduce cancer cases

So, they looked at decades of Australian data. They found many years after random breath testing and campaigns against smoking reduced consumption of alcohol and tobacco, mortality rates for some cancers declined.  While the paper has a quiver of cautions and qualifications, the authors conclude, “the results support the proposition that key public health policies that control alcohol and tobacco consumption are effective in reducing cancer mortality in the long term.”

Their research is here.

This compares with US research into why opiod addiction is worse in some states than others. In a paper for the marvellous National Bureau of Economic Research, Abby E. Alpert and colleagues looked at marketing of opiod medication, Oxycontin beginning in 1996, in states where doctorsare required to write a triple prescription for it (doctor’s files, pharmacy, a record for government). They find such states, “saw substantially slower growth in overdose deaths, continuing even twenty years after OxyContin’s introduction.”

Claire Field’s take-outs from TEQSA


Here’s what you need to know from the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency’s conference



* George Megalogenis talking about how Australia’s migration and ageing population patterns could potentially lead us to a Trump/Brexit-like split between the well-educated, multicultural, globally focussed cities in southeast Australia and the older, less-well educated and whiter regional areas (and some cities)

* Jamil Salmi, from Diego Portales University Chile, who provided excellent insights into how Industry 4.0 is changing the world of work and the disruption it’s bringing to higher education.

Key regulatory issues discussed:

* English language standards and the need for more systematic monitoring of students;

* Ongoing issue of contract cheating;

* Changes to improve the timeliness of TEQSA’s work including the opportunity to streamline the audit process for some providers; and

* Providers being encouraged to engage their own independent course reviewers.

Two other things that stood out:

* Minister Tehan spoke and the government remains more bullish than I am on international student numbers from India.

* Craig Robertson from TAFE Directors Australia shared the view that the decline in VET enrolments is not due to a decline in funding but rather to industry designed training products (where the focus is on reducing the wage costs of their workforce).

Finally, if you work in the higher education sector make sure you check out this week’s episode of the What now? What next? podcast. Conor King from the IRU and Luke Sheehy from the ATN discuss what’s happening in the sector and where it might be headed.

Claire Field is the host of the ‘What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’ podcast.

U Tas builds on the charm

The university’s make-nice with the community wins friends

Not all in Hobart are happy with the university’s plan to expand in the CBD. So, VC Rufus Black convened an agreeable-a-thon where opinion leaders would be presented with the positives (CMM November 28). It went well, at least with the Hobart Mercury, which ran yesterday an oped by architect Robert Morris-Nunn, who attended the event. “I came away from the event with an optimism that the future of the city that is personally very dear to me could be profoundly changed for the better.”


Monash and Swinburne lead appointments, achievements

David Harvey (UNSW) wins the Australian Mathematical Society medal for 2019. Belinda Spratt (QUT) was honoured for early career teaching. The Gavin Brown Prize for published work went to Zdravko Botev, Joseph Grotowski and Dirk Kroese, all Uni Queensland

Julie Jomeen will join Southern Cross U as head of the School of Health and Human Sciences. She moves from the University of Hull.

Aileen Moreton-Robinson moves to RMIT in the new year to become a professor of Indigenous research. She leaves QUT, which will honour her as an emeritus professor at a graduation ceremony today.

Swinburne U announces its vice chancellor’s awards;

 Reconciliation: * Jennifer Turner * Lisa Williams, Lea Jones, Clare O’Kelly, Ann-Maree Colborne, Sharon Rice (Aboriginal Workforce Development Initiative)

Community engagement: * Huseyin Sumer, Eddie Brelsford, Elliot Henkel, Alan Duffy, Virginia Kilborn, Rebecca Allen (SHINE team) * Tay Fei Siang, Then Yi Lung, Hudyjaya Siswoyo Jo (Nurturing Social Community team)

Inclusion and diversity: * Julia Prendergast, Deanne Fisher (Gender agenda team), * Laura Wilkinson, Lachlan van der Velden, Mary Miceli, Daryl Steffen, James Hallinan, Anh Nguyen, Olga Lavouasier, Kaylene Tyler, Franx Ann, Hue Pham, Simona Jobbagy, Robbie Van Dijk (Family Violence Prevention project)

Teaching: * Andrew Rixon * Peter Mahon, Peter Ciszewski, Christopher McCarthy, Nicola Fish, Clare Dyson, Lucas Licata, Catherine Bamforth, Diane Sivasubramaniam, Amir Abdekhodaee, Cait Ryan, Matthew Cooke, Simon Morgan (Work-Integrated Learning)

Teaching (voced): Pia Armitage

Service: * Edmond Washington * Tiffany Milne, Tania Sabatino, Stella Chua, Shana Chong, Elisa Cassin, Sandra Luxton, Keryn Chalmers (AASCB business school accreditation)

Research: * James Ogloff  * Andrew Wood, Nicholas Reynolds, Philip Branch, Denny Meyer, Simon Moulton, Saulius Juodkazis, Michael Gilding, Nerida Cole, Gianni Renda, Sally McArthur, Paul Stoddart (ARC bio-devices centre)

Early career research: * Kwong Ming Tse * Andrea Phillipou

Industry engagement: Jennifer Wood, Muhammad Awais Javed, Elizabeth Mathews, Steven Knight, Scott Wade (corrosion mitigation technology for RAN)

Global initiatives: Aengus Topping, Emily Heard, Stewart Collins, Sally Rodrick, Alastair De Rozario, Elise Gumm, Carla King, Diana Gonzalez (Overseas internships for students)

Leadership: * Roberta Anderson * Terry McEvoy

Innovation: * Amirul Islam * Michelle Gillespie, Jessica Potter, Katie Routley, Mark Di Nardo, Vince Persi, Tony Davies (Reimagining Library and studentHQ)

Lifetime achievement: * Stephen Fankhauser, Andrew Peters

The Monash U vice chancellor’s awards for education and research go to

Teaching excellence: * Annette Bos, David Robertson (Sustainable Development Institute) * David Chapple, Susie Ho, Bruce Weir (Science) * Julia McCartan, Janeane Dart, Andrea Bryce, Aimee Dordevic, Liza Barbour, Nicole Kellow, Julie Brimblecombe (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences)

Honours supervision: Robert E Widdop (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences)

Enhance learning: Keith Sewell, Vivienne Mak, Tina Brock, Keenan Beaumont, Marian Costelloe (Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science)

Learning and teaching technology: Jonathan Li, Nathan Sherburn (Engineering)

Early career research: * Barbara Barbosa Neves (Arts) * Alisa Glukhova (Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science)

Research impact: Kate Seear (Law)

Research enterprise: Jayantha Kodikara (Engineering)

Postgrad research supervision: Graham Currie (Engineering)

University honour roll: John Bertram (Medicine, Nursing, Health Sciences)