Overturn the tables

“If any Australian university is willing to opt out from all league tables, then I will work for them for free for one-year,” QUT stats professor (and new fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences) Adrian Barnett, via Twitter.

Anybody who wants his office at QUT should not get their hopes up.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) and Chris Campbell (Griffith U) on live-lectures and tech in teaching – what students want is what works. It’s a response to Robert Vanderburg and Michael Cowling, in CMM here.

Plus James Guthrie (Macquarie U) sets out the seven gaps between university managements’ rhetoric on the state of finances and the very different realities

And Merlin Crossley (UNSW), makes the case for science comms and the good that comes from getting the word out.

Now for the hard part

The pandemic may pass but its impact will continue and universities now need to focus on new challenges in what they teach, how they recruit students, what they stand for and how they explain that to a mass of audiences

Join experts addressing their pick of the issues at the last Twig Marketing-CMM event for the year.

Speakers include a learned of VCs, Patricia Davidson (Uni Wollongong), Carolyn Evans (Griffith U), Nick Klomp (CQU), David Lloyd (Uni SA), Paddy Nixon (Uni Canberra), Pascale Quester (Swinburne U), Zlatko Skrbis (Australian Catholic U) and Colin Stirling (Flinders U).

Sign-up here.

Money well spent by Uni Sydney

There’ s a range of COVID thanks

Various universities have given staff days off. Uni Wollongong says it will pay people deferred wage rises a couple of months earlier than agreed. Monash U sprung for $50 vouchers given to staff who got vaxed, good at campus outlets.

And then there’s Uni Sydney, where newish VC Mark Scott has just announced a $2000 COVID recognition payment for staff – including casuals who worked three pay periods in second semester, they get the whole $2000 (CMM November 10).This is kind – help for people, especially sessional teaching staff who carried a sizeable swag of the on-line class burden, and can really use the money.

It is also clever. Uni Sydney identified just 69 casual staff who qualify for conversion to continuing employment under new Fair Work Act requirements – out of 4173 assessed (CMM September 14). But if casuals continue to complain about that the university can point to the COVID payments as demonstrating management cares.

Call for more medical research translation

The Medical Research Future Fund is charged with translating research from lab to market but Research Australia wants another pathway, a primary healthcare research agenda, and a new institute to run it

RA (“representing the whole of the health and medical research pipeline”) makes the call as the Commonwealth considers a 10-year primary healthcare national plan.

The lobby proposes an institute for primary health care translational research, combining academic investigation and practise.

“Research is often perceived as being the remit of academics and experts outside the health system, based in theory, with innovation the advances and improvement that arise from within, based on practical experience. It is important that the proposed Institute avoids any (false) demarcation between these two,”

 “Beyond a research aware workforce, we need more of the workforce to be research active,” RA suggests.

The lecture at Uni Tas: gone, different

There were end of the lecture laments in Hobart this week, which Mitch Parsell calmed

The U Tas Academic ED went on ABC Hobart radio Wednesday, to explain that the university was not taking all teaching on-line.

“We are an on-campus, face-to-face university, we are excited to welcome our students back to the activities they enjoy. They are small activities, where they can learn together and social activities where they can meet and make friends,” he said.

But will there be lectures? asked host Kylie Baxter.

“No one likes to be talked at,” Professor Parsell replied (CMM is sure he did not mean Ms B).

“Rather than talking at students we want staff to have a conversation with students.” So, there will be small-group teaching where “students get to engage with staff – that’s what they want, that’s what they will be delivering.”

And no, it’s not about saving money. “Putting things on-line is fairly expensive,” he said. Rather, “it’s about the best possible learning experience for our students, it’s about flexible delivery with active engagement.”

Which includes, “really innovative large classes for students to be able to engage in, inspiring ways, from lecturers who are really excellent”

Gosh, what will that involve? There’s an announcement on Tuesday, which may, or may not, be about a format Professor Parsell described in CMM (April 11) as a “lectorial …iintroductory comments and the presentation of catalyst material by the lecturer followed by active learning by students, very often in groups. Such activities are not only worth keeping, but worth expanding.”

Out of body academics

“Avatars and digital humans” can teach classes in-person (sort of)

Uni Sydney’s Co-Design Research Group are working with facial recognition, animation and 3D modelling to record lecturers at work and synch their words and gestures onto a cartoon version of themselves, which say and do what the human did.

The Research Group explains it here.

Good-o but why?

* “ ‘chunking’ content into short explainer videos allow students to learn core concepts at their own pace before actively applying their knowledge in class with peers” is one reason.

* “the use of a character or avatar in these videos might offer a creative solution to engaging students with certain kinds of content, or it might align conceptually with the content itself,” is another

* “for some who are wary of having their faces on camera all day, there is a desire to play with other ways of representing themselves and how they appear to students,” is a third.

And then there is the one that budget managers will like, creating a generic presenter may mean course content is used by different lecturers.  As it stands people don’t like being in-person second banana, to a colleague’s star video turn

So far so good, unless the Brothers Warner licence Wylie E Coyote for use by strategy lecturers.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Tim Costello (clergyman and community leader) becomes chair of the community advisory council for Monash U – Peninsula.

RMIT undergrad Aaron Nguyen is the Australian entrant in this year’s James Dyson Award. He has created an ankle-foot mobility aid for children are sensory-impaired in legs and feet.

 The Royal Australian Chemical Institute announces its 2021 awards, including. * Leighton Medal (development chemistry): Michelle Coote (ANU) * Weickhardt Medal (economic advancement): Anthony Weiss (Uni Sydney) * Rennie Medal (research): Markus Müellner (Uni Sydney) * Fensham Medal (teaching) Gwen Lawrie (Uni Queensland) * Cornforth Medal (thesis) Pei Lay Yap (Uni Adelaide)

Of the week

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia 2021 Fellows are in CMM November 9,  here.

 The Australasian Research Management Society announces its 2021 awards, * Gayle Morris (Australian Institute of Business) – distinguished service * Lisa van den Berg (QUT) – research management * Daniel Barr (RMIT) – research management

The Australasian Research Management Society announces office holders, * Tania Bezzobs, president (Swinburne U) * Susan Rose, treasurer (Deakin U) * Lesley Ashton, secretary (QuoVadis Consulting)

Winners of the Australian Business Deans Council awards include, * Kym Davis (James Cook U) professional management * Andrea Haefner (Griffith U) international education * Alexander Newman (Deakin U): research * James Wakefield (UTS): teaching and learning

The Autism Cooperative Research Centre research awards go to, * Sandra Jones (Australian Catholic U) – research into practice. * Trevor Clark (Autism Spectrum Australia) * Samuel Arnold and Julianne Higgins (both UNSW) – inclusive research practice.

Hilary Charlesworth (ANU) is elected a judge of the International Court of Justice.

The Council of Australian Law Deans selects Ian Malkin (Uni Melbourne) for its outstanding career achievement award.

Chris Fleming becomes Griffith U Business School research dean. He replaces Andrew O’Neil, now acting dean of the university’s Graduate Research School.

Tracy Harris joins Swinburne College as GM and dean. She was previously at RMIT.

Richard Hu (Uni Canberra) wins the ACT award for planning excellence for tech and digital innovation from the Planning Institute of Australia.

 The Hunter Medical Research Institute announces its researchers of the year * research excellence: Michael Breakspear * early career: Nicole Nathan * mid-career: Vanessa McDonald.

The Legal Education Associate Deans Network announces 2021 awards. * Teaching: Kerstin Braun and Noeleen McNamara (Uni Southern Queensland) * Early career teaching: Aidan Ricciardo (UWA) * Sessional teaching: Alexander Chan (Uni Adelaide) * Teaching engagement: Linda Steele (UTS) * Research supervision: Paul Babie (Uni Adelaide),

 James Cook U remote pharmacy academic Selina Taylor is the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Queensland pharmacist of the year.

International education researcher Ly Tran (Deakin U) receives a Melbourne Asia Game Changer Award from Asia Society Australia.

The University of Adelaide’s staff achievement awards are in CMM for November 10 here.

The Associations Forum inducts Troy Williams (Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia) into its Hall of Fame.