Just in time

The feds encouraged everybody to “get involved” in consultations on the government’s international education strategy, via Twitter, 2.30pm yesterday – they just did not allow leave much time. Submissions to the consultation paper were due before midnight. (The always on-time IRU made the deadline with hours to spare – scroll down).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Ian Marshman and Frank Larkins on how Victorian universities have managed pandemic finances – largely by cutting casual and fixed-term staff.

Plus, Chris Walsh and Michael Ratcliff (Victoria U Online) set-out the four fundamentals that “make or break” the on-line experience for higher education students. They are this week’s authors in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Professor Walsh is also speaking at the Needed Now … conference (Wednesday May 26, 2.30 AEST). Details here.

AndMerlin Crossley (UNSW)  likes podcasts that roll out weekly and create a sense of community  – maybe they could work for lectures.

Teaching excellence to be ignored

Dream of being the next Uni Teacher of the Year? Wake up

The Australian Awards for University Teaching are no more (Education Portfolio Budget Statement, p57).

So that’s the end of 100 citations for contributions to student learning, of acknowledging four programmes that enhance learning, of nine awards for teaching excellence and for the Australian University Teacher of the Year, (Jack Wang from Uni Queensland last year).

It’s a bit odd, given Education Minister Alan Tudge’s view that, “the primary role of our publicly funded institutions is to educate Australians.”

It must be because the government desperately needed to save the $600 000 the awards and maintaining the Learning and Teaching research archive cost.

Needed now for on-line learning

It wasn’t just students who had to learn fast when classes went remote

Join exports who explore how remote teaching went last year and what happens now. Chie Adachi (Deakin U), Shirley Alexander (UTS), Phil Dawson (Deakin U) Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) and Cathy Stone (Uni Newcastle) Zoom in (sorry) on the big issues at the Needed Now in Teaching and Learning conference.

Needed Now … is sponsored Online Education Services.

New DVC roles at Murdoch U  

But two PVC positions will go

There are two new DVC roles, Education-Equity and Colleges. The former will report to the vice chancellor and the latter to the provost. And two existing roles exit, PVC E (now Kylie Readman) and PVC Colleges (now Grant O’Neill).

The colleges portfolio as is was only created in October when two PVC units Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences (Andrew Webster) and Science, Health, Engineering and Education (Grant O’Neill) were combined (CMM October 28 2020).

The DVC roles will be recruited internally “in the first instance.”

VC Eeva Leinonen says, “a key factor in establishing the new roles has been a desire to broaden the diversity of roles and skills in our senior leadership.”

Professor Leinonen announced in March she moving to University of Ireland, Maynooth (CMM March 9), starting there in October.

Tops for Asia-Pacific policy publishing

Björn Dressel and David I Stern (both Crawford School of Public Policy) rank public policy schools in the Asia-Pacific by research output, (hey- everybody’s got a hobby)

After scrupulously setting out how they assessed their set of 45 schools in 12 countries they found, on the basis of publications and impact factors, the elite operations are Crawford at ANU, Lee Kuan Yew at National University of Singapore and Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua U.

China’s schools have done especially well, what with many being in business for 15 years, max. This might be, Dressel and Stern suggest, “because they are focusing on less politically risky global policy issues, such as climate change, rather than domestic policy issues. As a result, they publish more in and are cited more by the literature in English.”

Ways to go on wooing international students

Submissions on the government’s new international education strategy consultation paper closed yesterday but what’s the rush? After all, the Budget states overseas students won’t be back in numbers this year

Timing isn’t the only issue with the paper, as the ever-understated Innovative Research Universities group points out. “The discussion paper highlights several important issues that need resolution before the strategy can develop further, whether it discusses these directly or equally importantly ignores them. Government commitments to their resolution are central to a viable meaningful strategy.”

And the IRU politely wonders whether the paper gets right all the issues to address. Thus, the lobby questions the importance of a “uniquely Australian” education experience. “The discussion paper provides little guidance to what a uniquely Australian education experience is or should be. The word ‘create’ implies that it does not yet exist, which would suggest that its importance to international education is modest.”

But what are important, the IRU suggests are;

* considering international students as a “migration opportunity,” “what is needed is for the Australian Government to articulate that there is a valuable link between an education service for many thousands of students from other countries and a proportion of them subsequently being accepted to stay in Australia as migrants.”

* a new approach to visas: “the strategy should ensure that the student visa programmes start from the assumption that recommended students are likely to be suitable.”

* new ways of delivering courses:  IRU members recognise the potential from the world market for on-line education while being alert to the many variations in interest for it according to country and different sets of people in target countries. … The discussion paper is largely silent about transnational education where universities provide on campus based education in other countries.”

Next gen for Indigenous health

The National Health and Medical Research Council stumps-up $10m for the National Network for First Nations Researchers

The network has 91 members and is charged with creating what Sandra Eades (dean of medicine, Curtin U) calls “a culturally secure, inclusive and sustainable network of First Nations researchers across Australia … that builds unique skills at the interface of culture, science and health research and translates to improvements in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Research forecast: blue sky and black clouds

The research response to the budget wasn’t all critical – some see it as an opportunity

For sure the basic research community was not pleased. The Australian Academy of Science lamented, “no significant new funding for fundamental discovery science and no initiatives to stem the loss of university science jobs” and warned “it is important for Australia’s future to ensure we have strong investment in basic research to be able to translate discoveries.”

And the Australian Society for Medical Research complained, “the government’s focus on commercialisation of health and medical research cannot succeed without supporting basic, fundamental and discovery research to feed that part of the pipeline. The ongoing static investment in those areas is crippling the sector.”

But organisations looking towards a  research translation plan, expected from the government by year end, were way happier.

The Cooperative Research Centres Association, “welcomes key budget measures to support industry growth and innovation capabilities.” Science and Technology Australia specified 13 funded budget initiatives it liked. “This future-focused Budget charts a path to develop the workforce Australia will need to seize opportunities in next-generation technologies.”

And the Australian Technology Network made itself even clearer. “Ensuring the funding system supports a strong and sustainable research and commercialisation ecosystem is vital.

We look forward to further announcements from the government on research sustainability measures as well as the critically important area of research commercialisation later this year.”

Guess which organisations the government is most likely to listen to when thinking about announcing.