There’s more in the Mail

The spin cycler was flat-out yesterday with institutions announcing their engagement and impact achievements in the new ARC report. Put it all in comparison with Susie Robinson very expert analysis, in CMM.

A tale of two cities

Where the PM was, and wasn’t 

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced two cancer drugs listing on the PBS yesterday he said he was glad to be in Melbourne. Which puzzled people at the announcement because they were pretty sure they were at the University of Canberra’s Specialist Medical Centre. There is an  Icon Cancer Centre in Melbourne, but Mr Morrison was at Icon’s facility at Uni Canberra. Happen to anyone, Canberra, Melbourne – so hard to tell apart.

Where ARC research dollars go

The government has commissioned a review of ARC outlays on the national science and research priorities (CMM February 20). The ARC has helpfully released a discussion paper to inform submissions

The paper includes bad news for politicians and reptiles of the press who enjoy implying research funding focuses on the obscurer humanities. The Australian Research Council  reports the nine very applied priorities account for 60 per cent of Discovery Grants through to 94 per cent of Linkage Programme awards, averaging at 70 per cent across all the ARC.  But this is not because the priorities are (ahem) top priorities – it is due to the nature of applications.

The ARC points to issues to address, including;

* should the ARC find other ways of funding the nine

* is the funding level appropriate

* what could be the costs and benefits of different funding approaches

For those yet to have the nine tattooed on their torso, they are: foodsoil and watertransportcyber securityenergy, resourcesadvanced manufacturing, environmental change and health.

What do we want? Dewey!

Industrial action shelved in the Monash U library

The Monash U branch of the NTEU lifted an enterprise bargaining ban on collecting library fines at 3.31.20 AM Saturday. The Dewey Decimal Classification explains the timing – it’s the place for books on compensation and other conditions of employment.

Swinburne U appoints captain of industry 4.0

Siemens MD becomes an adjunct professor   

Swinburne U names Siemens Australia’s MD Jeff Connolly an adjunct professor. And quite right too! Siemens is working with a bunch of universities on Industry 4.0 teaching and research, donating e-kit with a reported value of $1.5bn, plus.

Siemens has provided the University of Queensland with digital manufacturing software, UWA with engineering software, including a virtual LNG plant and the University of South Australia manufacturing product management software. Swinburne U has a Siemens virtual factory and the company is co-designing and delivering units in Swinburne’s HR management masters.

Bloke deserves a medal, or at least a bunch of hon docs.

Hold the phone at Uni Melbourne

The university’s April 1 announcement was more impossible than implausible

The University of Melbourne yesterday announced mobile phone signals will be shut down on all campuses. “Extensive survey data showed students were concerned about modern-day distractions keeping them from completing their university work and making new friends,” the university stated in an April 1 announcement.
It’s not just the date that gives it away – back in 2016 the university monitored volumes of WIFI traffic, to study campus infrastructure use, (CMM August 15 2016). As if management would want to lose a great data supply.

How to rate unis on innovation 

The Innovative Research Universities lobby should know a thing or two about innovation

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and Chief Scientist Mark Cully are asking for advice on improving innovation metrics (CMM March 15). The IRU obliges in a new submission to the review, which outlines issues it says aren’t yet on the agenda.

University teaching practise as well as research outcomes should be measured. “The massive increases in teaching and research productivity, extremely high by world standards, are indicative of the technological and human resource management innovations within universities over the past decade.”

Broader idea of innovation: include community and public sector organisations. “There is a risk of over-emphasis on the economic effects when evaluating potential innovation metrics.”

Get granular: the IRU argues meaningful international comparisons require region, industry and company level data

Helping country kids feel at home on campus

Universities can now measure how their support structure for RRR students rate

Students from the bush can struggle to settle in to studying away from home and the feds commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research to identify how universities meet their needs. The work is one of a suite of projects following the Halsey Review of remote, rural and regional education last year (CMM April 16 ‘18)   and to inform the Napthine Advisory Group (CMM November 12 ’18). The feds quietly released Darren Matthews, Gina Milgate and Leyna Clarke’s ACER report a month back. “Student retention and completion is impacted by how well universities target and communicate about their support services. Universities that identify the support required for first-year students early, have a better chance of retaining those students,” they write.
The ACER authors worked with public universities to create a self-assessment tool. It allows individual universities to rate themselves on a four-point green-red scale against a mass of performance measures grouped in four categories; resourcing student services, support that provides RRR commencers a sense of belonging, comms so they know what is going on and where there is help and service effectiveness.

If this all sounds like it would be a bunch of work to measure, it is. But there is a big reason why universities should adopt the ACER model (apart from concern for RRR kids) and that’s another metric the government really watches – attrition.  

“If a university can retain a student through their first year, they are much less likely to leave their study from then on,” the ACER team point out.

Uni Queensland Ramsay talks roll-on

While management  assures staff it’s listening

Uni Queensland negotiations with the Ramsay Western Civ Centre regarding it funding a degree, roll on. But while Chancellor Peter Varghese and VC Peter Hoj are doing the talking with Ramsay the university is keen to show staff that management is listening.

Yesterday the university released a report on staff survey concerns re Ramsay, plus reasons why people should not worry. The biggest issues for staff are:

Broadening and diversifying curriculum” (139 people): The university states this is a work in progress, with humanities-social sciences and law staff working on a draft for the HASS Board of Studies meeting on April 9.

Reputational risk (110 staff raised it): “The university’s reputation is arguably likely to be enhanced and not diminish if we are viewed by external stakeholders as being even-handed in relation to all philanthropic partnerships,” management comments

Academic appointments (105 responses): in the university’s control, plus “external involvement on staff selection panels is not uncommon at UQ,” yesterday’s report states.

Tomorrow in CMM: A (very) learned reader reviews Uni Wollongong’s Ramsay degree syllabus and a UoQ draft.

Engagement and dual impact

ARC ranking explained 

In yesterday’s engagement and impact analysis, Susie Robinson was perplexed by the ARC allocating blended “high/low” scores for a handful of fields of research at individual universities. A learned reader advises this is due to two separate evaluations by the Australian Research Council, one for overall impact content, another for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research impact. The first-listed score is for the overall content, and that is what Dr Robinson’ used. So, the results stand, but the clarification is gratefully received!


Appointments, achievements

Peter Leggat (James Cook U) is elected president of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

Lisa Line is moving to Swinburne U to be DVC Pathways and Voc Ed, she is now CEO of the Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong.

Justin Craig returns to Bond U as professor of entrepreneurship. He comes back to the Queensland Gold Coast from the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern U – near Chicago’s somewhat brisker Gold Coast.   The university has also appointed Francesco Cangiano assistant professor of organisational behaviour.

John Shields is standing down as deputy dean of the University of Sydney’s business school. He is taking up a new position as the school’s academic director, international.