There’s more in the Mail

New in Expert Opinion

The British Academy is allocating small grants via lottery (CMM Friday). Adrian Barnett from QUT advised the Brits on the scheme and makes the case for random selection of qualified apps. “When you have a highly competitive system, with lots of excellent applicants and not enough money the final decisions between choosing who to fund and not to fund are on a knife edge, it’s like choosing your favourite shade of blue,” new in Expert Opinion, ep 15 HERE

plus Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland ) on the changing challenges and opportunities in teaching – “we have got to have raise the skill-set across all teaching academics,” ep 14 HERE.

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

And in Features this morning

For work integrated learning to work it needs collaborative curriculum design. The Board of the Australian Collaborative Education Network makes the case in a contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

plus Tim Winkler on the great Uni Tasmania debate – people are arguing about the wrong issues 


Micro content is king at Deakin U

Micro-courses serving mini-markets

,Jason Felice Jacka and Tetyana Rocks teach an on-line course for psychiatric clinicians, registrars and final year students on nutritional psychiatry via (via Future Learn). “When looking to treat psychiatric conditions, gut microbiota and nutrition options hold great promise for novel treatment targets,” is the pitch.

D U’s Motion Lab has a sports commentary simulation where aspiring callers can learn their craft

With more sport screening than you can point a ball at, the call for commentators is way louder than the broadcast networks. Thus Deakin’s Play*By*Play which “enables participants to test, develop and refine their on-air skills by commentating on sporting action as live.”

“By simulating the commentary booth experience it creates a golden opportunity for sports organisations to build and enhance the capability of their on-air talent,”  project friend Jason Bennett.

Ask not what Victoria can do for universities but …

All policy is always local

The previous federal government’s Job Ready Graduates programme “constrain the ability of Victorian universities to address skill shortages by providing high-quality education in priority employment areas,” a state parliament committee warns

There’s a “need for the Victorian Government and universities to work together to advocate for reform at a national level using an evidence-informed approach,” the state Legislative Assembly’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee recommends in a comprehensive report into universities’ “investment in skills.”

The focus is on what Victorian universities can do for Victoria, including in work integrated learning and TAFE-uni cooperation.

“The Victorian Government assist universities, including dual-sector universities, and TAFEs to develop hybrid or dual qualifications in priority subject areas where integrated qualifications would be of practical benefit for the employability of graduates,” is one recommendation.

“The Victorian Government, through the Department of Education and Training’s Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery and the Victorian Skills Authority, take a lead role to facilitate the structured collaboration of TAFEs and universities to improve learning pathways for students,” is another.

As for the feds, “the Victorian Government fund opportunities that promote strengthened partnerships between universities and TAFEs. Such opportunities may also require consideration of Commonwealth Government funding arrangements.”

It’s a comprehensive report by and for Victorians.

Murdoch U back in the international ed biz

There’s a new pathways partnership with Kaplan. It looks a bit like the one the partners ended in the pandemic

Based at the university’s main campus, MU College is open to local and internationals. It will be a Kaplan show, with programmes offered under its listing on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

Sound familiar? It certainly look the partners’ previous JV, Murdoch Institute of Technology which the they decided to close in August when the pandemic was biting, and taught out in June ’21.

The new venture’s courses are much the same as the previous but will grow over the year.

SA VCs on pandemic Year Two: not so bad

The state Auditor General released SA public universities 2021 financials weeks back (CMM August 5) but VC’s still got their messages out, in annual reports, just tabled in state parliaments.

Peter Høj (Uni Adelaide) was grateful, “through superb effort and agility, our staff ensured that the last two years, whilst not ideal, have not been lost years for our students,” optimistic, “the hard work of the last two years has set us up for a bright future, where we can continue to celebrate our many successes,” but not for everybody, “the overall financial result does not remove the need to address the underlying financial challenges facing the university. … this has meant a number of staff will be moving on from the university.

Colin Stirling’s (Flinders U) message was that despite the pandemic “we surge ahead in both education and research, a testament to the commitment of our staff to our student-centred ethos.”  Such a surge that he thanked them again, “for their commitment, fortitude, and hard work in staying focused on the needs of our students.”

And there is no beating David Lloyd (Uni SA) for effervescent esprit de corps. “In 2021, in the face of the world’s biggest disruption to human endeavour, UniSA made radical changes to the way it operates. That’s just us; Australia’s University of Enterprise. While the global pandemic shut doors and quieted the running of businesses the world over, we used the time to remodel our institution. Our staff rose to every challenge and were Unstoppable.”


We get the school systems we legislate for

“Australian school systems behave as they are designed in law. From funding to governance, inequities are built in the current system,” a new report for the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia argues.

It comes out of discussions at UNSW’s Gonski Institute for Education, on building systems for equity and inclusion. Measures to “address stagnant or declining outcomes and enduring inequities” include;

* data sharing for policy making and research

* more research funding, to use data

* an elected national body representing all school sectors to “participate” in policy decisions


Appointments, achievements

Vicky Balabanski, is appointed a professor of the University of Divinity. She is Director of Biblical Studies at Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in South Australia.

Google 2022 PhD Fellowship recipients include * machine learning: Yixin Liu (Monash U), Xiaobo Xia (Uni Sydney) * machine perception, speech tech, computer vision: Jianyuan Guo (Uni Sydney), Shuo Yang (UTS) *natural language processing: Shuyi Wang (Uni Queensland) . They receive $15 000 for research and related in a year

South Australia’s Hospital Research Foundation Group announces seven research grants to (by university affiliation) * Dhani Dharmaprani (Flinders U) – irregular heartbeats * Adrian Elliott (Uni Adelaide) – exercise to restore regular hearbeat * Mergen Ghayesh (Uni Adelaide) – preventing heart attacks * Clementine Labrosciano (Uni Adelaide) – reducing hospital readmission after heart attacks * Sivabaskari Pasupathy (Uni Adelaide)- treating chest pain * Peter Psaltis (Uni Adelaide) – preventing heart attacks * Johan Vernans (Uni Adelaide – managing patients

Janet McCalman (Uni Melbourne) wins the Education Publishers Association’s scholarly non-fiction award for – Vandemonians: The repressed history of colonial Victoria (Melbourne University Publishing)

Kevin Rudd (yes that one) receives his DPhil the University of Oxford for a thesis on (PRC president) Xi Jinping’s world-view.