They have to ask

Now that Avondale UC as was is a university (scroll down) is a Universities Australia herald on the way to instruct VC Kevin Petrie in the secret handshake? Apparently not, word is Avo U has to apply to join.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on education-focused academics    “As I have watched the initiatives unfold in my institution I have been delighted again and again by the intended and unintended consequences.”

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the case of the disappearing casuals. Professor Guthrie explains how changes in reporting practise makes it hard to find how many staff in Victoria’s universities lost jobs last year. That’s staff as in people, not “full-time equivalents.”

Plus, Lyndon Megaritty makes the case for keeping the live, in-person lecture. “Learning is better and more effective when everybody is ‘present’ in the room, feels part of the one group, and the teacher can respond to the moods, preferences and questions from the class.”

And Rhiannon Lee White (Western Sydney U) reports on the opportunities COVID-19 created. “the way we teach on campus and the way we teach on-line are not the same. Instead, we need flexibility; flexibility to create the best learning experiences, whatever they may be, however long they go for, and via whatever mode or platform works best for each activity.” It’s a new addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed Now in Teaching and Learning.

Sacred and Profane: a new university and three university colleges

Bang on time as promised TEQSA announces the first HE institutions elevated under the new Higher Education Standards (CMM June 25)

On the first day the new standards apply the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency announced the results of applications.

Avondale steps up: What was Avondale University College becomes a university, the first since the SA Government legislated Torrens U in 2013.

Avondale’s elevation was widely expected with TEQSA chair Peter Coaldrake saying yesterday it, “recognises Avondale’s commitment to student outcomes, its significant research progress and contributions to the communities it serves.”

Avondale U describes itself as “an entity of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the South Pacific” which “welcomes a growing number of students of other faith traditions.”  It teaches business, education, humanities, nursing and science and offers a ministry and theology programme designed for work in Seventh Day Adventist and “other Christian denominational churches.”

The university nominates “lifestyle medicine and health,” “Christian education,” “spirituality and worship” and “the scholarship of teaching and learning” as core research areas.

Their academic achievement is critical to Avondale U’s future. The new higher education standards set research minimums for universities to keep the title, (CMM April 15).

Avondale U has around 1200 students in 2019 at campuses on the NSW central coast and in Sydney.

Three new university colleges: One is the long-established National Institute of Dramatic Art, across the road from UNSW in Sydney’s east.

Another is the Australian Film, Television and Radio School a couple of kms from NIDA – no ambiguity about what is taught there.

And the third is the Moore Theological College, which states its vision is, “to see God glorified by men and women living for and proclaiming Jesus Christ.”  Also pretty clear.

A chance of job security for casual staff

Optimists suggest changes to the Fair Work Act create a path to permanent employment for long-serving university casuals. The NTEU is not so sure, but is keen to find out

The new law now allows for casuals who have been with an organisation for a year and who have worked a regular pattern of hours for six months, in roles that will continue, to ask for conversion to permanent status, (CMM April 21). Jim Hackett explained how it could help people caught as casuals despite years of service, in CMM here.

The National Tertiary Education Union is not so sure, “where a person works on a semester basis it will be difficult to show there is six months of a regular pattern of hours. And, the employers only need to have ‘reasonable grounds’ not to offer ongoing employment,” it tells members.

But the union wants to find out – it urges casuals to ask their university if they qualify for on-going employment and if not why not. “This is really important, “the NTEU advises,

And it urges members who meet the threshold to get in touch, “the NTEU could test this new legislation for its applicability to our sector.”

Making free speech safe for students

Universities will pick up the pace on protecting students from China in Australia from the harassment and intimidation identified by the Human Rights Watch report (CMM June 30)

The Universities Foreign Interference Taskforce has dedicated resources to dealing with the sorts of issues HRW reported. This appears to signal a switch from a UFIT focus on threats to staff and risks to research. Consistent advice on what universities can do to protect students from intimidation from agents and supporters of the Chinese Government is expected later this year.

It is expected to include protections already in-place in the US and UK, including anonymising students in on-line politics classes, upping support for students who feel at risk if they speak-up and lifting security for assignments.

But students in fear of speaking up are not the only people universities need to convince they can help their own – the parliamentary joint committee inquiring into foreign interference in universities heard evidence from Human Rights Watch, which could have solutions of its own.

Miracle ingredient lifts VET starts

After a decade of decline VET starts are rising fast – now why could that be?

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research reports a 10 per cent increase in trainee and apprentice starts in the 12 months to last December.  The December quarter increase for 2020 over 2019 was140 per cent.

So, after years of decline young Australians have realised the appeal of training, unless of course Commonwealth wage subsidies have something to do with it. Starting last October and running to March ’22 the Commonwealth will pay 50 per cent of the wages of a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee.

So that’s the end of a decline in numbers that ran for much of the last decade – starting after the last Commonwealth wage scheme finished.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Odette Best (Uni Southern Queensland) becomes a fellow of the Australian College of Nursing.

Suresh Cuganesan moves up from associate dean to Deputy Dean for students and external partnerships in the Uni Sydney Business School.

At Griffith U, Vanessa Tomlinson becomes head of the new Creative Arts Research Institute.

G Greg Haff (Edith Cowan U) receives the US National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Impact Award for his research on resistance training.

Science and Technology Australia announces new committee members. Policy Committee: Marguerite Evans-Galea (Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering). Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Susanna Cramb (Statistical Society of Australia), Erin McGillick (Reproductive Health Australia) and Tara Roberson (ARC centre for Engineered Quantum Systems). Adrian Barnett (Statistical Society of Australia) and Bek Christensen (Ecological Society of Australia) are re-elected to the Policy Committee

Of the week

 At Uni Adelaide, Nick Warner continues as branch president of the National Tertiary Education UnionHe was returned unopposed, as was branch VP (professional staff) Kent Getsinger.  The new VP (academic) Virginie Masson was also unopposed.

 The Australasian Research Management Society announces appointments to its accreditation council, Kate Gunn (Children’s MRI) and Andy Hor (Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore).

 The Australian Health Research Alliance Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network announces its inaugural rewards to support EMCRs, here.

At Edith Cowan UCobie Rudd becomes DVC (Regional Futures) and MD of the university’s Bunbury campus. In the latter role she replaces Lyn Farrell, who is retiring.

Tamara Davis (Uni Queensland) will deliverer the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Robert Ellery Lecture.

Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop (Uni Queensland) wins the 2020 Harrie Massey Medal from the Australian Institute of Physics. In February she was awarded the C.E.K. Mees Medal from the Optical Society of America.

Griffith U shuffleMario Pinto will leave the DVC R portfolio next month. After medical leave, he will become director of the university’s Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. PVC Health Sheena Reilly will act as DVC R while the position is recruited. Analise O’Donovan (Dean of Health) will cover for Professor Reilly. Plus, (pause for breath) Griffith Enterprise and the GC Health and Knowledge Precinct both move to Vice President Peter Binks’ Industry and External Engagement portfolio. Yes, the Peter Binks who used to run the now no-more Business Higher Education Round Table.

G Graff Hall (Edith Cowan U) receives the US National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) Impact Award for his research on resistance training.

Rob Heferen is in-coming CEO of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. He moves from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Geoff Masters (Australian Council for Educational Research) receives the Lifetime Contribution Award in the 2021 International e-Assessment awards from the UK based 3-Assessment Association.

At Murdoch UAndrew Webster becomes executive dean of the College of Arts, Business, Law and Social ScienceJon Hill will be ED at Science, Health, Engineering and Education. They will “lead the Colleges over the coming 12 months.”

Uni SA council: Chancellor Pauline Carr has a new four-year term, to 20206. Bill Muirhead (now SA Agent General in London) will join council in January.

At Uni Wollongong, Marc in het Panhuis becomes Interim ED, Science Medicine and Health, replacing previous interim dean, Tracey Moroney. “Exciting news” about a permanent appointment is said to be imminent.

Magdalena Zych (Uni Queensland) is the Australian Institute of Physics 2020 Ruby Payne-Scott Award winner.