You beauty!

This is the last issue of Campus Morning Mail for 2020 – back (if the fates allow) January 19. Thanks for reading.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on why TLDR means we need academics.

Open access to research is set to expand. Cameron Neylon and Lucy Montgomery (Curtin U) explain a big change.

Warwick Freeland on English language testing. It’s imperative they are a true reflection of students’ capability.

Social-media uni reviews are here to stay. Mahsood Shah (Swinburne U) argues universities must learn to live with, and from, them. It’s Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s final selection for the year in her series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Michael Tomlinson explains why the new higher education provider category standards will make it possible for a range of roses to bloom sweetly

Something to celebrate from the NCVER

“Now is a good time for Registered Training Organisations to start preparing for their submission of 2020 data, the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research,” in the spirit of the season, via Twitter yesterday.

NCVER reports it is accepting fee for service activity reports from January 2 to February 26 adding, “failure to submit data by the due date may result in follow up from the VET regulator(s).” Presumably ASQA will send Ebenezer Scrooge round.


More time to understand Macquarie U management plan

The university extends the consultation period on its Professional Services Transformation briefing paper (CMM November 4)

“Having input from staff is a vital part of refining our proposed PST model and approach,” VP Nicole Gower says.

To date 1151 individuals have accessed the paper 4000 times – many perhaps to work out their chances of surviving.

All up 69 jobs are set to be abolished, on top of 67 voluntary redundancies already but 80 new positions would be created. Existing staff “impacted” get first go at the new roles, (CMM November 16).

Staff now have until December 18 to work out what it all means.

Murdoch U CRICOS registration: what TEQSA wants

The university is renewed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students

Yesterday the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency which oversees the CRICOS register stated.

“Murdoch University has agreed to provide TEQSA with information about its students’ English language proficiency and academic preparedness, management of education agents and student visa requirements at regular intervals over the next two years. This information will assist TEQSA monitor the implementation and outcomes of recently introduced changes to policies and procedures at Murdoch University.”

To which Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen responded in a message to staff, “we agree with TEQSA’s assessment that there is still room for further improvement.”

CRICOS re-registration follows a TEQSA “compliance assessment” of Murdoch U which concluded the university met international student admissions and English proficiency requirements (CMM October 8).

TEQSA commenced the assessment in May last year following allegations on ABC TV’s Four Corners regarding academic standards among Murdoch U international students, which the university strenuously rejected.

Unis covered by new cyber security bill

The government is not done telling universities what to do

Yesterday Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton introduced a bill into the Reps to protect critical infrastructure, including in universities, from cyber sabotage. The bill gives his department authority to boss organisations about quite a bit and will add to a burden of bumf.

As the Innovative Research Universities pointed out in a submission to what was then a draft of this bill, “the major challenge is the plethora of government agencies requiring action from universities with no coherence to these requirements.” The IRU suggested the government leave unis out of the legislation, which does not seem likely with the bill now in parliament (CMM December 1).

Think government does not listen to unis? ‘Twas ever thus

The Australian newspaper reports there is a performance review of Unis Australia to ascertain why the Morrison Government does not do what it is told by the peak body. Perhaps somebody should check the files

Back in 2002 Andrew Robb (yes, that Andrew Robb- the former Liberal cabinet minister) advised what was then the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee why government did not pay attention to its calls for more funding (The Australian, May 8 2013).

And in 2009 Peter Quiddington (UNE) interviewed sector leaders – including six of nine AVCC board members.

He found;

* “vice chancellors were predominantly of the view that clearly written, well‐argued presentations and individual lobbying of ministers and departmental officers were the most productive approaches. This conflicted sharply with the views of policy actors, all of whom believed the VCs lacked essential ‘networking’ skills’.”

* “when it came to the art of negotiating with key bureaucrats and taking their case ‘to the hill’ they often displayed a lack of political acuity.”

Dr Quiddington concluded; “the structural weakness of the VCs’ group may inhibit its effectiveness. This has meant that the voices representing the more powerful institutions, the Group of Eight and Innovative Research Universities, dominate while fundamental change towards wider collaboration and engagement across the sector is resisted. The predisposition of the VCs is to retain the tactics they know rather than venturing into a new world of ‘networks’ and ‘ad hoc coalitions’.”

“The lobby group has some way to go before it casts off entirely the vestiges of its former privileged status and shows some readiness to occasionally get down into the muddy trenches with the rest of the troops and engage in the kind of political battle that is now the order of the day.”

Was then, is now.

* Peter Quiddington, “The new politics of Australian higher education: why universities get rumbled in the budget” Higher Education Research and Development, 29, (4) June 2010

La Trobe U gets its casual staff pay ducks in a row

Emma Hardy from HR is keen people know management wants them to be paid the right rate

“While La Trobe U has not been made aware of systemic underpayment issues relating to our staff, it goes without saying that it is important that we pay our casual staff fairly and correctly,” the acting ED tells the university community.

Given Ms Hardy says what she said does not need saying shows Lt U is serious. So does putting measures in place to help casuals who, suspect they have been underpaid or “have concerns” with their payment.

Ms Hardy asks casuals to provide pay details so that a case manager can be assigned, “as your main point of contact.”

“We will keep this process open until the end of January to allow us to understand where issues may be occurring.”

She also assures casuals LT U “will objectively review claims and will rectify any errors that are found.”

Very wise – if it turned out there was a hitherto entirely unknown problem with casuals pay LT U would be ready to fix it.


Appointments, achievements

Norman Do (Monash U) wins the Australian Mathematical Society’s 2020 teaching excellence award.

 Leisa McGuiness (GM, IT faculty) leaves Monash U after 26 years to become executive manager of CSIRO’s Data61.

Kathryn North (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) is president-elect of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes. She has until November to get used to the idea, when Jonathan Carapetis will step down.

Engineering academic and research governance expert Mary O’Kane is awarded the Royal Society of NSW Medal for 2020.

Belinda Tynan is to join Australian Catholic University as provost. She will move from RMIT, where she is DVC E.


Charles Sturt U 2020 Excellence Awards

Regional communities:  * School of Animal and Veterinary Science team * Leadership in healthy ageing team * Port Macquarie bushfire team * Wiradyuri elders-in-Rresidence team

Successful graduates: * Learning and Teaching on-line exams team * Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme Retention team *  Workplace Learning team * Lachlan Kalache (learning tech lead) * Social Work residential school team

Strong university:  Brand transformation project team * Critical incident management team * Customer relationship management project team * Division of Information Technology team * Michael Kemp (maths and stats) * COVID-19 on-line teaching team

Uni Adelaide Outstanding Achievement Awards for 2020

Research, academic:  Peng Shi (Electrical and Electronic Engineering),

Research, professional staff: Elodie Janvier (Photonics and Advanced Sensing)

Research, early careerJiawen Li (Health and Medical Sciences)

Research, team: the ten-member Australian Collaborative Cerebral Palsy Research Team

Student experience: David Purdie,  Student Services (Roseworthy campus)

Student experience: Lyndsey Collins-Praino (Health and Medical Sciences)

Leadership:  Rachel Gibson (Health & Medical Sciences)

Service innovation: the 19-member Year 11 Results Alternative Entry Pathway Team

Safety innovation:  the five-member Technical Services & Infrastructure Team (Computer and Math Sciences)

Community: Jill Bauer (Ag, Food and Wine)

Inclusive culture: the 11-member embedding Indigenous knowledges team (Law School)

Connected communityVenkatesan Thiruvenkatarajan (Health and Medical Sciences)