Keeping sangers safe

Uni Sydney urges students in campus classes to maintain a social-distance of “two-ibises.” Especially if you are adjacent to anything that to a bin chicken looks like lunch.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Garry Carnegie (RMIT) and James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on where the casuals are and the universities that rely on international student income @

Lynette Vernon (Curtin and Edith Cowan universities) on why STEM will go nowhere without more maths in senior schools. Another case-made in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) recommends celebrating the small achievements in lab-life.

Judyth Sachs on the  lessons learned when Studiosity and partner universities took their annual “students first” symposium on-line.

Uni Queensland says English-teaching jobs must go

It’s a tough outcome in any language

In his last week as Uni Queensland VC Peter Høj reported discussions were underway with staff and union to cut jobs in the English-teaching institute, with income and enrolments down 70 per cent (CMM July 28).

Casual teachers are largely gone, but the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education estimated last month salaries would exceed income for the balance of the year. It expects to lose $7m this year, down from a $6.3m surplus last. And it expects enrolments for first quarter next to be down 70 per cent on this.

Management proposes to retrench 46 of 87 positions.

Which, staff respond, is “short-sighted and extreme.” Other savings measures, including taking leave and working part-time are not exhausted, their paper states. And a focus on China, ignores other markets. “Through adaptability, ingenuity and vision, ICTE has a huge capacity for growth, even under trying circumstances.”

“However, challenging the next 12-24 months may be, it would be extremely short-sighted of the university to divest itself of staff and programmes with the potential to capitalise on the re-emergence of the industry post-COVID.”

Consultation continues.

Scott Bowman’s back

Yes, that Scott Bowman, the bloke who used to run CQU

Professor Bowman is joining Western Sydney U as Senior Deputy VC, to serve until March.  He starts Monday and will first work with existing senior DVC Denise Kirkpatrick, who leaves end September.

Bowman retired from CQU in February 2019, having told its community he wanted to travel, “experiencing what life has to offer,” (CMM March 9 2018).

A uni hospital for Cairns – stat!

The feds are on and James Cook U has a plan, but there’s a delay

In the lead-up to last year’s election campaign, the coalition and Labor both promised funding that would help elevate Cairns Hospital, to university status.

They committed to pay for a site, adjacent to the city’s existing hospital to house James Cook U’s clinical school and research (CMM January 22 2019).  This would make Cairns’ a level six hospital, defined as having a, “strong university affiliations and major teaching and research commitments in both local and multi-centre research.”

But nothing appears to have happened and the local Cairns Post is cross – blaming the state government for not committing a separate $165m to the project. Perhaps Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is waiting until closer to the state election, on October 31.

Tech uni lobby puts the real in politick

The Australian Technology Network works with what it expects to get

Last week the Australian Technology Network slammed a substantial slice of the government’s bill for funding undergraduate teaching – disliking the proposed oversight of university enrolment practices. (CMM August 18).

But they are impressive pragmatists at the ATN. Now its revised budget submission accepts that the Job-ready Graduates package, “provides additional places for students and now we need to support our research and translation efforts.”

“For universities, the crisis and recovery mean several years of restructuring and reshaping our teaching, learning and research. As public institutions, it also means providing just and meaningful pathways (combining education and work) for Australians affected by the economic crisis and shifting industrial landscape, applying our research expertise and infrastructure to solving Australia’s wicked problems.”

ATN’s-asks appear pitched to appeal to the government’s utilitarian approach to funding universities. They include;

* “linear pathways of study and work will need to be replaced with ongoing and flexible engagement that takes into account the working lives of students and which could reasonably lead to the establishment of a skills account for everyday Australians”

* “Australia’s recovery will depend on workers having access to quality short courses and stackable credentials to up-skill or re-skill in a relatively small timeframe.”

* using the Research and Development Tax Incentive to encourage industry to employ PhD graduates

* revenue-contingent loans and vouchers for R&D, and;

* a research translation fund and support for early and mid-career researchers whose work is stalled by COVID-19

Science deans warn: teaching bill risks research

The Australian Council of Deans of Science warns he proposed reduction in funding per student assumes teaching and research are separate.

Not so, the deans warn – high quality teaching is informed by research and income from students covers the up to 70 per cent of research support costs not covered by grants.

With international student income diminished, “the most significant consequence” of the reduced funding rate for student place, “is a crippling loss in research capacity.”

The deans acknowledge the government is looking at a new funding model for research, “but it makes no sense to tear down existing mechanisms for funding research before new ones are put in place.”

They urge the government to delay the bill until a Senate committee considers its impact on STEM teaching and research. Perhaps they should also find a friend in the National Party.

The price isn’t right

“Want to be the next Elon Musk? … Study engineering under the Government’s proposed Job-ready Graduates Package & your student contributions will be reduced by 21 per cent” the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, tweets.

A learned reader points out Mr Musk’s ventures have picked-up a bucket of US Government subsidies over time, which would make tax-law a good choice for aspiring elons – except that law and finance degrees will cost students 20 per cent more.

U in Victoria U: it’s for utopia

There’s a City Deal for Melbourne’s west and Victoria U is pleased to be part of it

It’s part of a Canberra programme for local, state and national government to, “work towards a shared vision for productive and liveable cities.”  Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins tells staff the deal for Melbourne’s west includes four precincts, 50 enabling projects and 16 transformative projects – including developments on four VU campuses.

Unless, a learned reader suggests, someone gave the VC a speech meant for Tony Woodford from the Nation Building Authority.


Mel Dodd will become Monash U’s head of the Department of Architecture in January, replacing Naomi Stead. Professor Dodd joins from Central Saint Martins in London.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM who transposed Swinburne U appointments yesterday in the email edition. Matthew Bailes moves to head the Data Science Research Institute.  Sally McArthur takes over at Manufacturing Futures Research Institute.

And James Shine from Uni Sydney was wrongly reported as being at UNSW.