plus, relax Greg Craven can’t control your mind

nothing casual about big ideas at Uni SA

and “I am woman humanist, hear me count”

Personal touch

Fundraisers bang on about the rare relationship-building skills their craft requires but not at the University of Queensland, where they clearly do not believe in blandishments. A learned reader points to the homepage anchor text “give now” which links to an donation form. “Counterparts in Melbourne and Canberra at least have the class to have landing pages with a few platitudes and niceties about the significance of their gift or justifications for supporting the campaign.” But not UoQ which gets straight down to business. As for relationship building there is a phone number “if you would like to discuss your gift.”

Mon July 18

Kristjanson to oversight establishment

Swinburne VC Linda Kristjanson is the new chair of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (which some bloke called Joe Biden toured yesterday). It’s an interesting move given Swinburne is not one of the very establishment partners in the centre – University of Melbourne, the Peter MacCallum centre, Walter and Eliza Hall and a bunch of research institutes. Professor Kristjanson‘s research focus is palliative care.

Fed U goes to town

Federation U has chosen to take over Monash U’s Berwick campus days after it publicly passed on Deakin U’s Warrnambool operation. Announcing the Berwick deal late Friday Fed U said it would teach 15 degree programmes at Berwick, on Melbourne’s southeast fringe next year, with Monash entirely out in 2018. Monash started signalling it would bail from Berwick a year back (CMM July 23 2015), announcing it was all over in March, after Victoria University signalled it wasn’t interested in taking over (CMM March 8).

This is the second Fed UMonash transfer with the Ballarat headquartered regional network taking over Monash Gippsland in 2014. The new move is a breakthrough for Federation, giving it access to eastern Melbourne, where population growth is stronger than in the university’s bush bases to the west and east of the city. As Monash VC Margaret Gardner put in announcing the deal; “Monash believes that adding another university offering a different range of courses with different entry requirements in Melbourne’s south-east corridor provides more choice for the local community.”

And that’s the point. Fed U took on a campus Monash could not, or would not, make work rather than one in the deep country, where Deakin has failed to attract enough undergraduates. For months Deakin VC Jane den Hollander has said that attracting more students to Warrnambool has proved too hard. Fed U is betting that it will be easier to attract students in the much bigger outer Melbourne market than to Warrnambool where the locals appear to prefer moving out to study in the big smoke.


Earning a seat at the table

ANU DVC Academic Marnie Hughes Warrington says, “I am a woman humanist, hear me count,” which readers of her blog, now a year old, already know. She writes about university funding, both the operational detail of budgets and the big picture of policy, her essay on a blockchain based market in credit transfer is fascinating. Her message is about more than money, it is about empowerment, about the way scholars from outside administration can find a place at the table where budgets are made.  “It’s easy to pop yourself in a compartmentalised box—academic, humanities, woman—and to see the non-invitations and the oversights as confirmation that you do not know enough or that you have not earned the right to be where others are.” And it is about why more people should do what she has, learn how financial systems work; “I know that university finances are a profoundly academic matter. They matter for all of us. If you understand them, you can shape them, view them through different time scales, question the assumptions that give them shape, and even, yes, appreciate their beauty,” she writes in her  anniversary essay.

Open Day of the Day

Australian Catholic University mind-controlled technology,” is on display at the Brisbane campus open day on Saturday. The very thought of VC Greg Craven controlling what we think is enough itself to make ACU’s the open day of the day. Sadly it is not as demonic as it sounds; the neuro monitor is used to show paramedics in training how they would respond in a crisis.

This is the standard brilliant branding ACU excels at, it knows what its students want and provides appropriately applied courses. The print promoting open day is pretty average – but that is because it is all on an app. ACU gets its market.

CQU in the money

CQU VC Scott Bowman starts his long service leave on a high, with the university announcing a $3m donation from the estate of alumni Paul Andersen. The capital will fund research grants. While every donation to a university is now measured against the $250m in cash and future earnings ANU has received from Graham and Louise Tuckwell $3m is a still a chunk of change.

NTEU asks for an executive order

The University of South Australia was very pleased with its second online brainstorming Unijam which generated nearly 10 000 logins and over 11 000 posts back in May. So pleased that VC David Lloyd found $2.6m to fund good ideas, with $100k available for each Uni SA school. But National Tertiary Education Union branch president David Corkindale says there is one idea that is so good that Professor Lloyd should just tell everybody to do it and that is spend the $100k “ on helping advance teaching quality through ensuring ongoing proper funding for sessional staff.”

Sessional staff need to be valued both for the significant contributions they make to the teaching quality at the university and for the depth of knowledge and experience they can and do contribute. The continuing staff need to be able to fulfil their duties within the workload guidelines required by the Enterprise Agreement rather than being expected to add to it by taking on tasks and duties previously completed by the sessional tutors,” Professor Corkindale says.

Professor Lloyd responds that it is up to schools how they spend the money. But it occurs to CMM it would take more than $100k to increase cash for casuals in one year, let alone all the unfunded ones to follow.

NUFPC 728pixels x 210pixels

Overdue library fine

Back in February ANU decided to jack up library fines to $30 a day (CMM February 19). The postgraduate association pointed out that somebody who had the maximum 40 items overdue for 24 hours would be stuck with a $1200 daily bill and asked Librarian Roxanne Missingham and VC Brian Schmidt to order more talks. They are obviously a chatty bunch at ANU because the new fines are only now announced. The standard daily rate for a regular item overdue is $6 a day.

Industrial innovation

The 20-person Innovation and Science Australia secretariat used the caretaker period to hold workshops for its 15-year national innovation plan. But this does not mean that with the thinking done the doing can commence. For a start who ISA will report to isn’t established, smart money on the weekend was on Science Minister Karen Andrews picking up the innovation responsibilities of former minister Wyatt Roy, who lost his seat. The team is also still short a CEO after the recruitment process started, stopped and has now started again. However ISA’s course seems set under chair Bill Ferris with a focus on policy work of the kind the Chief Scientist’s office undertook under Ian Chubb. In contrast ISA deputy chair and new chief scientist Alan Finkel is pursuing a broad outreach agenda. Dr Finkel has an “aspirational awardsmaths and science schools programme in development and he wants a resource portal for teachers (CMM July 4).

A major challenge for ISA is how to engage industry in the innovation process, rather than just relying on universities, which Tony Peacock, from the Cooperative Research Centres Association says are already flat out; “There is no doubt they can do better at engaging with industry, but most have lifted very significantly in that space already … they are probably leveraged about as far as possible.” Not that all of them have noticed – barely a week passes without a university announcing a new entrepreneurial initiative and vice chancellors regularly raid the bureaucracy to poach industry policy people.

The trick for NISA is to encourage less a path leading from a university’s ideas to industry application and more a mash-up where starts-up and industry, entrepreneurs and academics can muck in together. Like the University of Wollongong’s business incubator, iAccelerate, which has a flash new home, opening tomorrow. As Dr Peacock puts it, “we need to think of business as the main player it is in performing R&D and how we can encourage yet more business research to enhance national prosperity.”

It’s official

The University of Western Sydney is no more now that the Parliament of NSW has amended the university’s act to rename it Western Sydney University.


For-profit has a place

In February the Victorian Government asked if anybody was interested in re-opening western district ag college, Glenormiston. “They will not be knocked over in the rush” CMM’s this-desirable-campus correspondent predicted CMM February 15). But while it was slow for a rush, six months on there is a taker. A consortium led by Acknowledge Education will open an “educational hub,” offering Victorian Government funded courses and fee for service training, with Southwest TAFE having a “role” in “the future operation of the site”. Who would have thought, a training project led by the private sector in Victoria!

Silver jubilee swing

Uni SA’s 25th anniversary gala dinner this Friday is a sell-out and understandably so. A James Morrison 20 piece big band is playing, led by the man himself and backed by students from his jazz academy at Uni SA’s Mount Gambier campus. This is a great achievement, while Deakin cannot attract enough students at Warrnambool, across the border Mr Morrison is packing them in – for a jazz course in the country! As much as a silver jubilee the dinner is a fundraiser for student scholarships, which makes it cool for cats indeed.

Valuing VET

Gerald Burke (Monash U) has researched education finance for close to 50 years and his vast experience of how sundry systems work, or don’t, is on display in a new paper for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education and Research. Professor Burke makes the case for identifying all-source spending on VET, “where data are not available on an activity, the activity and the associated data are likely to be neglected in policy debate and in research,” and sets out the flood of funding stream involved. Sadly he is to wily a wonk to oblige with an estimate but it is clear that nobody really knows how much is being spent on voc ed across the board.

Dolt of the day

In Friday’s edition CMM stated Jane O’Dwyer’s journalism masters is from ANU, where she is comms chief. In fact it is from Uni Wollongong.