Still not now for international students 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on calls for international students to have a share of quarantine places, “we simply cannot do that because the priority is to get Australians home,” media conference, yesterday.

But maybe later. Education Minister Dan Tehan says state and territory plans for international student quarantine are due next week (CMM November 25). Commonwealth protocols and pre-conditions for arrivals plans are here.

There’s more in the Mail

New in Features this morning

Merlin Crossley moves beyond zero-tolerance grammar policing which makes people feel excluded. A focus on intent and meaning in students’ work is what matters.


Tim Winkler on what prospective students want to study in ’21. Got a joint degree in policing and health?

Chris Campbell (Griffith U), Kathryn Coleman (Uni Melbourne) and Melissa Cain (Australian Catholic U) wondered how teaches are coping with teaching on-line in the pandemic. So, they asked them. The news is good. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

In TEQSA we should trust

HE standards don’t change without expert oversight says Minister Tehan

In October, the Senate’s Scrutiny of Bills Committee had questions about the government’s plan for provider category standards.

In particular, the Committee wanted to know why assessment of providers’ research is in the delegated legislation (CMM October 26).

Education Minister Dan Tehan explained all in a letter to the committee; the research requirement should be with the other threshold standards which will be in the legislative instrument, rather than the proposed Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Act. “Moving this threshold into the TEQSA Act would reduce the sector’s ‘ownership’ and capacity to influence should it be the subject of future reconsideration,” the minister advised. (Scrutiny Digest, 16/20 p50).

Nor is there need for the proposed Act to include “high-level guidance” on the content of the threshold standards and research requirement because they can’t be changed, “without significant scrutiny by higher education stakeholders, the expert advice of the Higher Education Standards Panel and TEQSA, input from state and territory governments and finally the opportunity for parliamentary review,” Mr Tehan wrote.

“Precedence and consensus play a very significant role in guiding the evolution or replacement of content within the Threshold Standards, to the point that any guidance overlayed by provisions of the TEQSA Act could be seen as stifling the opportunity for reform and innovation.”

The committee is not convinced and “draws its scrutiny concerns to the attention of senators.”

“The minister’s advice that a long period of consultation has been undertaken in relation to reviews of the standards shows the significant nature of the standards and their impact on the sector, thus making them more appropriate for the full scope of parliamentary scrutiny via their inclusion in primary legislation.”

No news for UTS journalism

Nothing is decided on the review of the j-programme

A review of the journalism programme at UTS found it has “well-established tradition of educating journalists.” Which sounds very good indeed. But review head Oscar Westlund also found research by programme staff, “lacks international impact or thematic focus,” which apparently is bad.

Professor Westlund and colleagues proposed changes to address this, (CMM November 25) not all of which are universally endorsed by UTSers.

Critics can relax, at least for now. UTS management tells CMM, “the faculty and school will now progress with considering the recommendations. No actions or timeline are decided at this point.”

Labour history lessons for uni activists

Perhaps industrial action could start on the lecture-theatre floor

There are university activists at campuses across the country who are unhappy with the way National Tertiary Education Union leaders have responded to job losses managements attribute to COVID-19.  Some call for direct industrial action.

Problem is the union is governed by the Fair Work industrial system, which discourages industrial action as a routine tactic. But activists suggest a grass-roots national university strike is possible.

“With careful preparation over time, we think we can overcome the constraints of existing industrial relations legislation and make strike action possible again outside the limits of enterprise agreement negotiations,” Uni Sydney academic Nick Riemer says (CMM August 24).

IR experts suggest university staff acting independent of the NTEU organisation could decline extra work, arguing managements were breaching, for example, health and safety conditions in enterprise agreements.

People in the  NTEU Fightback Group is looking to labour history for ways to organise from the lecture-theatre floor – in particular to a rank and file campaign by federal public servants in the late 1980s.

There are said to be half a dozen or so universities where a core of activists could be up for such a strategy.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM which ran a yesterday story about publisher Springer’s plans for open access fees for prestige journals. In the body copy a reference to a different publisher, Elsevier, which has nothing to do with the story, was inadvertently included. How did this happen you ask? Stupidity CMM replies.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Annette Erlangsen (ANU) is elected general secretary of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Jo Robinson (Orygen and Uni Melbourne) becomes second VP.

 Of the week

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia announces the four winners of the Paul Bourke Award for early career researchers, Kari Lancaster (UNSW), evidence-based policy on drugs and infectious disease. Sarah Walker (UNSW); development economist. Dylan Lino (Uni Queensland) Indigenous constitutional recognition. Michelle Tye (Black Dog Institute) suicide prevention.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science announces 2020 Fellows, including Australia-based researchers, Rachel Ankeny (Uni Adelaide), Suresh K. Bhargava (RMIT), TJ Higgins (CSIRO) and Toby Walsh (UNSW/CSIRO).

Andrej Atrens (Uni Queensland) receives the lifetime achievement award at the International Conference on Magnesium.

The Australian Academy of the Humanities 2020 fellows are here.

The Australian Space Awards are here.

Ceri Brenner joins ANSTO, to lead the Centre for Accelerator Science. She moves from the UK Central Laser Facility.

Liz Burd will join Griffith U in February as DVC E. She will move from PVC Learning and Teaching at Uni Newcastle.

The Council of Pharmacy Schools of ANZ has new office bearers, Debra Rowett (Uni SA) is president, Andrew McLachlan is VP and Mark Naunton (Uni Canberra) is treasure

Katie Ellis (Centre for Culture and Technology) wins the Curtin U research award for business, community, society service. She also wins the university’s John de Later Award for research leadership.

Come April Terry Flew will leave QUT to become professor of digital communication at Uni Sydney.

Lesley Head (Uni Melbourne) is elected president of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Doug Hilton from WEHI (formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) is named Melbournian of the year.

In January Patrick Keyzer becomes dean of law at Australian Catholic University. He moves from La Trobe U.

Mark Hutchinson Uni Adelaide) is named Science and Technology Australia’s president-elect, to take over next November. Other new members of STA’s executive are, Jas Chambers (Bureau of Meteorology as secretary, Sharath Sriram (RMIT) and Chloe Taylor (Western Sydney U).

The UNSW VC’s teaching awards are here.

At Uni QueenslandKaren Moritz will move in January from Director of the Child Health Research Centre to Associate Dean R of the medicine faculty. She will replace Elizabeth Eakin who has already switched to head of the university’s School of Public Health.

Victoria U VC’s awards are here.

The Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation 2020 awards are here.

Academy of Technology and Engineering 2020 Fellows

The academy honours, “leading Australian innovators”

 ACT: Elanor Huntington (ANU). Steve Jefferies (ex Grains Research & Development Corp).

NSW: Trevor Danos (Northern Sydney Local Health District). Renate Egan (UNSW). Stuart Khan (UNSW). Sarah Pearce (CSIRO). Simon Ringer (Uni Sydney). Cordelia Selomulya (UNSW). Daichao Sheng (UTS). Mark Stewart (Uni Newcastle). Hala Zreiqat (Uni Sydney). Willy Zwaenepoel (Uni Sydney).

Victoria: Richard Bolt (Swinburne). Sally Gras (Uni Melbourne). Robert Klupacs (Bionics Institute). Gordon Naylor (retired president, vaccine maker Seqiris)

SA: Andre Luiten (Uni Adelaide). Anton van den Hengel (Uni Adelaide).

WA:  Liang Cheng (UWA). Kingsley Dixon (Curtin U). Vanessa Torres FTSE (mining company South32).

Queensland: Vicki Chen (Uni Queensland). Alice Clark (Uni Queensland). Darren Martin (Uni Queensland). Shazia Sadiq (Uni Queensland).