When the funding leash is short

UNSW proposes  four categories of paid outside work for academics including, jobs with “no connection with UNSW or the work performed by the academic for UNSW (for example, a dog walking business on the weekend).” Research grants only go so far.

Snaps for the NCVER

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research turned 40 yesterday – it celebrated in its usual serious style

“To commemorate this significant milestone, we have released a snappy publication which includes a chronology of key NCVER events,” the centre stated. Very serious snaps.

The NCVER is the superior national source of VET policy explanation and your actual comprehensive oversight of what the training system actually accomplishes – its stats provide evidence that should, but not often enough is, be used to call officials and ministers to account.

Macquarie U’s got talent!

At least the marketers think so

The university is working on a brand campaign and wants students to smile for the cameras at a shoot next month. In October management also asked TikTok creators on campus for new content. A learned readers suggests there is no casting call for staff to appear in crowd shots because current and recent job-shedding restructures are making for few smiling faces.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Amani Bell on  why students like work integrated learning on-line. This week’s addition to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Garry Carnegie (RMIT) questions the way universities rate rankings They “do not have any correlation with accomplishment in effectively realising the express social purposes of a public university, particularly concerned with acting in the public interest and for the benefit of society. However, the notion of elitism and the spirit of competition, both between and within universities, appear to be dominant in our universities,” he suggests.

More to psychology than clinical

The House of Reps Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention has presented its final report

Recommendations include,

* A per centage of Commonwealth scholarship funding go to psychology specialisations other than clinical. (There was $5m for schols in the budget).

* increasing masters programmes “to improve distribution” across the nine endorsed discipline areas

* ensure at least one educational and development psych programme in every state and territory

* a review of core competencies in mental health and suicide prevention for medical students

The nine practice endorsement areas are, clinical neuropsychology, clinical community, counselling, educational and developmental, forensic, health, organisational, sport and exercise.

Another vote at Uni Queensland

The e-poll is open for the university Senate election, again

Staff, students and graduates can vote until November 15. This is the university’s second-go at the election. It pulled the first poll in October, because of “anomalies with the on-line voting platform.” CMM hears they were not of the “vote early, vote often,” kind.

Trainers ignored and aggrieved

The feds have rearranged oversight of VET courses, some of the oversighted aren’t happy

Canberra and the states/territories have replaced VET course supervision by 73 industry reference committees and skills service organisations with industry clusters, which apparently will tell the training system what skills are needed.

To which Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia responds that it would help if training providers had been involved in the creation of the clusters and “there is little guidance” on how qualifications will be changed to meet industry needs.

“The professionals working in the vocational education and training each day system have, through their lived experience in delivering quality training, identified the opportunities to improve both the qualifications development process and the content of the qualifications themselves,” ITECA suggests.

Overdue on ANU

Learned readers lament the Australian National Audit Office’s governance review of ANU is late

The ANAO promised it for October but alas, that did not happen. Federal parliament still has two sitting weeks, at the end of the month, so unless the ANAO is running really late, or there is a press of parliamentary business, the audit should be tabled yet.


Uni Wollongong draws on Indigenous learning


At a time when many of us in the tertiary education sector are thinking about cutting-edge new technologies in teaching and learning – the University of Wollongong’s  Jindaola Programme does the opposite

It draws on tens of thousands of years of learning and teaches educators about Aboriginal perspectives and knowledges and how they can be incorporated into curriculum right across the university.

As Jade Kennedy, Academic Director and senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges, explained to me, one of the reasons for Jindaola’s success is it does not start from a deficit view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It does not try to assimilate Indigenous people into the university.

Jindaola draws on the knowledge-based economy that underpinned Aboriginal culture before contact.

Inspired in part by a push from Universities Australia for more Indigenous content in university curriculum, Jade and his team worked with elders in the local community to create Jindaola.

The programme takes academics on a journey to understand the knowledge of local elders, to think about how this knowledge can change both what they teach and how they teach, to co-create content, and to learn to sit “uncomfortably comfortable”.

Jindaola values Indigenous knowledge and creates a welcoming space for Aboriginal students at the university. It has also proven to be highly beneficial to non-Indigenous students.

As Jade explained, “you’ve got non Aboriginal people, creating safe spaces for Aboriginal people to speak authentically about their lived experiences and the knowledges they learned, growing up in this history and this complexity. Just being validated, being respected for the ways in which they understand the world and finding a contribution that they can make to the learning of each other, this is a beautiful thing to witness.”

The University of Wollongong deserves real credit for encouraging this initiative. And while Jindaola is located in ancient knowledges – it has proven highly resilient to an on-line shift during COVID as well.

Claire Field speaks with Jade Kennedy on the latest episode of the ‘What now? What Next?’ podcast. Listen online or in your favourite podcast feed


Appointments, achievements

Jacquie Bowden is to join Flinders U as director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction. She moves from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Erik Lithander starts at Uni Auckland as DVC Strategic Engagement, moving from Uni Bristol. “What, the Erik Lithander who was PVC International at ANU in the time of Ian “the gent” Young?” you ask. That’s the one.

At Australian Catholic U, Phil Parker is appointed dean for Graduate Research. He steps up from deputy director of the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education.