It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

The due date for submissions to the Shergold review of senior secondary pathways is December 24.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Anthony Tuckett (Uni Queensland)  marks the Schwartz nursing education review a distinction.

Plus, Amanda Henderson (CQU) on how to improve student work-placement learning, ask them. It’s a  new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Deakin U up to cyber-security degree speed

The university says it is first with an accredited cyber security specialist qualification

Cyber-security courses are accredited by the Australian Computer Society, “the recognised accrediting body for the ICT sector.”

According to ACS, “ACS accreditation is awarded to an institution and its programs after a rigorous evaluation of their capacity to produce graduates who have the knowledge and skills required of an ICT professional.” The society has a new specialist accreditation in cyber security, with requirements are  here.

ACS already accredits Deakin degrees with a minor in cyber security.

Charles Darwin U going to town

CDU and Darwin city confirm a $250m loan to build a new campus

The long-announced project is based on funding from two federal programmes for a CBD campus and library plus a civic centre.

According to VC Simon Maddocks, “with modern, competitive infrastructure” in the city the university will grow international student numbers, by 500 to 2500 in 2024 and to 5000 in 2028

The university’s hope for growth is understandable. It was in deficit last year, $21m on $258m in revenue and relied on $58 in Northern Territory Government funding for the VET division. (CMM August 20).

Southern Cross U bold and brave plan

SCU is bold and brave in its vision – bold for ambitious targets, brave, because unlike many uni plans, it includes hard numbers

The university’s new strategy is based on doubling student numbers and growing research income by 2026; “achieving a scale that is essential not only to the university’s sustainability, but also to its commitment to creating a better future through research and education.”

VC Adam Shoemaker’s plan commits to;

* doubling overall EFTS to 20 000

* a 100 per cent increase in international enrolments, to 40 per cent of total students

* 75 per cent of UGs and 86 (sic) per cent of PGs in FT employment within four months of completion

* 75 per cent retention rate for all starting UGs

* 6 per cent base operating margin (locals say the university is now running around a 1 per cent surplus, the first in some years, after losing $5m in 2017 and recording a $493 000 surplus in ‘18)

* $50m in research income from government and industry – public funding was $10m in 2017

* branding SCU in research, teaching and service as a university for subtropical Australia

* extending on pathways programmes across sectors and transitions into education for people of all ages and education levels

* integrating Indigenous knowledge and “caring for country” in courses and culture

How to pay for it: SCU observers suggest the university will need to make a case for more Commonwealth funded student places, arguing that the base for growth  from next year was set when the university was at what one calls “a low ebb”. SCU’s strategy may also appeal to Education Minister Dan Tehan, who is keen on expanding university opportunity in regions.

The university is also looking to grow on-line courses in health and business, building on its present partnership with Keypath Education, which provides product research, student recruitment and support services. It also partners with The Hotel School, in Sydney and now in Brisbane.

How long has SCU got:  Not the whole six years. Professor Shoemaker is three years into his first term and will want to get things going. “The first two years are critical,” a Southern Cross watcher says.

Micro-credentials: they will be a happening thing

The Noonan review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (CMM October 24) reports education providers recognise micro-credentials are coming but prefer if they did not arrive for a while

“Overall, there was a strong view that it was premature to include shorter form credentials, particularly micro-credentials, as qualification types in the AQF. The panel formed the view that credit recognition was the preferred way of recognising shorter form credentials,” Professor Noonan and colleagues report.

However, a survey of the 45 institutions in the Australasian Council for Open, Distance and e-Learning indicates that change will be sooner not later. In a conference paper last month, Ratna Selvaratnam, (Edith Cowan U) and Michael Sankey, (Griffith U) found most members are not ready yet but are thinking about what they need to do.

Some 73 per cent of respondents said their organisation did not have a matrix for credit-badges to be offered at specified learning-levels and 68 per cent did not use a “credentialing-engine”, Credly and the like.

However, 80 per cent reported institutions are already, or planning, to introduce micro-credential short courses, with PG programmes to come. “This is likely as short courses are low-hanging fruit that can be credentialed into an award pathway. Undergraduate courses will need to consider the student experience transitioning into higher education and may explain why institutions may be reluctant to micro-credential these courses for now,” Selvaratnam and Sankey write.

Appointments, achievements

Behavioural economist Michelle Baddeley leaves Uni SA’s Institute of Choice for UTS, where she will be associate dean for R&D in the business school.

Former Uni New England VC Annabelle Duncan is the new board chair of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship. The SCC is a collaboration of all NSW universities and the state’s TAFE.

Marilyn Renfree (Uni Melbourne) wins the Academy of Science’s “highest honour in the biological sciences,” the Macfarlane Burnet medal. Professor Renfree studies “marsupial reproduction.” In March she won the (US) US) Society for the Study of Reproduction’s Hartmann Award (CMM March 22).

University of Newcastle announces staff awards

Community engagement: Trisha Pender, (Education and Arts)

Industry engagement: Andrea Coda (Health and Medicine)

Global engagement: Elena Aydos (Business and Law)

Health, safety and wellbeing: the 13-member Sex, Safety Respect team

Staff excellence Rising star: Louis Ndagijimana (Centre of Excellence for Equity in HE)

Staff excellence individual award: Gillian Shaw (art curator)

Staff excellence team award: the eight-member SABE professional staff team

Sessional academic: Annika Herb (Education and Arts)

Teaching award: Paul Hodge (Science)

Student experience: the seven-member Student Living Support team

Early career researcher: Emma Beckett (Science)

Research supervision: Bobae Choi, Doowon Lee (Business and Law)

Leadership: Michael Robertson (Education and Arts)

Values: Veronica Pettifer (IT Services)

Equity, diversity, inclusion:  the seven-member HunterWISE team