Angel Calderon (critically) reviews big-name rankings
The positives and potential of digital education
Pros and cons for on-line learning partnerships
Vampires and blood banks
Vampires and blood banks
James Cook U’s Richard Lane has examined 50 years of corporate collapses to find the same-old, same-old, same-old occurring. The causes are various forms of mismanagement when they aren’t fraud, due to “ineffective policing.”
“Rules are in place, they are just not totally enforced at the investigative level and not always at the judicial level, where the penalties do not necessarily fit the crime.”
Dr Lane argues against suggestions following the banking royal commission for the feds to sack regulator ASIC and start again. “A more critical investigative approach by ASIC, the imposition of the existing penalties by the courts, plus additional funding by the federal government, would be preferable.”
Quite right. Vampires are always going to break into blood banks – regulators just have use the regulatory garlic and statutory stakes.
ANU’s new admission system
ANU’s new admission system is live. Announced last May by then DVC A Marnie Hughes Warrington, it adds co-curricular service to academic achievements as entry requirements and prioritises admissions from regional, Indigenous and low SES students (CMM May 30 2018). The platform handles scholarship and campus accommodation applications. It’s “underpinned” by the NSW Universities Admission Centre’s “bespoke business solution” UAC Connect, which “provides full coverage of the admissions process from application to offer generation.
Union case against proposed campus free speech code
While the French Review of university free speech has been with Education Minister Dan Tehan for weeks there is no sign of the draft model code it includes being released. So, good on the National Tertiary Education Union for putting the issue back on the agenda by releasing its response.
“The NTEU shares your views that there is no evidence of a crisis of free speech at Australian universities and that the institutional autonomy of our universities must be at the centre of any discussion around academic freedom or free speech,” national president Alison Barnes writes Justice Robert French.
The union suggests wording in the existing Higher Education Support Act, “unnecessarily conflates” academic freedom and freedom of speech which creates confusion in university rules and policies. However, the NTEU rejects any idea that “free speech” should be addressed in either the act or by individual institutions, suggesting to Mr French;
“As you highlight in your draft code, university students and staff are entitled to enjoy the same free speech rights as other Australians. Therefore, we believe that any attempts to codify free speech in university policy is not only unnecessary, but will in all likelihood only act to further constrain such rights on university campuses. The issue of free speech should remain within the realm of civic society.”
However, the union argues that the words “academic freedom” should be included in HESA, to protect staff from university employers, which want the issue covered in policies, that are not part of enforceable employment conditions.
And the NTEU warns the reach of a model code will inevitably extend, even if not intended to have statutory force. “If and when such a code is published, the temptation will be to mandate it either in legislation or in Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency standards.”
“Codifying, even by way of principle, an enigmatic concept like academic freedom by definition constrains its application. The unintended consequence of any such codification, especially in its current form, we fear will be to limit rather than liberate academic freedom and free speech.”
The union also proposes organisers of any campus event involving visitors be responsible for security costs and that staff should not be precluded from including course content, “on the grounds that it may offend or shock any student(s).”
It never rains …
ANU is replacing books lost when the J B Chifley Library was hit by floodwater a year back. Over 1000 donated books are already in and the gifts keep coming. So, does the water. Chifley had to close at the start of February when the roof leaked in a storm and a week later when burst pipes made tiled floors too slippery. The university’s Menzies Library also had storm-water damage, as did the ANU archive.
Indonesian trade deal signed
The free trade deal with Indonesia is finally done, which opens up a huge long-term market for education and training providers. That’s long as in long-long-term with no apparent immediate prospects.
The deal allows majority Australian ownership, “for supplying certain technical and vocational training,” but as for higher education, the agreement, “automatically locks in future liberalisation for Australian universities setting up in Indonesia – Indonesia intends to open its higher education sector further in the future.” This might be harder than it looks, as Indonesian providers are not keen on off-shore competition,
Still, it’s a start, and welcomed by the Group of Eight, which has pushed for bi-lateral education access. “This will pave the way for talented Indonesian students to access high-quality Australian education,” Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson said yesterday.
Next steps, the Eight suggest include; revisions to the accreditation framework to cover on-line study and streamlining visas.
Uni Adelaide plan to be heart of its city
The University of Adelaide executive is not mucking around, away from campus today planning implementation of the new strategic plan, announced Monday.
The plan proposes putting the university at the heart of its city, physically by literally opening the gates to all interested and intellectually by developing research and teaching that are a foundation for the state’s economic and social growth. Change goals include:
* “an expanded cohort of students from overseas, more representative of the world’s cultures”
* more diverse staff and students, “in terms of demography, culture and background”
* “a major boost” in research income and “enhanced partnerships with key industry sectors”
* an “increased cohort” studying on-line and “a significant expansion” in the proportion of students in short-courses.
The new plan does not involve substantial structural change however Uni Adelaide will create three “virtual colleges,” of technology, society and sustainability, to connect research and teaching across existing faculties and institutes.
Vice Chancellor Peter Rathjen says the plan, “challenges our university to realise its potential for the state and to claim our place as the truly global 21st century university for South Australia.
All three public universities in SA now have major change underway. At Flinders U, a comprehensive restructure of academic and administrative functions, involving significant staff changes is nearly complete. Last month the University of South Australia announced a reorganisation of academic operating units to collect around teaching programmes and research instead of scholarly disciplines.
UNSW announces inaugural provost
Anne Simmons is the inaugural UNSW provost, with Vice Chancellor Ian Jacobs announcing her appointment to staff late yesterday.
Professor Simmons moves up from PVC Academic Excellence, a role she was appointed to a year back. She will now report direct to Professor Jacobs, with responsibility for faculties and the university’s “service management team”.
A 20-year UNSW veteran, she is a biomedical researcher and has led two schools in its engineering faculty. Professor Simmons has worked on academic aspects of the VC’s 2025 Plan since 2016, including the university’s not universally applauded new research performance metrics (CMM January 16).
Steve Bracks will become chancellor of Victoria University in 2021, joining another some-time Victorian Labor premier, John Brumby, who starts this month as chancellor of La Trobe U. VU chancellor George Pappas will step down at the end of the year and until Mr Bracks arrives deputy chancellors Wayne Kayler-Thomson and Gaye Hamilton will jointly act.
ANU’s Simon Williams is awarded the Peter Goldacre award for original research by the Australian Society of Plant Scientists.