It’s a living language

The Australian National Dictionary Centre is asking for terms “related to the pandemic”

It provides an example; “practique” – which NSW Health used in relation to the Ruby Princess cruise ship. According to the OED it means, “permission granted to a ship to use a port after quarantine.”

CMM came across “quazza,” for quarantine, as in, “the dills who let the Ruby Princess untested passengers disembark should be quazzaed”.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Amanda White (UTS) explains why COVID-19 is a perfect storm for contract-cheating and what can be done about it.

Cathy Stone (Uni Newcastle) and Nicole Crawford (Curtin U and U Tas), on thinking about the students: three essentials to engage students on-line.

Tim Winkler (Twig Marketing) explains why it’s time to get cracking on 2021 student recruitment.

Swinburne U announces new VC

Pascale Quester moves from Uni Adelaide

The move will end her near 20-year career on North Terrace. Professor Quester joined Uni Adelaide as a marketing lecturer in 1991, becoming the first professor in the discipline in 2002. She became executive dean of the Faculty of Professions in 2007 and DVC A in 2011. As DVC she served three vice chancellors, James McWha, and two reformers, with different approaches, Warren Bebbington and now, Peter Rathjen for whom she led a full-scale curriculum review (CMM July 13 2018).

Professor Quester is admired at Uni Adelaide for a firm approach, apparent in the long, and at times tense, round six enterprise bargaining negotiations, which she led for management. ““I would urge the National Tertiary Education Union to see the process as one where both parties try to converge on a shared position, rather than one where one party unilaterally alters their demands further away from their previous request,” she said at one stage, (CMM July 3 2014).

And she is well-regarded for forthright policy views, as in 2016, when she explained that the community focus on HE did not meet the needs of young people who did not want to do degrees. “With every cohort of young people who are pushed by their parents or by society at large in the wrong direction, it is individuals who will experience neither fulfilment or satisfaction but instead carry with them – for the rest of their lives – the stigma of a failure they did not need to have, and the weight of a debt they should never have faced,” (CMM October 12 2016).

Professor Quester will replace Linda Kristjanson as Swinburne U VC in August.

Shut and open case at Uni Melbourne

The university is “accelerating” transition to a virtual campus, except for the staff who still have to turn up physically

The university has “paused” all teaching, learning, assessment and examinations. Students are asked not to attend as of midnight. Classes start on-line Monday. And staff are asked to work from home, starting today.

However, Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell tells the Uni Melbourne community, “we are moving to a new way of operating, we are not closing the university.”  Essential services supporting online teaching, research, business functions, essential buildings, grounds maintenance, IT and security services will be “maintained”. And, “in line with the state government’s advice, childcare services are an essential service and will continue to operate.”

ARC sticks to its schedule

People with research applications imminent are asking if the Australian Research Council could stretch deadlines, it won’t

Researchers, like everybody else, have a bunch of unexpected issues to address just now and there are calls for the ARC to be flexible on due dates. Applications for Linkage Infrastructure Equipment Facilities is one programme mentioned.

But the ARC isn’t for changing.

“For those of you seeking funding, we are using our usual processes for application submission and peer review to assess your application. There is an existing process where researchers can seek, through their university, short extensions to application submission deadlines because of exceptional circumstances. At this stage we are not moving to longer or blanket extensions because of the cumulative impact this will have on the necessary peer review processes and being able to commence funding in the future,” chair Sue Thomas told the research community yesterday.

However, there is assistance for researchers with existing grants, with extensions on reporting dates.

La Trobe U support for students

The university announces an assistance package

“We understand that many of you are now facing financial hardship and we are committed to doing everything we can to help,” VC John Dewar says.  LT U is;

* moving census date to April 15, “to give students additional time to make changes to their enrolment”

* waiving first semester’s Student Services and Amenities Fee

* offering “a technology bursary” for students not on-line at home

* establishing “support scholarships” for students in financial crisis and housing insecurity

Private providers call for life-support

Private providers have a wish list to “ensure the survival of private HE”

Independent Higher Education Australia calls for federal government support, including;

* a two-year moratorium on the FEE HELP loan charge NUHEP (but not public universities) students pay

* FEE HELP for single subjects, “for learners to re-skill and up-skill

* a structural adjustment fund for providers to take courses on-line

* stimulus support and low/no interest loans to ensure providers survive and their students succeed.

Uni Canberra takes courses on-line and commits to staff crisis leave

Teaching is on campus all this week – but that’s it

“Faculty staff have been working tirelessly to ensure that personal distancing measures are being implemented,” acting VC Belinda Robinson says.  Classes are already being taught on-line and there will be a full rollout, where possible at the end of mid-semester break, on April 14.

In a much-anticipated decision on COVID-19 leave Ms Robinson announced, “any staff directly affected by COVID-19 will have access to up to ten days (pro rata) paid miscellaneous leave.”


What’s next for VIC VET

The Macklin Review of skills has a  consultation paper but a bunch of issues look decided already

The Victorian government commissioned Jenny Macklin last year to review the state’s post-secondary system (CMM November 4) and is now asking stakeholders, students, employers, providers for advice. It seems she has a fair idea of the policy foundations the review will recommend.

“I hope this review will be the opportunity to build a VET system focussed on quality, excellence and innovation, rather than a market in which too many providers are focused on profit over outcomes.  This starts with re-establishing Victoria’s TAFEs as leaders in a VET system that can compete with the world’s best,” she writes. The context for submissions includes;

System excellence and equity:  Ms Macklin point to open market, unchecked student loans and cuts to TAFE funding, “the legacy of these disasters still clouds the sector, and public trust in VET remains low.” However, the demand driven system in HE “resulted in a portion of students incurring high debts for low-quality qualifications completed at university, which could have been competed for lower cost at VET.

National policy stability: “This review will assist the Victorian Government to assume a lead role in setting national policy directions.”

Accountability: “Victoria does not yet have a regulatory system for VET that can be relied on to deliver good student outcomes and value for taxpayers’ money. Regulatory processes themselves may be driving down quality, by forcing providers to focus on compliance rather than excellence.”

Governance: Existing arrangements, “encourage TAFEs to act as competitors within a mixed market, rather than as collaborators with a shared role in serving the Victorian economy and community”

Funding:  TAFE needs “sufficient funding” to meet its, “unique public role, including workforce arrangements, public asset maintenance, and public sector compliance requirements.”

Elsevier pals up with California universities

No, not the University of California. The for-profit journal giant has reached an agreement with California State U

There is a 1.5 per cent price-rise, this year and next, “a significant reduction from previous years.” For authors who want their research to be open access, article processing charges (another name for pay to publish) are waved 2020-2021.

It’s not green-open access but it is another indication of Elsevier’s new strategy of compromising with European and US universities. And it might signal a thaw on Elsevier’s deepest-freeze, at U Cal. Last year the university network and publisher ended negotiations when they could not agree on OA terms (CMM March 4 2019) but in January they agreed to start talking again (CMM January 29). U Cal says the Cal State deal, is “consonant with UC’s goals” and that “it is exciting to see California continuing to lead in the movement to advance open access.”

COVID-19 wrap-new moves by universities

Swinburne U moves to home-bases

Vice Chancellor Linda Kristjanson asks staff to work from home, as of today. Essential staff who will need to work on campus, “in the coming weeks” were told by managers yesterday. Professor Kristjanson said, “we will consider any special circumstances that we should accommodate.”

U Tas students surrender beds for virus response

VC Rufus Black has met a state government request to transfer the university’s Fountainside city apartments “for COVID-19 quarantine.” The 44 student residents in the 50 en-suite room facility are relocated to other university accommodation.

Australian Research Council moves to on-line meetings  

In-person selection advisory committees will be replaced by teleconferencing. The ARC says it has successfully stress-tested its systems.

First UWA COVID-19 case (but not on campus)

Last Wednesday a student coming home from an exchange visit flew into Perth feeling crook, got tested and went straight home to self-isolate before being confirmed.

La Trobe U accepts some students need time to learn on-line

Subject fails this semester will not appear on individual’s academic transcripts and not be included on their weighted average mark (based on the actual marks in all subjects). Prerequisites for subjects still apply.