Plus praised with fierce damns and how to sell red to reds

Unmatched bookends

The Prime Minister will launch Christopher Pyne’s book, A letter to my children, today week. CMM wonders how the education minister found the time to write it, but then again he did not have much choice. His Labor shadow Kim Carr is  already out there, the author of A letter to Generation Next (2013).

ANU June 4

Cash flow

Universities are upset as they ponder the implications of budget reductions in funding per Commonwealth Supported Place for undergraduate education, (CMM broke the story on Monday). The government included the cuts on the assumption that the Senate will pass Education Minister Chris Pyne’s deregulation package and leave universities to repair the loss, and then some, by charging students their own additional fees. This is the same as last year, when the budget included Labor minister Craig Emerson’s higher education efficiency dividend. But because the Senate did not pass the legislation delivering it the government was always going to have to give universities the money involved. CMM hears this will happen in the next week or so and that universities are advised that the cash is coming. And this is what will happen if (just now, more likely, when) Mr Pyne’s deregulation legislation does not pass in the 2015-16 budget year. Granted universities will have to carry the cut for anything up to 12 months, which will reduce cash flows, but ultimately they will get their money. “What the government would like to do and what the law allows is not the same thing. If the government tried not to pay all the CSP funding as legislated university groups would sue and win,” one student of university finances said yesterday. There is also a very good political reason why Minister Pyne would not try this on. A cut of up to 20 per cent in funding per student place, even for a year, would send some universities broke and guess who would be blamed.

Last night a spokesman for Mr Pyne told CMM, “there will be no reduction that has not been legislated. The 2016 payments will be based on the rates in whichever act prevails at the start of 2016. The government is discussing the practical aspects of reform implementation with providers including whether there will be time to implement the changes in 2016 due to the delays in the Senate.”

The east is (bottled) red

CMM is a big fan of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia, which researches on the basis that advertising is a science not a long lunch and applies objective laws of marketing to problems. Like how to sell wine in China. The Institute’s Dr Armando Corsi, Dr Justin Cohen and Prof Larry Lockshin are working on a lexicon of wine descriptors that are meaningful to Chinese consumers. As they point out, there is no point in tasting notes that bang on about blueberry notes if people have no clue how a blueberry tastes. But why stop there, why not brand wine with China-specific statements, like President Xi Jinping’s latest zinger? “Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation chardonnay” will sell by the super-tanker.

Mindhive 1

Zombie legislation

Think the deregulation debate is all over? Think again. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, on AM yesterday, described the Pyne higher education package as “top priority, to ensure that our university sector can be globally competitive, to ensure that students across Australia can have access to the best possible university education anywhere in the world and we will continue to work through these issues in an orderly and methodical fashion.” Good-oh, but with a seemingly solid Senate majority against change it’s hard to see it happening. Mr Pyne is keen on Game of Thrones references, but as parliament rises for the winter recess surely The Walking Dead is more relevant to the legislation.

Swinburne listens

Swinburne is rebuilding its brand, not rebranding, rebuilding. The university has a plan to simplify course structures to suit students, make it easy for them to understand what is actually offered and increase for-credit Work Integrated Learning options, which are what its market wants, (CMM, June 22). The brand build comes out of internal research with 120 staff and students. There is new creative in the works presenting the university, with a cinema advert imminent. CMM is looking forward to seeing it, capturing the complex core of a university education is not easy, which is why universities so often retreat into generic aphorisms (seen UWA‘s “pursue impossible”? ) But Swinburne’s new creative has a solid basis, getting the product right and then advertising it is the way to do it.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM. Yesterday’s report of the Thomson Reuters top cited scholars by institution did not include the University of Adelaide, which is in equal second place with Monash and UofQ – all have five academics on the list. The University of Melbourne leads with 13.

CEF June 15 2

Praised with fierce damns

Training Minister Simon Birmingham’s ban on voced colleges slugging students with fees for withdrawing from courses they were conned into, before enrolments are locked in, (CMM yesterday) was well received yesterday. “Change of mind protection without penalty is offered to consumers in most other industries and education in particular should be on par,” said Paul Wappett, CEO of Open Universities Australia. Rod Camm from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, agreed. “The move should further help to ensure vulnerable students are protected and that students are recruited into courses that suit their abilities.”

Even the National Tertiary Education Union acknowledged that, “these changes will assist in preventing even more Australian students being ripped offed by private, for-profit, VET providers.” But never missing a chance to slam for-profit education President Jeannie Rea added; “as these new regulations clearly demonstrate, deregulation as has occurred in VET, brings dodgy providers out of the woodwork to detriment of students and taxpayers.”

CSU miracle ingredient

Half the hacks in what are left of Sydney newsrooms studied journalism at Charles Sturt University and it’s advertising and marketing comms programmes have big reps. Last November a CSU team won the International Advertising Association student competition to create a campaign (for Legacy) for the sixth straight year (CMM November 7). And now 2010 marketing graduate Chris Colter is co-winner of the Young Lions Media Gold award at the Cannes advertising conference. So what’s the miracle ingredient in CSU courses. Academic Anne Llewellyn, who worked with all the award winners might know the formula.