plus what works in uni advertising 

and take the next (money) train to Parkville

Ever polite

“Latest student experience survey national report confirms 80 per cent of students satisfied with their uni education,” Universities Australia finds something nice to say about all its members in the inherently competitive QILT ranking.

Friday banner

Brand building

All week universities have promoted their QILT scores, just not the institutions used to ruling the ratings. Universities like Federation U, which matches the University of Melbourne on just about all student outcomes, except for the ones where it leads. Like “overall quality of education experience” and “teaching quality” and “student support” where it is way ahead. UoM leads, just, on overall satisfaction but on the crucial (at least to kids) full-time employment after graduation rating, Fed U is first. The bush network even leads on median salaries. It’s much the same in WA where Edith Cowan U is ahead of the University of Western Australia on nearly every measure. Yes, UWA leads on full-time employment and median salary, but not by much.

No, this data is not definitive, yes Group of Eight students will likely have higher expectations, of course the Eight do much more than teach, but QILT compares what students think and that it shows prestige brands do not have it all over the alleged also rans. Fed U and Edith Cowan run recruitment campaigns that feature students talking about what they want to do and how the university is helping them learn the skills they need to do it. Good advertising is always easy when brands know what they stand for.

Forego fear

Just as CMM finished banging on about excellent advertising from teaching-strong universities a reader forwarded a pitch from the University of Southern Queensland urging recipients to “unleash your fearless”. This is a pitch for mid-year enrolments, which assures readers that at USQ “you’ll not only gain the knowledge to succeed but the belief that you can.” So what is on the reading list for fearless studies?

CMM ads

Taggart strolls on

At times over the years the management of Murdoch University has resembled a Jacobean tragedy acted by the Three Stooges so it is no surprise that new VC Eeva Leinonen wants to keep things quiet for a while. So quiet that as far as CMM knows Andrew Taggart has become provost without any announcement. Back in April, when a search for a provost was underway he was billed as  “senior adviser” to the VC (CMM April 13) but turns out he got the job. And a good thing too, Andrew “the stroller” Taggart (he practises management by walking around) did his best for Murdoch as acting VC in the difficult months that followed previous VC Richard Higgott’s startling resignation.

Day of the day

Apparently yesterday was International Nursing Day. Griffith U missed the opportunity to promote its courses, merely wishing, “students practitioners, teachers and researchers” a happy day. ACU did much the same. And when Swinburne U finally caught up the best it could manage was, “a big shout out to all our hard working nursing students.” But the University of Canberra recognises a promotional opportunity when it sees one and used the day to promote the quality of its teaching facilities (which) “ensures our nursing and midwifery graduates are sought after nationally and internationally.”

Money train

UniMelbourne VC Glyn Davis retweeted Victorian premier Daniel Andrews’ artist’s impression of what the Parkville Station on the Melbourne metro will look like. The picture did not include a bloke in academic regalia wheeling a barrow load of dosh towards the exit, but it should have, because a rail connection to the university will be worth a fortune, making UoM even more attractive to students and staff, entrepreneurs and investors than now. Which leads to CMM to wonder whether Mr Andrews has heard of value capture. This is the idea that property owners whose assets will increase in value thanks to new infrastructure should contribute to the cost. If he hasn’t the university will want it to stay that way.

Flinders U is also going to get its own train, with The Advertiser reporting this morning that the prime minister is promising a connection from its campus and the adjacent Flinders Medical Centre to the Tonsley rail line.

DIGITAL MARKETING Strategies for Higher Education


Murdoch marketer mentored (sorry)

The long awaited external review of the Marketing, Communications and Advancement Directorate at Murdoch University is complete but management is not entirely impressed. According to Provost Andrew Taggart, “the report failed to include a plurality of views from across the directorate and, at times, included subjective opinion without substantiation.”

However in a message to staff seen by CMM Professor Taggart makes it plain that there were difficulties after a 2012 restructure, that senior management’s response was inadequate and that when Paula Barrow took over at the start of 2015 MCA was a “challenging environment”. While he praises her work, with others, to “arrest and reverse a three-year decline in school leaver enrolments he adds, “Paula is the first to acknowledge that engagement with staff was not her first priority in the early months of her tenure.”

But not to worry; “throughout this difficult process, Paula’s commitment to Murdoch hasn’t wavered. I am very pleased she is willing to embrace the recommendations for professional development, including an external mentor to further advise on communication and engagement approaches and techniques,” he says. What’s more the provost is convening an all of MCA meeting to discuss implementing the report’s recommendations (yes the one which “included subjective opinion”). Sounds like fun.

Sad end for staff

The long and bitter dispute at ANU over funding and staffing for the School of Culture, History and Language continues. Staff not recommended for a place in the new structure are said to have heard their fate this week. “Those not recommended are seemingly being given a chance to find a place for themselves elsewhere in the university, but the institutional help or any form coordination or consultations with other colleges or schools seems lacking and the anecdotal sense from those ‘not recommended’ is of being cut completely adrift,” a supporter wrote last night in a long chronicle of the school’s fate.

Library of the lost

The National Library of Australia is about to take quite a hit, with 30 or so staff for the chop. The Canberra research community is fuming but wider concern at this budget driven cut seems lost in the election.

Heads up: the week’s job news

 Kapur from Kings moves to Melbourne medicine

Shitij Kapur is the new dean of medicine at the University of MelbourneProfessor Kapur is now executive dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at Kings College London. He replaces Stephen Smith, who spent two years restructuring the faculty and establishing “clear research directions,” before deciding to return to England, for unspecified family reasons.

UTS to pick a provost

UTS is in the market for a provost to replace Peter Booth who will leave in June next year. The recruitment pack is here, and very flash it is too. Professor Booth is now on leave, with law dean Lesley Hitchens acting, although her university biography describes her as “provost and senior vice president.”

ASQA’s new regulator

Mark Paterson is the new commissioner for regulatory operations at the Australian Skills Quality Authority. He replaces Diane Orr who left the agency late last year, “to spend more time with my family and try new things,” CMM November 13 2015). Mr Paterson has led state and federal government departments and way back ran the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


International education experts

The independent advisors to the new Council for International Education were named just before caretaker conventions kicked in. They are: Tim Beresford (DVC Macquarie), Brett Blacker, (English Australia), Rod Camm, (ACPET)Claire Field, voced consultant and Mr Camm’s predecessor at ACPET) Phil Honeywood, (International Education Association of Australia), Jenny Lambert, (ACCI) the rotating chair of the Council of International Students Australia, now Nina KhairinaSimon Maddocks, (Charles Darwin U), Belinda Robinson, (UA) and Helen Zimmerman, (Navitas).

Lot of names to remember

Science and Technology Australia is in the market for a new CEO, to replace Catriona Jackson, who is off to Universities Australia ( CMM May 6). The PD is refreshingly free of HR guff, (not a pro-active synergy in sight), which is a good sign. What’s not is having to work with 60 plus member organisations – ye gods, the factions will have factions.