And the mandy goes to

Mark Scott via Twitter yesterday

“The report on Initial Teacher Education is informed by evidence and the strong contributions of educators across Australia. Well worth a read. Pleased to lead the expert panel to look at key aspects of implementation.” Well, as Mandy Rice-Davies put it, “he would, wouldn’t he?”

But why Professor Scott, what with his having been VC of a university with a school of education for less than a year? His previous job being secretary of the NSW Department of Education might have something to do with it.

Scroll down for what’s in the report.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the growth of women in university leaderships and the challenges that continue, “universities need to focus on retaining and attracting academic talent but also ensure systems and robust process are in place which not only encourage but actively nurture women to apply for promotion.”

and  Jacquie Tinkler and Gene Hodgins (CSU) on help for students with mental health issues who choose on-line. Some do so to manage study around their particular condition. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

with Garry Carnegie (RMIT) on global university rankings – why they are a menace.

Uni Sydney’s Scott to head educ faculties oversight

Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert announces advisor on quality and cash

Who’s the boss: Uni Sydney VC Mark Scott will chair the Teacher Education Quality Assurance Expert Panel. Other panellists are not appointed but will have expertise in ITE, higher education, education reform, school leadership, government policy and teaching.

What’s the job: The panel will advise on “an assessment mechanism for initial teacher education to improve the quality of ITE programmes.”

The “minimum threshold” it develops “will be reflected in revised and strengthened” accreditation.  And an “excellence” threshold will “identify higher education providers demonstrating high-quality delivery ITE”.

Why this matters: “The panel, in consultation with stakeholders, will develop advice for the government to consider on the most appropriate mechanisms to link these thresholds to funding incentives to ensure delivery of quality ITE courses’.”

Where this comes from: The announcement occurred as Mr Robert released the report of the unfortunately acronymed Quality Initial Teacher Education Review (scroll down).

QITER was established by presently stood-down education minister, Alan Tudge whose admiration for teacher education faculties is not boundless. Twice last year he criticised them for “ideology and fads” in  “instructional practice” and warned that the Government could “use the full leverage of the $760m” it provides for teacher training (CMM October 25, November 9)

Reaction: The Australian Council of Deans of Education will respond to yesterday’s announcement after a board meeting today.

However Claire Wyatt-Smith, (Australian Catholic U), who leads the consortium of 19 universities which is undertaking the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment, did not delay. The review, “strengthens the turn to research-informed innovation and evidence-informed practice,” said Professor Wyatt-Smith.  “While the field of teacher preparation has changed considerably in the last decade, much remains to be done.  Areas to progress include clarifying the function of standards and evidence to show how standards have been met, especially at the point of entering the workforce, “ she said.

“Sport for good” is name of the game

Torrens U announces four on-line short courses

They are created with university adjunct professor Craig Foster and are “aimed at giving people in the sports industry the skills and knowledge they need to understand how sport can be used to make the world a better place.”

The four are Sport and society, Sport and human rights, Sport leadership (“to drive positive change”) and Sport as a voice for change (“find your voice and the power to use it”).

They are free and they are here.

This is the second good-sports product of the week. La Trobe U (backed by DFAT) announced a “sports diplomacy” MOOC for athletes and officials who want to “represent and advance Australia’s interests in the Indo-Pacific and other regions,” (CMM February 22).

The count of cases of “disregard” for humanities

A Senate committee is accepting submissions on a bill by Senator Faruqi (Greens NSW) to prevent minister’s rejecting research grants approved by the Australian Research Council

One, from the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, states that every vetoed grant was of HASS research. Stuart Robert rejected six recommendations in December, Dan Tehan said no to five in 2020 and Simon Birmingham overturned 11 in 2018.

“The distribution of funding for research is most likely to be beneficial to Australia when it is driven by decisions made by people who have the information, experience, and expertise to judge the quality of research questions, methods, and likely outcomes,” CHASS president, Dan Woodman states.

Which may not bother ministers past and present. As the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities puts it, Mr Robert’s veto, “signals the continued disregard for important areas of Australia’s intellectual culture and life,” (CMM January 24).

Evidence based funding for teacher ed

The Quality Initial Teacher Education Review released yesterday proposes a national body to recommend distribution of student places among universities “based on quality and other relevant factors”

These could include “performance-based assessments” “with publicly available information” on how each higher education provider scores on the quality measures.

Other key recommendations for ITE faculties in yesterday’s QITER report include

* “reward good performance of schools, groups of schools, systems, employers and higher education providers, with a focus on rewarding those that use evidence-based approaches to the teaching of reading and support innovation in the delivery of evidence-based approaches.”

* establishing national standards for the teacher performance assessments providers use in assessing final year students. And, give HE institutions a max three goes to get their TPAs endorsed

* providers to report proportion of staff with “substantial recent experience” teaching in schools/childcare

Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert responded yesterday by announcing the Scott quality assurance panel and committing to “further announcements in the coming weeks.”

A policy that requires education faculties to compete for performance-based funding (via CSP allocations) which was publicly announced would make for quite an announcement.  Especially during an election.

ATSE calls for curiosity and cash

The tech and eng academy wants research funding in-place until close to the election after next

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering’s budget makes the most of the Government’s research commercialisation strategy, calling for the feds to “fully fund” it “for no less than a five-year period.”

ATSE also calls for “a research funding strategy that covers the entire research pipeline from curiosity-driven research to industry-led research commercialisation.”

The budget bid also includes ensuring the STEM-skilled workforce can meet demand by expanding education, including requiring future teachers of the disciplines to have relevant degrees.

But while the academy mentions more than once the importance of “curiosity driven research” the emphasis is on outcomes. “Strategic and targeted investments will result in the early adoption of future technologies and creation of critical national capabilities and promote resilient sustainable future growth.”

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Natalie James and Robbie Robertson (both Deloitte) join Swinburne U as adjunct professors in its Centre for the New Workforce.

 Mark Scott (Uni Sydney VC) will chair the Commonwealth’s Initial Teacher Education Quality Assessment Panel. Other members are yet to be appointed.

Of the week

 More awards from Australia and New Zealand Applied and Industrial Mathematics. * Elliot Carr (QUT) is the outstanding new researcher * James McCaw (Uni Melbourne) is the mid-career medallist * the best student conference paper is by Adriana Zanca, (Uni Melbourne) and Michael Denes (UNSW). CMM reported last week that Phil Broadbridge (La Trobe U) is the ANZAIM medallist.

TEQSA chief commissioner Peter Coaldrake will conduct “a wide-ranging review into culture and accountability” of the Queensland public sector. Premier Palaszczuk announced his appointment Friday

Evelyne Deplazes (Uni Queensland) has up to $130 000 over two years from pharma company Gilead Sciences to research fungal infections.

Anthony Elliott (Uni SA) will lead its EU funded Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. Its funded for four years, to research AI, Industry 4.0, creative economies and workplace transformations.

Jennifer Flegg becomes chair of the Australian Mathematical Society’s Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group.

Stephen Foley (Macquarie U) is a 2022 fellow of the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry.

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management welcomes new members of its editorial board, * Catherine Yuan Gao (Victoria U) * Clare Hourigan (Uni Queensland) * Patrick Korbel (Australian Technology Network) * Wei Liu (Uni Alberta) * Andrew Norton (ANU) * Wojtek Tomaszewski (Uni Queensland) * Natalia Veles (James Cook U)

Tim Soutphommasane becomes acting head of Uni Sydney’s Sydney Policy Lab (“bringing people together to help them change the world”). He replaces Mark Stears, moving to be inaugural head of the new policy lab at University College London, where his old boss, Michael Spence will be his new boss. Professor Soutphommasane is Uni Sydney’s director of culture strategy.

Johanne Trippas will return to RMIT, as a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow. She moves from Computing and Information Systems at Uni Melbourne.

Uni SA announces its 2021 Research Excellence awards, going to, * higher degree: Sarah McDonald (Education Futures) *ECR: Dr Renly Lim, (Clinical, Health Sciences) * MCR: Amanda Hutchinson, (Justice and Society) * senior researcher: Carol Maher, (Allied Health and Human Performance) * Media performer:  Adrian Esterman, (COVID-19 coverage).

Universities Australia announces the Australian Awards for University Teaching * Teacher of the year: Katerina Teaiwa (ANU) * Career achievement: John  Biggs (U Tas). Teaching awards: * Nick Brown (RMIT) * Vinod Gopalan (Griffith U) * Ambelin Kwaymulina (UWA) * Michelle Lazarus (Monash U) * Bonnie McBain (Uni Newcastle) * Katherine O’Brien (QUT) * Katerina Teaiwa (ANU) * Diana Tolmie (Griffith U)

Erica Wilson (Southern Cross U) is the new chair of Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education.