plus Aftershocks at Murdoch U

Animation nation at UTS

and still waiting at Deakin Warnnambool

Comes with the job

“It’s amazing – everywhere I go, people have ideas for spending money! Who would have thought?” Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, at the Ausbiotech Symposium.


Animation innovation

UTS and digital film maker Animal Logic (Happy Feet and a bunch more) are combining to offer a masters in animation and visualisation, using “a dedicated, professionally-equipped studio space-engineered to the highest industry standards.”

“Skills gained in this course can be applied across a wide range of roles, from animation and software development to data visualisation, data science and across emerging technologies,” UTS-AL claim. Prereqs are practical skills demonstrated by proficiency in specified skills and a portfolio. Applicants will also be interviewed. Cost is $45 000.

This rates a top Turnbull for applied innovation, exactly the sort of industry where Australia’s geography and high labour costs do not matter a damn where a skilled labour force can export to the world.

Still waiting at Warrnambool

Deakin University Council discussed yesterday what to do with the Warrnambool campus, which neither it nor any other institution wants to run. But CMM hears a decision was deferred until the September meeting. Understandably so, it’s Open Day on Sunday and no news is better than bad news. The university is still talking to state and federal governments about assistance but cash can’t do much if people do not want to study there.

Fri Aug 5

Brilliant Birmingham

Education minister Simon “softly softly” Birmingham used the fuss over ordinary NAPLAN scores this week to astutely advance his own agendas. Teacher quality rather than ever-more money alone is important, he says and points to the literacy and numeracy tests for soon to graduate education students in universities. The tests, commissioned by his predecessor Chris Pyne are being held now, with 90 per cent of students sitting in the top 30 per cent of the population for literacy and numeracy. “ Skilled teachers are essential to lifting student outcomes and this test will ensure we have educators in our classrooms with strong personal literacy and numeracy skills … These results are extremely encouraging,” Senator Birmingham said yesterday.

In more ways than one. Opponents of demand driven funding use the less low than subterranean ATAR scores that are accepted by some education faculties as a reason to abandon demand driven funding, which the senator supports. Being able to demonstrate teacher education graduates emerge from their degrees literate and numerate, however they went in, helps makes the case that ATARs do not determine  outcomes.

Aftershocks at Murdoch U

The after-shocks from the Richard Higgott era roll on at Murdoch University, following the WA Corruption and Crime Commission’s serious misconduct finding against the former VC. Last month new vice chancellor Eeva Leinonen urged the campus community to put the Higgott years behind them, to which union leader Anne Price replied people wanted management to “acknowledge the wrongs” done to staff then and “work together to build a more sustainable future.”

Yesterday Professor Leinonen replied that she was onto it, talking with staff, “about what matters to them most, whilst also allowing me to share my initial thoughts for a strong and positive future for Murdoch” and that the university was already addressing risk governance. CMM wonders if this is exactly what Dr Price had in mind.

However Professor Leinonen also advised there is a report on the CCC’s findings for the university senate’s audit and risk committee and that “any possible governance processes and policies will be communicated to staff.” CMM’s bets they would rather read the report. As the CCC pointed out its investigation “illustrates what happens when a vice-chancellor does not act with probity and a senate fails to effectively articulate the parameters within which a vice chancellor should act.”

The way we were

The emerging consensus that demand driven funding should be extended to HECS-eligible sub-degree programmes takes CMM back to an age when nobody talked of deregulation and “vouchers” was the dirty word de jour. An age when the West Review recommended “all school leavers receive a lifelong learning entitlement. An entitlement to funding is also provided to all mature age students seeking access to postsecondary education and training for the first time. Students are able to use their entitlement to meet the costs of approved studies or services leading to a postsecondary award at an approved private or public postsecondary education provider in either the vocational education and training or higher education sectors.” The more things change …


It takes a bigger village

The University of Adelaide is targeting the international student market for growth and offering accommodation on the edge of the CBD, across the road from campus is a part of the plan, with a 700 bed development announced. The project is a joint venture with student accommodation builder and manager Urbanest. The university already has a CBD “village” in the downtown West End precinct. The accommodation expansion is a smart strategy. Universities in Sydney and Melbourne can bang on about studying in global cities but it will not help them with internationals who can’t afford to live in the chic centre. With this deal UniAdelaide will offer city life, without the global price.

Heads up

winners at work this week


Ruth Stewart from James Cook U is the new president of the Australian College of Rural and Medicine. She works as a doctor on Thursday Island and is director of rural clinical training and support at JCU.

Workplace researcher Wayne Hochwater is joining the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University from Florida State U. He will be based in the Centre for Sustainable HRM and Wellbeing.

Chris Moran has started work as DVC R at Curtin UProfessor Moran joins from the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland. He replaces Graeme Wright who has retired (CMM March 1).

James Cook U has awarded an hon do to Philip Green, Australian high commissioner to Singapore, where the university has a campus.

Margaret Sheil and Brigid Heywood have joined the ANSTO boardProfessor Sheil is provost at Melbourne University before which appointment she was head of the Australian Research Council and DVC R at theUniversity of WollongongProfessor Heywood is DVC R at the University of Tasmania.

The shortlists for the South Australian science awards are out with the three candidates for scientist of the year all from the University of Adelaide. They are Jennifer Couper (paediatric endocrinologist), James Paton(molecular biologist) and Alan Cooper (geneticist). The early career nominees are all from UniAdelaide as well;Kieren Mitchell (DNA sequencing), Phiala Shanahan (theoretical particle physics) and Kristin Carson (treatment of tobacco related illness and cessation).

Peter Wills is the first chair of the Biomedical Translational FundMr Wills is founder and deputy chair of medical and health lobby Research Australia.


The University of Melbourne have honoured nine staff as Redmond Barry professors. Named for a university founding father the awards are based on achievements in teaching, research and/or creative activity. The nine are,Tim McNamara (Arts), Karen Jehn (BusEco), Kim Bennell (Med Dentistry Health Sciences), Leann Tilley (MDHS),Marcia Langton (MDHS), Janet McCalman (MDHS), Lyn Yates (Education), Mike Sandiford (Science) and Barry Conyngham (College of Arts).

Terrence Froggatt is moving from the University of Wollongong to lead the neighbouring Nan Tien Institute, the first TEQSA accredited institution “grounded in Buddhist values and wisdom.”