Ruff treatment

In news from the “you don’t say!” desk a Uni Sydney study warns pets loathe the cone of shame

Researchers report the Elizabethan collar, used to stop animals licking wounds and tearing at stitches, stops them drinking, grooming and getting around.

They propose alternatives, such as inflatable collars plus medication to stop itches and sedatives to keep calm.

CMM’s canine correspondent Buzz the Dog comments that for a start, the name has to go. “Bloody things are less Elizabethan than Jacobean – as in the plays where everybody is murdered,” he growls.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Teaching on-line into China, how it’s being done, how to do it better and how Australia’s competitors are responding. Dirk Mulder reports on a major education industry.

Merlin Crossley on the sometimes agony, sometimes joy of “not knowing” in science.

Maria Raciti (Uni Sunshine Coast) on the joined-up education-to-occupation blueprint low SES students want. It’s a new essay in Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Deakin U virus strategy: “keep calm and carry on”

The university says it is offering staff and students advice and support

Deakin U staff should “keep calm and carry on,” Karen Hapgood (dean of science, engineering and built environment) says.

“We need to avoid creating additional unnecessary disruptions to our teaching and research.”

In a faculty message Professor Hapgood adds the university will follow government-medical expert advice and “will not be making our own rules about health risks.

“If we as a university do not follow the advice of the best experts in the country, then why should the general public have any faith in our expert advice on other topics like climate change and cyber safety?” she asks.

This means, “we all need to continue to come to work and support our students and colleagues and maintain as much business as usual as possible.”

DU observers say this has not gone down especially-well on the university’s Melbourne campus, where O-week was a vibrant and crowded with local and international students. However, there seems less concern on the broader Geelong campuses.

A Deakin U told CMM last night, “Deakin remains aligned and responsive to the advice of state and federal health authorities. We are in regular contact with our staff and students to provide advice and support as this matter evolves, and we continue to publish daily updates to our extensive online information resources.”

Aux armes professeurs!

“We can do this! We have about six weeks to come up to speed in teaching online (if you don’t already) as students start to consider their STwo courses and what they will (be) able to cope with if our campus is in lockdown. Will they have the confidence that we can do this? Michael Sankey, Griffith U Learning Futures, via Twitter yesterday.

When there’s a plague on our houses

Boccaccio’s Decameron is a collection of stories told by the book’s characters as they shelter from the 14th century Black Death in a villa outside Florence

This strikes Uni Wollongong’s Daniel Huto (head of Liberal Arts and the Ramsay western civ degree) as worth updating. “Assuming that there is no estate get-away ready-to-hand for most of us, we could keep intellectually alive and social connected though on-line story sharing and other similar forms of regular engagement and dialogue.”

Perhaps people will want to discuss this on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok (they liked a dance in the Decameron).

At UWA the eyes have it

UWA announces the state’s only degree in optometry.

The University of Western Australia’s three-year degree starts next year in the university’s School of Public Health with 64 places a year, apparently including internationals. Entry is based on a bachelor of medical science, with specified grade point averages plus interviews.

UWA advises, “the course content and teaching is based on the competency standards for optometrists in Australia and New Zealand.” These are set by the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand.

Optometry is on the Commonwealth’s Skilled Occupation List for independent visas. However, in 2017 member organisation Optometry Australia  argued there would be an over-supply of Australian graduates by next year.

Optometry education is not absent in the west. Curtin U provides a pathway into “vision science” and optometry at Flinders U.

COVID-19 update: uni responses

Jacqui Lambie proposed closing Tasmania’s borders but it is too late

U Tas reports a COVID-19 case on campus. A woman with the virus arrived from South America on Sunday and was on the Sandy Bay campus Monday. But cheer-up, management says she had no close contact with anybody and, “there is very low risk.”

But management has a plan for when there is “local transmission,” on-line course delivery “to the greatest extent possible,” and working from home, “where possible.”

Same at La Trobe U

A student now known to have COVID-19 “has attended classes” in the last week.  The university says all staff and students in contact are advised to self-isolate and on official advice, the university stays open.

And after the Unis Aus conference

CMM thought the only risk of the Universities Australia conference was being bored to snores but it turns out a delegate picked-up COVID-19 there. “Health authorities have been working to identify the source of the infection but have not yet been able to do so. It is possible someone at the conference may have been the source of the infection,” Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said yesterday.

But Flinders U is preparing for the not so good

DVC Students Clare Pollock tells staff approved international travel has to be approved again and nothing new that isn’t essential will be allowed. And while domestic trips are not restricted, “it would be prudent to avoid booking travel too far in advance.”

So is ANU

The university is considering following Macquarie U, which is committed to paying casuals if there is a campus shut-down, (CMM March 10).

“ANU is considering how to respond to a range of scenarios, and the impact these have on our people, a “spokesperson told CMM last night.

This will include how we can best support our casual staff during self-isolation or campus shutdown.”

It’s on management’s agenda for next week.

NHMRC research awards

The National Health and Medical Research Council confers its 2019 Research Excellence Awards

 Investigator grant award -leadership: Stuart Tangye (UNSW)

Investigator grant award -emerging leadership: Eric Chow (Monash U)

Investigator grant award-leadership basic science: Naomi Wray (Uni Queensland)

Investigator grant award-leadership clinical medicine-science: Glenda Halliday (Uni Sydney)

Investigator grant award-leadership public health research: Jo Salmon (Deakin U)

Investigator grant award- leadership in health services research: Johanna Westbrook (Macquarie U)

Investigator grant award–Sandra Eades award: Phillippa Taberlay (Uni Tas)

Investigator grant award-Frank Fenner award: Adam Wheatley (Uni Melbourne)

Marshall and Warren ideas grant award: Mark Willcox (UNSW)

Marshall and Warren innovation award: James St John (Griffith U)

Fiona Stanley synergy grant award: Erica Wood (Monash U)

Clinical trials and cohort studies award: Jaquelyne Hughes (Menzies School of Health Research)


Blackboard is selling Moodle – it’s a wrench

“Every good company looks for ways to continue to evolve and change. And so, much like a parent dropping their child off at college, Blackboard is taking the business that it has nurtured and setting it up to continue to flourish, giving it what it needs to be independent. That starts with a solid, sustainable business foundation, an amazing and talented team, and a remarkable set of clients” – Phil Miller, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer at Blackboard. Perhaps what was paid dulled the loss.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Gary Fitzpatrick will lead the new doctor of optometry degree at UWA.

Of the week

Tim Cahill moves from head of KPMG’s higher education practice to MD of Research Strategies Australia.

Barney Dalgarno has started as Uni Canberra’s executive dean of education. He has moved from Charles Sturt (CMM September 16 2019).

Cheryl Desha (Griffith U) is named International Women’s Day champion of change by the Queensland Government.

Uni Sydney announces a new chair, funded by a gift from Garry and Susan Rothwell. The three-year in architectural design leadership is awarded to French architecture studio Lacaton & Vassal Architectes.

Lee Parker (RMIT) and Stephen Penman (Columbia U) join the Australian Accounting Hall of Fame.

Misha Shubert has started as CEO of Science and Technology Australia. She moved from comms director at Universities Australia.