Southern Cross U’s on-message marketing

Southern Cross U has a student recruitment campaign for people who do not expect their degree to make them secretary general of the UN

“Where could you go?” features SCU grads with jobs that are appealing and possible, an occupational therapist, a marine scientist, an auditor, and a conference marketer. It’s a credible campaign targeting career-changers and upskillers, people who are a big market for SCU.

The campaign runs on social media, with some local TV and cinema.

There’s more in the Mail

In a world-first for tertiary education, the University of Newcastle is adopting a personalised approach to learning design, known as “Big Picture Education.”  Erica James explains.

Tiago Barros from Publons reports on the state of peer reviewing, including growing demand for, but declining supply of, reviewers and the push for publishing reviews.

Dan Tehan: friend to science

While Queensland Nats call for a research quality assurance agency Dan Tehan is happy with the ARC

Introducing a routine funding bill in the House yesterday the education minister was plus-size positive about work funded by the Australian Research Council.  That’s funding, “awarded on the basis of a competitive peer review process.”

That’s funding for research, which is in the national, and international interest;

“researchers in universities around the country carry out research every day on different matters affecting the everyday lives of us all, not only in Australia but also right around the world. Cutting edge research is changing our world dramatically, but the incremental progress of long-term research programs is also vital for many industries, where commercial success comes from being just a cut above the rest,” Mr Tehan said.

Sounds like support for science, regardless of what upsets government backbenchers.

Data mining

Labour market forecasts for the feds suggest mining and energy will only need 700 extra workers by 2023, with employment stable at 67 000 people (CMM August 16).  But industry group Australian Resources and Energy Group says new projects will require 21 000 workers, including 4 000 techs, 4000 administrators and 8000 plant operators, by 2024. So, what’s the net increase? CMM has no clue, but hopes engineering faculties and training colleges do.

How to spread the Ramsay Civ Centre wealth

Uni Sydney propose taking the western civ message to the campus masses

“Rather than focussing the funding on a small, select group of students, we think there is an opportunity to open up access to our teaching in these areas to hundreds more,” Vice Chancellor Michael Spence told staff yesterday.

More courses: He proposes Ramsay fund students in a new western civ studies major as part of the university’s Bachelor of Advanced Studies programme. The major would use “a great books” approach and Dr Spence points to 130 or so subjects across 13 academic areas which would be appropriate electives.

 For more people: He estimates that Ramsay funding could support 1100 hundred students over an agreed period. In contrast, the universities of Queensland and Wollongong both have agreements with the Ramsay Centre for $50m over eight years to run new degrees, taught by specially hired staff to small groups of specially selected students.

And more impact: We are proposing that the majority of funding to be used for students in the form of scholarships, bursaries, study abroad opportunities and other related support costs,” Dr Spence told staff yesterday.

So, what do people think: The Ramsay Centre responds that it has received the proposal and, “will give it due consideration.”

However, the Uni Sydney branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, which vehemently opposes previous Ramsay-style western-civ studies ideas, did not take long to make up its mind. President Kurt Iveson said he was unaware of any “open engagement” with staff in the disciplines that would be involved and questioned how scholarships would be distributed between students taking subjects as western civ major and students who weren’t.

“Given, we already teach across the disciplines listed, the only rationale for the new major seems to be Vice-Chancellor Spence’s on-going effort to secure funding from the Ramsay Centre,” Aspro Iveson says.

Swinburne under a creative cloud

It’s the only institution in Australia where students can access Adobe’s Creative Cloud, “a collection of the world’s best applications and services used for graphic design, video editing, web development and photography.” This probably builds on the digital marketing subject Swinburne U launched in cooperation with Adobe in 2016 (CMM August 18, that year).

At UNE Brigid Heywood has had it with the academics’  union

The VC says the NTEU has “chosen to adopt an adversarial form of dialogue through strike action (which) must be challenged”

University of New England management wants a new enterprise agreement for academics based on annual hours taught rather than EFTS numbers in classes and new vice chancellor, Brigid Heywood says the “ongoing reluctance” of the National Tertiary Education Union to consider such “is a matter of great concern.”

She also isn’t happy with the union banning e-contact with on-line students (CMM yesterday), telling staff;

“In my view, the NTEU have provided no sound evidence based arguments for retaining the old model. Instead they have now instigated carefully positioned action against our most vulnerable group – our students – who are being used as pawns.”

Student ebbs and flows in VET and HE

Feds A talked to Feds B to identify student movement between VET and higher education

A pilot project looked for links between VET sector Unique Student Identifiers (7.876m registrations) and HE Commonwealth Higher Education Support Numbers (4.791m registrations). They found 1.1m linked registrations and 346 000 records with valid enrolment-completion data) Using de-identified data they discovered a bunch of stuff, including;

* VET students who enrol in HE are more likely to have completed a training course

* 25 per cent of VET students moving to HE enrol in the society and culture field, although there is no major trend

* of bachelor degree students enrolling in VET, 63 per cent had completed their degree, 12 per cent were still studying and the rest had dropped out

* for HE to VET students the most popular AQF course fields are management/commerce and society-culture. The popular non AQF fields are first-aid and occ health and safety

“Open the ethics textbook Hal”

Machines that learn need careful teaching

Marnie Hughes Warrington speaks tonight at Uni Newcastle’s AI and the future of humanity event, exploring ideas for her present essay series and future book on how the humanities can apply artificial intelligence.

It’s the latter which is easy, but in error to ignore, she argues in a new consideration of how natural language for AI is created – it’s not value-free and it is, for good and ill, very human.

“My aim is simply to humanise the language learning of machines in ways that escape the routine treatment of computer scientists as blameworthy creators. After all, the clumsiness, oversight and even hate of machines is our human clumsiness, our human oversight, and our human hate,” she writes in a new essay coinciding with her Newcastle address.

And for all the bright promise of machines that can speak to us, or for us, AI is a world of “accident and unintended consequences.”

Which can be countered by humanising AI.  “This is not just about seeing machines as human, but about acknowledging that they are what more of us can make them. And that making—training—is the patient to and fro of history making.”

Professor Hughes Warrington is a panellist at the University of Newcastle discussion, AI and the future of humanity, Newcastle City Hall, 4pm today



Jane Pirkis (University of Melbourne) wins the Stengel Award for research from the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

University of Queensland announces its staff research awards, including:

Foundation research: Yang Bai, (Bioengineering and Nanotechnology). Sarah Bennett, (Humanities and Social Sciences). Lee Hickey, (Agriculture and Food Innovation). Tom Rufford, (Engineering, Architecture, IT). Leanne Sakzewski, (Medicine). Teresa Ubide, (Science). Hongzhi Yin, (Engineering, Architecture, IT).

Higher degree research supervision: Katie Makar, (Humanities and Social Sciences). Alexander Scheuermann, (Engineering, Architecture, IT). Irina Vetter, (Molecular Bioscience). Andrew Whittaker, (Bioengineering and Nanotechnology).

Emerging advisor: Michael Piper (Medicine)

Commercialisation: James Vaughan, William Hawker with Pure Battery Technologies Pty Ltd.

Research partnerships: * Barbara Masser with Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

* Neena Mitter, Alice Hayward, Jayeni Hiti Bandaralage, Christopher O’Brien, Madeleine Gleeson, Christine Beveridge, Professor Bernard Carroll with a range of agriculture partners.

* Longbin Huang with Rio Tinto and Queensland Alumina Limited.

* Warwick Bowen, Christopher Baker, Rachpon Kalra with Lockheed Martin and NASA Glenn Research Centre.

* Lorraine Mazerolle, Sarah Bennett, Emma Antrobus, Elizabeth Eggins, Stephanie Cardwell ­with Queensland’s Department of Education and Police Service.

* Darren Martin, Nasim Amiralian, Pratheep Kumar Annamalai, Celine Chaleat, Alireza Hosseinmardi and Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation.