Just in from the what a coincidence! desk

On Monday, the UWA Senate adopted a new code protecting freedom of speech and academic freedom, aligning it with the Robert French model for same.  This was hours ahead of the release of Sally Walker’s review of university adherence with Mr French’s code which found UWA is “fully aligned.” Mr French is chancellor of UWA.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

 Open access to research is set to expand. Cameron Neylon and Lucy Montgomery (Curtin U) explain a big change.

Warwick Freeland on English language testing. It’s imperative they are a true reflection of students’ capability.

Social-media uni reviews are here to stay. Mahsood Shah (Swinburne U) argues universities must learn to live with, and from, them. It’s Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s final selection for the year in her series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Michael Tomlinson on why the new higher education provider category standards will make it possible for a range of roses to bloom sweetly

The free speech code: where it’s implemented, where it’s not

Late Tuesday Education Minister Dan Tehan released Sally Walker’s report on how universities progress in implementing Robert French’s free speech code

The minister included lists of how universities are going at “aligning” with the code, including a category for those that aren’t aligning at all.  But the lists were not in Professor Walker’s report as published –they are in an addendum to the report, published on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website, here.

Contract cheating: acting globally won’t stop students scheming locally

Essay mills aren’t the big problem

With a research emphasis on essay mills and the like Rebecca Awdry (Deakin U) and Bob Ives (Uni Nevada) wondered about students informally outsourcing work from people they know, so they undertook an international survey in 13 countries.

They found;

* student’s engagement with informal outsourcing is positively correlated to the rate at which they believe the general student body is cheating and the number of people they know cheating. (However, while this is statistically significant, effect sizes are small).

* this, and believing there are acceptable reasons for cheating are common across all countries and disciplines

* study level, age, whether their tutor knows their name, gender, first or second language learners, and intrinsic/extrinsic motivations for learning have no to little effect on outsourcing. “Given the quantity of studies which have found gender, age or level of study to be related to cheating behaviours, this was a surprising outcome,” Awdry and Ives argue.

And then there is the finding that creates problems for people who think shutting down commercial providers is the solution,

* “students are more likely to cheat with a friend or someone close to them, over an acquaintance or someone unknown to them, supporting our findings of far higher rates of outsourcing from friends/family compared to outsourcing from other students

What is to be done:

Peer influence, “must be addressed.” “Students are more likely to cheat if they think other students are cheating, or their friends report having cheated … Publicising numbers of students caught for cheating could reduce inflated perceptions students have of how common cheating is.

And institutions must be seen to take cheating seriously. “Seeing others cheat and not caught may remove fear of detection, and with it, deterrence.”

Courses gone at Uni Newcastle

Back in September the university announced it would cut courses and subjects to align what it teaches to student demand – which has now happened

 DVC A Mark Hoffman announces eight bachelor degrees/joint degrees and 14 postgrad programmes will be taught-out, plus 529 courses will be dropped.

It is all as expected but in September the university mentioned there would be “workforce planning, recognising that a reduction in overall course load will result in less staff required to deliver it,” (CMM September 28).

There was no word yesterday on any jobs to go.

Tehan to “embolden” chancellors and councils on free speech

The Education Minister says the government “will embolden” them, “to make sure that their university is implementing the (French free speech) code”

“We’re giving them a key role now, and we want them to seize that role,” Mr Tehan said.

The minister was speaking at the launch yesterday of Sally Walker’s review of universities implementation of Robert French’s model code for free speech on campus (CMM yesterday).

Professor Walker found nine universities in-line with Mr French’s code, 14 mostly there, four partly and six not at all.

Mr Tehan said he was looking to a panel of chancellors to put templates of the code in place. The minister mentioned chair of their council, Stephen Gerlach (Flinders U), John Brumby (La Trobe U) Julie Bishop (ANU), Belinda Hutchinson (Uni Sydney) Peter Shergold (Western Sydney U) and Paul Jeans (Uni Newcastle). ”What we are doing now is we are saying to those chancellors and their governing councils, we want you to take up the mantle and really show the way.”

Mr Tehan added there could be a role for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, in considering university statements of their commitment to the code – Professor Walker proposes an “attestation” on freedom of speech and academic freedom by a university’s governing body be included in annual reports.

As to what happens next, Mr Tehan made it plain it is up to universities. He acknowledged the government could tie funding to adherence to the free speech code, “but that’s not where we need to go. And we shouldn’t have to go there. This should be something which the universities, of themselves, just adopt and see as key tenets of what they do.”


Have yourselves a merry longer Christmas

Flinders U staff were expecting to knock off for Christmas lunchtime on Wednesday December 23 – not now

The university has added paid Christmas leave to cover the Monday and Tuesday prior, meaning when people go home on Friday the 18th they know they will be on holidays, courtesy of Flinders until the 28th. (Shutdown continues until January 8).

VC Colin Stirling says “it’s a way of thanking staff for their commitment and their contributions towards staying the course … in the face of incredible disruption.”

It’s enough to carol about, which, appropriately encouraged, Professor Stirling could do (CMM November 7 2016).

UniSuper gets to pick its comrades

The board of the superannuation fund  has spots for two union reps. It can pick them from whatever eligible union it likes

The CPSU, (which represents way fewer university staff) than the NTEU went to court asking for a ruling that each union can only make one nomination for a seat on UniSuper’s board.

The CPSU is unhappy it lost a board seat in February when its appointee resigned. The UniSuper board filled the position with an NTEU representative so that it now holds both places reserved for union people. NTEU board members are Grahame McCullough, (former general secretary) and Sarah Roberts (Victorian assistant secretary).

Back in August the CPSU nominated official Blake Stephens for one of the union seats, to be filled at the fund’s AGM next month.

The CPSU case for a board seat of its own is based on industrial relations practices and negotiations when UniSuper was created from old industry funds.

But on Tuesday Justice Delany of the Victorian Supreme Court said nothing doing, that UniSuper’s constitution allows eligible unions to nominate as many people as they wish.

“There is nothing in the context of the constitution itself that supports a restriction on the number of nominations that might be made by an eligible union or unions.”

Justice Delany also found that to be eligible for a board position, a union must be national and have a “significant number” of members in UniSuper but the CPSU, “fails as a matter of fact to qualify” on both counts.


Appointments, achievements

Liming Dai (UNSW) Mark Kendall (ANU) and Anton Middelberg (Uni Adelaide) are elected fellows of the (US) National Academy of Inventors.

Errol Phuah (Swinburne U) is the new national president of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Assocations.

The Association of Independent Schools of NSW announces Macquarie U education dean Mary Ryan is the new chair of its Education Research Council.

Ly Tran (Deakin U) receives a Shining Star Achievement in Research in the first annual A. Noam Chomsky Global Connections awards


Swinburne U VC awards

The (numerous) winners were announced yesterday

HE teaching: * Jessica Balanzategui (Authentic Industry-Engaged Screen Curriculum) * Georgina Willetts, Laurina Schmidt, Loretta Garvey, Michael Olasoji (nursing)

Voced teaching: * Carin Grant (Health, Science and Community) * Andrew Cookson, Anita Mahoney, Karen Hall, Nadine Hantke (Online Mental Health Simulation)

Research: * Karl Glazebrook (Astrophysics and Supercomputing) * Derui Ding, Qing-Long Han, Xian-Ming Zhang, Xiaohua Ge (Distributed Control and Estimation of Networked Systems)

Early career research: * Justin Trounson (Forensic Behavioural Science) * Amie Hayley (Human Psychopharmacology)

Community engagement: * Ashir Ahmed (Taking global learning to Melbourne’s isolated female Islamic Community) * Aida Brydon, Deborah Koder, Jenny Linossier, Mark Silver, Rebecca Collins, Sunil Bhar (Telehealth support for residential aged care)

Industry engagement: * Anthony McCosker (digital inclusion and social data) * the ten members of the global innovation community team

Global initiatives:  * Carolyn Chong, Jessica Morales-Morin (partnership with FPT University in Vietnam) * Alicia Pridgeon, Goran Gambiroza, Janine Shearer, Jogvan Klein (Swinburne X LinkedIn Programme)

Service: * the 43 members of the Swinburne Student Emergency Fund team

Leadership: * Glenn Kacprzak (Astrophysics and Supercomputing)

Reconciliation: Cecilia Distefano, Cyan Earnshaw, Damian Davitt, Jenn Sheehan (NAIDOC student artwork competition)

Culture and values:  * the 23 members of the People, Planning and Culture COVID-19 team

Inclusion and diversity:  Angie Martin (connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff) * Nicola Howard, Michelle Gillespie, Vivian Allard, Julia Prendergast, Deanne Fisher, Tom Evershed (preferred student name project)

Innovation: * the ten members of the Swintopia (formerly known as Open Day) team * the 12 members of the Pathways and voced collaboration team

Sustainability:  * Matthew Parnell, Mhairi Donohoe, Oliver Moritz, Suzanne Jackson (renewable electricity)

Lifetime achievement : * Matthew Bailes, * Chris Goetze * Isabella Chor