There’s more in the Mail

In CMM this morning Marina Harvey (UNSW) on needed support for sessional staff – a new essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Guardians of the university-verse

The university representatives on the government’s taskforce, “to protect universities from foreign interference” are selected

Word is they include;

Peak lobby CEOs Catriona Jackson (Universities Australia) and Vicki Thomson (Group of Eight) with vice chancellors; Martin Bean (RMIT), John Dewar (La Trobe U), Peter Hoj (Uni Queensland ) and Alex Zelinsky (Uni Newcastle).

It’s a carefully considered collection. Ms Jackson represents universities as a whole, Ms Thomson, the universities that generate most research. Mr Bean is an ex Microsoft global manager, Professor Dewar is a veteran policy reviewer. Professor Hoj leads a top three research university. As for Professor Zelinsky, before joining his university late last year he was chief defence scientist.

Tehan pitches a partnership to “get things done”

Dan Tehan calls on universities to work with him to expand the system. “It’s only through proper and meaningful engagement that we will get things done”

The Education Minister has called on universities to partner with him to put teaching and research at the centre of national policy.

“Every review, every piece of work which is being done currently is being led by the sector. And I want to make sure that continues because if we can build that partnership I believe we will be able to make the necessary reforms that we need to set higher education for the 2020s” Dan Tehan told a Victoria U seminar Friday.

Speaking directly to vice chancellors at the event, hosted by VU’s Peter Dawkins, the minister said, “higher education sector has to be central to what we are going to do to lift productivity and generate employment in this country and that is our challenge.”

Mr Tehan acknowledged the need for increased undergraduate places, as numbers of 18-24 year olds increase to a peak in 2024.  “We have to make sure that our higher education system will be there to deal with, to cope with, and to educate, that increased cohort of young Australians.

“We know that the higher education sector is absolutely going to be instrumental – over 50 per cent of the new jobs that are going to be created in this nation require a degree qualification.”

Mr Tehan also said explaining to government and community the core role universities would play in driving productivity growth was the way to secure support. Referring to research he has commissioned that estimates the higher education sector can expand the economy by $3.2bn by 2030, the minister added, “if I can put a compelling case to my colleagues that we are absolutely instrumental in driving productivity in this nation for the next decade then I think that we can get the support that we need to grow the sector.”

He also called for more work to commercialise research and to increase community awareness.  “We have the best researchers in the world … yet when it comes to how the general population understands that we have a significant amount of work to do.”

Mr Tehan added he will establish a small group of vice chancellors and business leaders to work on “greater linkages between universities and industry research and employment.”

“I don’t see this as an issue for the university sector, which keeps continually reaching out,” he said.

If these initiatives are framed as being a partnership, “about improving national prosperity”, “then we can get the right outcomes, we can reshape the higher education architecture, we can make sure the sector continues to grow and we can make sure that especially when it comes to business, commercialisation and around the research piece that we can deliver in the HE sector in the next decade.”

The tweets tell it

ANU researchers Shuk Ying Ho, Stanley Choi and Finn Yang analysed four years of tweets about customer service at the ten biggest US airlines

They found a correlation between critical tweets and analysts’ profit forecasts.

Tweets and other social media are also useful in predicting elections. Griffith U’s Bela Stantic used them to predict the Morrison Government would win the federal election, which polls predicted it would lose (CMM June 24).

How long to university managements admit to opinion-mining to understand what staff, students, stakeholders think of them?

On-track for a new Aus uni in five years

TEQSA has accredited the first ever Aus university college

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency has anointed Avondale College an Australian university college, the first institution to make the cut in the category.  This could lead to it becoming accredited as a university in five years.

Avondale describes itself as a, “Christian higher education learning community that is dedicated to serving world needs.”

TEQSA’s announcement follows discussion last week that the Coaldrake review of higher education provider category standards might propose abolishing the up until now unused  classification.

However, this was opposed Friday by private-provider lobby, Independent Higher Education Australia, which suggested the timing of reporting requirements made it ‘almost impossible” for providers to qualify as colleges, which is bad, as “university college,” has “broad recognition as attaching to degree conferring institutions in Australia’s international markets.” (CMM Friday).

According to TEQSA, Avondale, qualifies as a university college because it has “realistic and achievable plans to meet all the criteria for an ‘Australian university’ “ within five years. It offers coursework masters in at least three of the broad fields it teaches and higher research degrees in one. Avondale also researches in three of the masters fields it teaches.

The last (as in no more ever) BHERT awards

The Business Higher Education Round Table says its work is done, with universities and industry more closely connected than a generation back and so the 2019 awards are the last

The final university honours go to;

R&D collaboration

Intelligent robotics in infrastructure: UTS

Polymer injections in green steelmaking: UNSW

Polynucleotide-based immunotherapies: Uni Queensland

Collaboration in HE/training

Best practice in patient care and safety: Deakin U

Bachelor of creative intelligence and innovation: UTS

Digital credentials: RMIT

Community collaboration

YuMi deadly maths: QUT

Farming together: Southern Cross U

Collaboration non-economic) benefit

Early detection autism: La Trobe U

ABC fact-check: RMIT

TROPWater: James Cook U

Collaboration leadership: Marilyn Fleer (Monash U)

Collaboration from start to finish

The first BHERT awards in 1998 don’t look that different to the last one 

The first awards would not have looked out of place at last week’s announcement.

* RMIT for waste-heat recovery technology

* ANU-Uni Melbourne, forest technology

* Uni Adelaide: establishing bio-technology industry

* Flinders U graduate training in commercial bio-tech

*Uni Newcastle with BHP retraining workers to be school teachers ()

* CQU engineering development in Gladstone


University of the Sunshine Coast exercise physiologist Chris Askew is the first joint appointment between university and the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. USC teaches pre-med at the hospital, with Griffith U running the med school component.

 Anthony Maeder (Flinders U) becomes a fellow of the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics

Bruce Neal moves up from deputy to executive director of the George Institute. He replaces Vlado Perlovic who has moved to dean of medicine at UNSW.