“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can do that”

Uni Queensland researchers Nicole Gillespie, Steve Lockey and Caitlin Curtis report 61 per cent of Australians surveyed believe artificial intelligence will eliminate more jobs than it creates.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Danielle Stevens with Sarah Hattam and Anthea Fudge (both Uni SA) on why the prime minister must commit to keeping Enabling education. This week’s addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.


Merlin Crossley (UNSW) makes the case for staying in your research lane. “It makes great sense to search where you have a chance of finding something … because there is so much more to discover.”


Angel Calderon (RMIT) details (another) strong Australian result, in the new QS rankings. You can compare and contrast QS with the new Leiden research rankings which Mr Calderon reported in CMM (June 3) here.

NSW universities ready to roll on international arrivals

There’s a structure in-place to organise returns if there’s a tick from Minister Tudge (CMM Friday)

Barney Glover (Western Sydney U and chair of Unis NSW) says the state’s universities are ready to roll-out a custom-created portal for international students now overseas who want to come back.

It will launch if the state quarantine scheme announced by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is approved by Canberra (CMM Friday).

As to which sorts of students will get the nod, each university’s share will be based on their proportion of international enrolments. Individual institutions will make their own call of which categories of close to completing, and research students, are offered seats on charter flights. Professor Glover says allied-health students are a priority for Western Sydney U.  The University of Newcastle is believed to be keen to bring back medicine students now in Singapore. Last week Uni Sydney told its internationals, people “who must undertake face-to-face learning to complete their degrees will be prioritised.”

Professor Glover says there are hopes of several thousand students returning by year end, with commercial flights following the original charters.

All now depends on the Commonwealth approving the plan – notably the quarantine site, being handled state government.

Engagement Australia awards open

The seven categories are an opportunity for ANZ universities to show-case their engaging and innovating with their communities

The awards emerged from those offered by the now no-more Business Higher Education Roundtable and include, industry, research impact and leadership plus categories for alumni and Indigenous Engagement.

CMM’s fave from the 2020 awards is Uni SA’s winning entry in community engagement for its patient and practitioner programme on dealing with chronic pain.

Entry details are here.


TEQSA calls for “consideration” of international student course quotas

Plus, the regulator says when borders open providers should not “snap back” to previous markets and practises

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency calls for change in an admirably frank response to the Commonwealth’s international education strategy draft proposal.

The regulator warns, “a largely unstated (and under-recognised) reality has been, in effect, the isolation of some foreign student cohorts from their Australian counterparts.”

“In places it has been to the detriment of the foreign and domestic student experiences.”

“This has emerged by design (large proportions of foreign students, often from a single market, in particular courses of study) and as an unintended consequences (sic) (concentrated auxiliary services such as housing, or inadequate student support) of rapid growth,” the regulator warns.

TEQSA calls for,

* the strategy to consider “the balance between and integration of, overseas and domestic student experiences. “This might extend to consideration of quotas on places in courses

*  for providers to adhere to the Higher Education Standards Framework in their offshore activity, “including through third-party arrangements”

* risk management to diversify markets and address “cross-investment for research”

* considering the “prevalence of migration points” as incentives for international students

* addressing quality risks in English language proficiency in admissions, academic cheating, micro-credentials and “’stacking’ of awards”

* “substantial investment” in digital teaching pedagogy and learning research, approaches and technology

The old live lecture won’t be enough

On the weekend NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet joined the hurrampathon about universities not opening on-campus classes fast enough

It’s a bad look for universities that look like they want to keep zooming when they don’t have to and the sooner tutes, pracs and the like are live and in-person the less reasons conservative will have to criticise.

But lectures are a problem – in fact two.

Problem one is that when students can attend live lecture plenty don’tMarnie Hughes-Warrington once tracked lecture attendance at ANU and found numbers declined 35-45 per cent across a semester (CMM July 9 2015). A legion of lecturers empathised with Adrian Raftery (Deakin U) when he famously photographed an absolutely empty lecture-room, complaining no students at all had turned up to his lecture on estate law, (CMM July 13 2017). Universities can talk till they go woad in the face that students are engaging with lectures on-line and it will not stop criticism of the where-are-the-students kind.

The solution is problem two. Mitch Parsell (U Tas) points out, “good reasons for keeping lectures tend to be focussed on students—how we can or should interact with our students in real-time face-to-face sessions. If the lecture could talk perhaps it would say: ‘I’m not dead! I’m just different! I’ve and now I feel much more confident in making friends and building (learning) relationships!” (CMM April 11 2021).

Good-o, but teachers who spent last year getting everything on-line might pause at the prospect of making-over their live lectures.

Management change at Murdoch U (again)

Last October the two academic colleges, Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences and Science, Health, Engineering and Education lost their own PVCs, replaced by a single pro vice chancellor in charge of both, backed by a business management director, (CMM October 28).

In February the deans of learning and teaching and academic operations in the College of Science and etc both left (CMM February 23).

Then in May the one PVC position went, replaced by a DVC Colleges role (CMM May 13).

And yesterday more changes were announced. The dean academic operations position goes and two executive dean posts are created.

The deans learning and teaching “have expanded accountabilities” with curriculum coordinators reporting to them. And the business management director becomes director, strategy and operations. But the dean research and innovation, loses the latter.

Apparently, this is about, “creating greater capacity for the executive to lead and management people and processes.”


(Small amounts) of money translate research

While the feds commission a study of how best to make research translation the NSW Government gets on with it

The second Research and Development Innovation Districts Challenge winners are announced (sadly where they are, is not revealed). Winners include;

* Adiano which was nominated by CSIRO and has $250 000 in seed-funding for a logistics “optimisation and simulation” engine

* Arludo has $100 000 to develop mobile apps and games to teach STEM, in collaboration with UNSW

* Kleu Australia receives $30 000 to work with Uni Wollongong on a “business tool” to support wellbeing of customer service teams

There are also $10 000 grants for local heroes in the various districts including the HE community’s own StudyMove, (“data reporting solutions for education institutions around the world”).

Achievements: the Queen’s Birthday Honours List

The Companion (AC) and Officer(AO) awards include the following HE and research people (with apologies to anybody missed)

Kurt Lambeck, earth sciences, ANU becomes an AC

The AOs are

Mark Bartold, dentistry, Uni Adelaide. Adrian Bauman, chronic pain, Uni Sydney. Colin Binns, public health, Curtin U.

Patrick Coates, renal medicine, Uni Adelaide. Stephen Davis, stroke research, Uni Melbourne. Susan Fletcher, molecular medicine, Murdoch U. Ian Freckelton, health and medical law, Uni Melbourne.

Paul Glasziou evidenced-based medicine, Bond U. Donald Howie, orthopaedics, Uni Adelaide. Evans Lagudah, wheat genetics, CSIRO.

Jane McAdam, refugee law, UNSW. Michael McDaniel, Indigenous tertiary education, UTS. Geoffrey Metz, medicine, Uni Melbourne. Leonard Notaras, medical administration, National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre.

Robert Offord, cultural studies and human rights, Curtin U. Suzanne Packer, ANU, child protection. Lester Peters, radiation oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Carol Pollock, nephrology, Uni Sydney.

Stephen Rintoul, climate science, CSIRO. Richard Scolyer, melanoma research, Uni Sydney. Alan Trounson, IVF, Monash U. Anne Twomey, constitutional law, Uni Sydney. James Willams, physical sciences, ANU. Stephen Wilton, neurological science, Murdoch U.