TEQSA loses PG (for pedagogical guidance) rating but changes channel

“A bot appears to have overtaken our  hashtag and is posting explicit content. We are working with Twitter on this matter, and sincerely apologise for any offence this has caused.” The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency conference organisers via (ahem) Twitter 4pm yesterday. The conference switched #.

It takes a campus …

As fires picked up in its region yesterday Southern Cross U re-opened the evacuation centre on its Lismore campus

On behalf of the university community, we acknowledge the incredible hard work and dedication of our Rural Fire Service volunteers and other front line support agencies,” SCU added. Correct response.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Part Four of Dobson and Mulder’s series on the international alumni opportunity,  here.

Lambert Schuwirth (Flinders U) on the five deadly disruptions universities have a decade to deal with here.

Commissioning editor Sally Kift on Connectedness 2.0 – the best chance for all in higher education, here.

Western Sydney U in the market for a new DVC

Recruiting follows senior DVC Scott Holmes departure a month or so back

The last time CMM heard of Professor Holmes he had just abseiled down WSU’s Parramatta tower-block for a fundraiser (CMM September 5).

The new hire will pick-up most of his portfolio, research, engagement, development and international (with 16 direct reports). “The role will have a major external focus in representing the university and as required the vice chancellor,” VC Barney Glover says.

Denise Kirkpatrick is now acting.

Group of Eight backs free trade for research and education

The parliament has passed FTA legislation with Indonesia and the Go8 is pleased

The coalition and Labor in the Senate combined to pass the enabling legislation for the free trade agreements with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong (as distinct from the PRC agreement) the other day.

But it was not for want of opposition from Greens and cross-benchers, persistently presented by Senator Steele-John (Greens WA).

Unlike the senator, the Group of Eight is pleased indeed with the legislation. “The value of FTAs cannot be underestimated,” CEO Vicki Thomson says. “(They) will build on our capacity to engage extensively with international partners, in our region, and around the world.”

Notably with Indonesia; the eighth largest international education market for Australia.  The Go8 is very keen on Indonesia and wants to see each nation able to establish campuses in the other, encouragement for more Indonesians to study here and research links to address the Indonesian perception that the US and Europe is where the research action is (CMM September 3).

No-worries Wheaties at Macquarie U

Management invites staff to “unwind a little a little” at an “informal breakfast,” today week

It’s “an opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated hard work across the university, particularly as we face challenging times along the way,” Vice Chancellor S Bruce Dowton says.

Not that staff worried about having any work next year under the VC’s plans to close a faculty and the review of fixed-term renewals have much to unwind about.

Discovering the high-impact of hard-contact sport

Uni Newcastle and Harvard U researchers are combing in “one of the world’s largest studies of brain health and head injuries in collision sport veterans”

The programme will study retired Rugby League professionals and is expected to run for decades.

The National Rugby League will provide $1m in initial funding for on-going work on how concussion effects brain and mental-health in later life.

U Tas charm offensive

Not everybody in Hobart is thrilled with the U Tas plan to move a bunch of functions from Sandy Bay to the city

So, Vice Chancellor Rufus Black has convened a two-day “appreciative inquiry” with the community to talk about “what it will mean to create a city which is more equitable, prosperous and sustainable”.

“The outputs of this event will help inform master planning, helping to shape the social, architectural and environmental character of the new Hobart city campus.”

It might take more than two days, not everybody on Hobart thinks the university will be good for city life. Back in April novelist Richard Flanagan op-eded in the local paper, “the interests of the university are not necessarily the same of those of Hobart and its citizens, and we should not believe the university when they say they are,” (CMM April 23).

Dolt of the Day

Is CMM, who did not report yesterday Monash U ranks 48th on the new MoocLab ranking of products from Coursera, edX and FutureLearn

QUT awards lead appointments, achievements

Peter Noonan (Victoria U) receives the Vice Chancellor’s Career Achievement Award

Andreas Strasser and David Vaux (Walter and Eliza Hall) win the CSL Florey Medal for their research on cell death triggers in treating cancer

 The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education announces its 2020 fellows

* David Eckstein (Swinburne U) * Tim Pitman (Curtin U), * Janine Delahunty (Uni Wollongong) * Andrea Simpson (La Trobe U)

QUT announces the VC awards for excellence

David Gardiner Teacher of the Year: James Duffy

Leadership: * Megan Campbell * Christopher Barner-Kowollik * Paula Dootson, Louise Hafner

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island leadership: Ali Drummond

Partnerships and engagement: * Anup Basu * Cassandra Cross * Giving Day Team (Phoebe Escott-Kenny, Claudia Steiner, Kimberley Hellberg, Ben Nicoll) * Cherbourg-QUT basic first aid programme (Debbie Duthie, Mark Brough, Jo Stephens):

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence: * Melanie Saward * Bianca Hill-Jarro * Fiona Smallwood

Student learning and research: * Michael Mu, * Design for social impact (James Macaulay, Deanna Meth, Dean Brough, Melanie Finger)

Innovation and creative practice: * Aso Hajirasouli * Research Management Systems Upgrade/Business Process Management (Janne Barnes, Jeremy Gibson, Kanika Goel, Wasana Bandara) * Room 17 Goes Large ( Michael Whelan, Donna Hancox, Yanto Browning, Freya Wright-Brough, Emma-Lee Steindl, Moss McGregor, Sarah Stanke)

Service excellence: * Bree Smith *Kathryn Cameron * Tim Buckley * QUT Sport (Paula Stuart, Nicole Clayton, Michael Jordan, Adele Rose, Jacob Argent, Nicholas Lynch, Dylan Poulus, Casey Sims, Tom Fisher)

Teaching and research: * Ben Mathews, * Margaret Brereton, * Judith Howard

Student as partner: Lewis Holmes

What TEQSA will act on

The peak agency specifies four big issues – including international students’ English standards and course progression

TEQSA chief Anthony McClaran set the tone for the agency’s annual conference yesterday, detailing achievements – some more, some less. But observers say it was his focus on what it is come that engaged the above 800 audience

Mr McClaran pointed to four key issues the agency is addressing.

* academic integrity and contact cheating: TEQSA “has consistently supported” the government’s proposed legislation making contract cheating illegal. And he rejected claims that it could capture “‘moms and dads’ innocently helping out with an assignment.”

“TEQSA has neither the resources nor intention to approach the problem in this way.”

“Our focus is on support, intelligence and the spreading of good practice – not in seeking to apply punitive regulatory sanctions to providers who are doing their best to tackle an insidious – and often technologically sophisticated-problem,” Mr McClaran said.

* sexual assault and harassment: “We have continued to investigate individual cases that have been brought to us by students or their advocates, where they believe that provider policies or procedures have failed in some way. It’s important to stress that we don’t seek to second guess or re-run providers’ own procedures – but we do look to see if the alleged shortcomings constitute a failure of the duty to maintain the well-being and safety of students that are called for in the Higher Education Standards.” Mr McClaran added the agency is working on a Good Practice Note, which, “will be consistent with previous guidance on wellbeing and safety, and grievance and complaints handling, on the importance of distinguishing those serious matters that need to be referred to the police and the criminal justice system.”

* English language competency in international student admission:  Mr McClaran said TEQSA saw no evidence of a widespread failure of standards. “But we do have some concerns”.

One is the difficulty in ascertaining the basis of admissions of anything up to 60 per cent of international students at institutions.

The other, and it is one which will be carefully considered by institutions across the country, is; “are providers sure that waivers of the English language requirement have been justified by subsequent student performance?”

Mr McClaran spelt out what TEQSA would do to address this; “we are looking to see some analysis of student entry and subsequent progression for different types of conditions.”

* admissions transparency: Mr McClaran acknowledged improvements but warned some institutions have a little, or a lot, of work to do