Ticket to ride for UNSW

The university is pleased indeed with Sydney’s new light-rail line

The line, opening Saturday (with a second branch in the new year) will connect the Kensington campus to the Sydney rail-system and CBD.

“UNSW proudly welcomes this more efficient and environmentally sustainable transport option,” the uni announces. This is a big and free, win for the university a vast improvement on the fleet of lumbering busses that transport students from Sydney’s Central rail station

But as free riding goes it does not compare to Macquarie U’s good fortune, now on a metro-line servicing its north-shore/north-west heartland – with a cross-harbour rail tunnel and a connection to Sydney’s southwest in 2024. Western Sydney U is also on track for mass-transit, with light rail and a new western metro planned to service some of its campuses. It must be giving Uni Sydney management conniptions – with campus a solid walk from an over-capacity Redfern rail station.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning;

Amanda Henderson (CQU) on how to improve student work-placement learning, ask them. It’s a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

And Anthony Tuckett (Uni Queensland) marks the Schwartz nursing education review a distinction.

Govt backs AQF review

The government has accepted all higher education recommendations in Peter Noonan and colleagues’ review of the Australian Qualifications Review

And it backs the proposals for VET, which require state and territory support.  Professor Noonan (Victoria U) and colleagues propose a simpler hierarchy for knowledge and skills recognition and clearer pathways across training and higher education (CMM October 24).

While a new AQF will put VET on the centre of the post-school stage with higher education, Universities Australia was quick to back the government yesterday. “The aim of this review was really to bring the framework into the 21st century so it better aligns student skills and capabilities under each qualification type. …  In the future, many more Australians will take advantage of life-long learning, with some university and some VET study. It is encouraging to see policy settings revised with that flexibility in mind.”

The Australian Technology Network also supports the government’s response; saying backing Noonan, “provides a platform for future tertiary education reform.”

“Peter Noonan and his fellow reviewers have put in place a sound platform for future reform which will support skilling and re-skilling for lifelong learning.”

Where medical research funding goes

The National Health and Medical Research Council released $437m in research funding on Saturday – maybe they hoped nobody would notice the 11 per cent success rate for the $240m Ideas Grants programme.

Saturday’s figures likely complete 2019 funding (unless the NHMRC is gift-wrapping an announcement for Christmas Eve).  So, the YTD figures show how universities and research institutes did this year.

Where the money will go: All up, the NHMRC allocated $884m in competitive grants this year, supporting research at 48 of 71 applying institutions. Universities and MRIs collecting $10m plus (rounded) are;

* Monash U $148m * Uni Melbourne $135m * Uni Sydney $81.3m * UNSW $82.5m * Uni Queensland $64m * Walter and Eliza Hall $37m * UWA $33m *QMIR Berghofer MRI $24m * Uni Newcastle $23m * Uni Adelaide $21m * Murdoch Children’s RI $17m * Flinders U $15m * Menzies School of HR $15m * Deakin U $14m * Macquarie U $14m * Uni SA $13m* Uni Tas $13m * ANU $12m * Griffith U $12m * James Cook U $11m * Curtin U $10m.

The top five institutions received just under 60 per cent of funding.

Best return on application investment: Success rates for institutions winning more than ten grants success rates are; * Menzies School of Health Research 44 per cent * Walter and Eliza Hall 20 per cent * Deakin U 17 per cent * Monash U 15 per cent * ANU 14 per cent * Flinders U 14 per cent * Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 14 per cent * QIMR Berghofer MI 15 per cent * Uni Adelaide 9 per cent * Uni Melbourne 16 per cent * Uni Newcastle 14 per cent * UNSW 13 per cent * Uni Sydney 12 per cent      * Uni Queensland 13 per cent * Uni SA 12 per cent * Uni WA 12 per cent

How this translates for researchers: Not real well, the success rate for all 2019 competitive grant applications is 13.2 per cent. Some 13.1 per cent of projects with women as chief investigators were funded, 13.3 per cent for men.

The business of journal ranking

The new Australian Business Deans Council journal ranking is out, ending an assessment process on the agenda for way over two years (CMM August 28 2017).

The new list is the work of seven expert panels, which added 157 journals and dropped 241 which were on the 2016 list.

All up, the A* category has the least journals (199), 7.4 per cent and C (982) the most, 36.6 per cent. “A feature of journal ranking lists is often a certain stickiness. It is undoubtedly easier to upgrade journals than to downgrade them. … The ABDC has sought to be vigilant on this, particularly when it comes to the A* category; some journals have gone up and others down, but the proportion of A*s on the List has roughly remained the same,” the council; reports. The econometrics category is judged high quality, with 20 per cent of 32 journals ranked A.* “Other economics” has 69 per cent of 100 rated journals rated C.

Big earners: top five unis ample incomes

Frank Larkins sets-out just how much money Monash U, uni Melbourne, NSW, Queensland and Sydney make

Professor Larkins (Uni Melbourne) explores deep in the weeds of university performance and comes out with extraordinary information on institutions’ performance, for example. On research (CMM May 1and October 24 2017) gender divide (CMM October 3 2018) international student markets ( CMM August 1 2018)  and funding for student places. (CMM July 26 2016 ).

He’s back from his last exploration, with details of how much money Monash U, unis Melbourne, NSW, Queensland and Sydney make and how it distinguishes them from the other universities.

How much money: Less buckets than Syharbs of money, (all in 2018 dollars). Last year the five’s revenue was $11.77bn, up 40.3 per cent on 2009. In comparison, all other university incomes increased from $25.5bn to $33bn – a 32.8 per cent increase. Over ’09-’18 the Fabulous Five increased their share of sector income by nearly two per cent, to 34.7 per cent.

Uni Melbourne was the biggest increased earner, up from $1.85bn to $2.66bn, followed by Monash U – $1.76bn to $2.51bn and UNSW, $1.46 to $2.13bn.

Annual operating results vary due to policy (say using discretionary income to increase research resources) and investment cycles, accounting in some part for the spread in surpluses. They range from Uni Queensland marginally in deficit in 2016 to Uni Sydney’s $270m profit in 2013.

Where’s it coming from: From staff productivity in a considerable part. Revenue per staff member grew between 2009 and 2018 in a range of 13 per cent at Uni Queensland and 21 per cent at Monash U. The all-university figure is 7 per cent.

But not so much from students, with revenue growth not matching increases in student numbers. While Uni Sydney increased revenue by EFTSL by 9 per cent and UNSW by 5 per cent, the other three went backwards on the 2009 figure, Uni Queensland dropped 5 per cent and Monash and Uni Melbourne 2 per cent. The overall-system figure was down 3 per cent.

And this could be a worry: “The fact that for some universities revenue growth has not matched student load growth is a serious matter with the potential to erode the quality of the Australian higher education student experience,” Professor Larkins writes.

Appointments, achievements

Sandra Eades is appointed dean of Curtin U’s medical school. The university states Professor Eades, a Noongar woman, is the first Indigenous dean of an Australian medical school.  She joins from the University of Melbourne.

La Trobe U’s staff awards include;

Early-career research: Kirsty Forsdike, Amy Baxter, Kirsty Forsdike, Amy Baxter,

Mid career-research: Keir Strickland, Christian Barton

Research impact: Anita Smith

Research supervision: Caixian Tang

Learning and teaching: * Siann Bowman, * Andrea Maree Bruder, * The Social Policy Seven (Dianne Cox, Sarah Maclean, Darran Stonehouse, Chris Horsell, Sian Anderson, Kathleen Maltzahn, Laura Meese) *Person-Centred Physiotherapy Team (Sally Mastwyk, Rachael McAleer) * Lachlan McDonald-Kerr * Data Analytics Team (Kok-Leong Ong, Damminda Alahaakoon, Daswin De Silva * Pharmacology Teaching Team (Ross O’Shea, Elvan Djouma) * LT U – PSB Academy (Singapore) academic support (Jenny Selkirk-Bell, Yeliz Bogley)

Teacher of the year: Siann Bowman

Staff giving: * VC office, * Mildura campus

Customer service: Corina Modderman, Mujahid Sharif, Fung Lay, Kenn Wilson, Ash Ryan

Cultural qualities: * Mithless Meena, * Regional marketing and sales team, * Evelien Spelten * My La Trobe student comms team * Jessica Price, * Karen Henderson * Jessica Price and Karen Henderson * Student Services & Administration, Chief Financial and Operations Officer * Centre for Higher Education, Equity and Diversity analytics CHEEDR   * Sejal Kendal * Graduate Research School Leadership