Short and pointedly to the point

CQUniversity VC Scott Bowman announces the departure of yet another dean on Thursday. “I am writing to advise that Professor Euan Lindsay, Dean of Engineering and Technology, will be departing CQUniversity today. Professor William Guo will take on the role of Dean commencing tomorrow, Friday 24 January.” Yes that’s it. And no, nobody is adding anything.

 Choice experts choose UniSA

I hear the University of South Australia is expanding its business research capacity. The word is that it is hiring staff from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for the Study of Choice. However it seems they will stay in Sydney (at UniSA’s new Walker Street North Sydney office is my guess). No one is talking on the record but sources at both universities say an announcement is due in a couple of weeks. If I’m right (and well connected business academics say I am)  this is a big deal for UniSA – Censoc includes some hugely important thinkers, Jordan Louviere for one. With Byron Sharp’s Ehrenberg Bass Marketing Science Centre it provides UniSA with intellectual firepower way ahead of bigger name business schools.

Dr Sheldon Cooper will love this

Our Oh Please! correspondent reports that RiAus, Australia’s (self described) “national science hub” is touring a stage show “exploring scientific mysteries raised by Doctor Who”, including “time travel, regeneration, teleportation and just why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside” plus the audience gets to consider “which Doctor Who alien will take over the universe.” “Scientific mysteries huh?” The only one I can identify is why a serious science information agency is involved. Unless of course it is for a cut of the $60 or so ticket price. And there I was thinking the Big Bang Theory is fiction – the audience for the Dr Who show will be thousands of Sheldons, Rajs, Howards and Leonards. I suspect the real Pennys will give it a miss.

 When bubblers attack

Thanks to the reader who sent me a pic of the water fountain she walked into while reading CMM’s Friday piece on research warning about the dangers of texting on the move. I am sure it was one of those mobile bubblers that never indicate in traffic.

Information makes markets

Why demand driven funding reviewer Andrew Norton was not originally inclined to see submissions released escape me, many are a cut above the average special pleading. As one veteran observer points out, the Australian Catholic University supports its argument that demand driven funding fosters change and competition with an excellent review of the state of the system. It includes the sort of information that consultants charge real money to assemble. I am also impressed with the accounting lobby’s case. For a start, accountants being the balanced sort of citizens they are, the document makes the case that deregulating quantity makes no market without allowing price competition. But they also understand that a market cannot exist without buyers having access to information. And so the submission calls on government to “publicly disclose graduate perceptions of course learning outcomes both just before graduation and five years after graduation; and publicly disclose most recent benchmarked data on achievement of course learning outcomes.”

Learning online learning

So much for my suggesting that somebody would start a MOOC on running MOOCs – they already have. From balmy Montreal Gavin Moodie reported that a Georgia Tech course on MOOCs via Coursera was pulled after a week this time last year due to design problems. Another reader pointed me to a webinar for aspiring MOOC mavens run by Canvas “the new, open-source learning management system that’s revolutionizing the way we educate,” or so it says. And “bores users stupid in the process,” I reply.

From where?

Andrew Parfitt had a piece puffing the University of Newcastle in that city’s Herald on Friday – it was tagged “opinion” but it was all gush – explaining the virtues of higher education in general and those of the local campus in particular. What wasn’t explained is that Professor Parfitt is DVC Academic there.  Sure you could work out from the text he is a big fan, still a by-line (at least on the online version I read) would not have hurt.

Prescription for persistence

Just because Australia has plenty of doctors does not mean we need no more, according to Charles Sturt University, which never misses a chance to promote its proposed Murray Darling Medical School. Last week the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s  report on the medical workforce reported the number of practitioners grew from 349.9 per 100 000 people in 2008 to 374.1 last year (GP numbers only grew by 2.5 per cent – but this low increase appears due to changes in reporting categories). Whatever, there is a case, which many in the industry make, that we need no more. Except that the ratio of doctors to patients is around one to 100 worse in the country than in major metro areas. According to Kim Webber (from the yet to exist) MDMS the only way to deal with this is to train more doctors in the country. Of course existing medical schools, notably at the universities of Sydney and UNSW argue they already do this but MDMS advocates argue it will have a curriculum conceived in the bush for the bush. This is not an argument that will end for as long as National Party MPs and senators sit on the government benches.

Arriving in interesting times

John Dewar is the new head of the Innovative Research Universities lobby. The La Trobe VC takes over from Barney Glover who has moved to head the unaligned University of Western Sydney. It will be a big year for higher education, Professor Dewar says, what with the reports of the Commission of Audit and the Demand Driven Funding Review ahead of the budget. Not to mention La Trobe’s long-awaited restructure.