Features

If you’d love to have a beer with David

David Lloyd will be in Tamworth Thursday-Friday, busking at the country music festival. Partner Mandy sings and he plays guitar. “Got to pay the bills,” the University of South Australia VC says.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, ATSE President and global ICT guru Hugh Bradlow casts an expert eye over what’s going on in the technosphere.

Huawei’s (small) role in research  

UK media report claim Oxford University has put research sponsorship from high-tech Huawei on hold, but here it’s business as usual – just not much of it.

Huawei is a partner in an Australia Research Council Linkage project announced the other week. Curtin U information scientist Xiangyu Wang is lead investigator on “asset intelligence” research to “maximise the operational effectiveness maintenance, repair and rehabilitation planning of infrastructure assets.” With Huawei on the project also  are Griffith University, QUT, Western Sydney U, Main Roads Western Australia,  Aurecon Australasia, the University of Washington and Chongqing Normal University.

But this is about it for Huawei and the ARC now. Between 2003 and this year the name Huawei has appeared on just six ARC projects – and one of them was Huawei Zhao a co-lead investigator on a 2003 grant to the University of Queensland on a medical imaging project.

The other four involved the company, another Curtin U IT analysis of infrastructure projects in 2016, UNSW research in machine-machine comms, also in 2016, similar work at the University of Sydney in 2015 and a second medical imaging grant to UoQ, in 2003.

Quick, hide!

“We’re looking for an executive director, quality assurance and regulatory operations to join TEQSA,” the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency, via Twitter, Friday, You are warned.

Bized absent on UK VC CVs

Half of UK vice chancellors have STEM backgrounds, while just 8 per cent are bized academics or have been a business dean. “Business schools are sometimes perceived as almost autonomous and therefore sitting outside of the faculty structure. Whilst this can help business schools be nimble, innovative and competitive, it isn’t always helpful in facilitating the progression from business school dean to other senior roles, the Chartered Association of Business Schools reports.

Uni South Australia sets out for 2025

David Lloyd has plans for the University of South Australia and with a contract extension to 2025 he has the time to make them happen.  

What’s coming: David Lloyd is building new enterprises at the University of South Australia, with the new on-line course initiative set to expand and a transformative course model about to enter development.

It’s enough work to take the VC through the length of his contract, just extended to 2025, and more than ample to enact his idea of a university of enterprise, with academic programmes created and delivered  by staff across disciplines. “I want us to have a proper position of enterprise – people work for the university, not in the school f x or the department of y,” he says.

They are both ambitious, but anticipated initiatives. UniSA has long been a distance educator, recently via Open Universities Australia, and the idea of a academic programmes, taught by staff across the university, has been discussed for a couple of years. But now expanding on-line is underway and a senior staff conference next month will start discussing the new course model.

On-line expansion: The university’s increased on-line commitment is significant. UniSA offers three UG and two PG courses via Open Universities Australia, but launched last year 11 degree under its own banner in IT, business and health (CMM September 5 2017). A “growing suite of programmes tailored for mid-career changes,” the VC says.

While they are existing degrees, content is being rebuilt for digital delivery. “We are really determined to make it the best quality you can get in an on-line environment.” It sounds expensive and while Lloyd will not quote figures he does say “it’s not an insignificant amount – you don’t do this half-baked. We are really determined to make it the best quality you can get in an on-line environment.”

The university is looking to have 25 per cent of students studying online by 2025, growing overall enrolments from 32 000 now to 40 000. Australians ex SA already account for two-thirds of students, with international markets being targeted in the next 12 months.

But Lloyd rejects the suggestion that international on-line is an unavoidable alternative to a stagnant SA market. For a start, this year is the bottom of the state’s demographic curve and he is big on the state’s prospects, “all the universities are growing.”  Rather the appeal of on-line is, “there are no boundaries on what we deliver.”

Disciplines boundaries to go: Breaking boundaries is the foundation of the other plan to transform UniSA by 2025. The idea of creating cross-disciplinary academic programmes is not new to the university, in development for 18 months. As Professor Lloyd puts it, in the strategic plan; “academic programs will draw on expertise from across the institution for their delivery – the best input contributing to the best offerings through curriculum communities.”

But the change to come has been mistaken around the Adelaide traps as a cost-cut. Lloyd is adamant this is not so “it’s not about savings, it is about reorienting the way we do business.”

And now the university community is about to start working on ways to implement the academic-programme focused staff structure this will require, with courses crossing traditional discipline-based organisation boundaries. A reorganisation around programmes is on the agenda for the senior staff conference in a fortnight with an announcement in six months.

Soutphommasane starts at UniSydney

Tim Soutphommasane’s term as race discrimination commissioner concluded at the end of 218. He starts today at the University of Sydney as a professor of practice in sociology and political theory.

This is jointly appointed by the social and political sciences school and the university business school. Professor Soutphommasane will also work with the VC’s office, on the university’s culture strategy.

Times Higher for sale

Most of the TES Group, which provides news, recruitment and training for teachers was bought in December by asset-manager Providence Equity Partners. The bit that wasn’t is the university-focused journalism, conference and rankings provider Times Higher Education which is said to be for sale separately. There was talk in November that RELX, owner of journal-giant Elsevier was looking to buy THE, but apart for a   “nothing to see here” announcement there is silence on the deal.

Appointments

The Australian Research Data Commons has two new independent directors. Anne-Marie Lansdown (Universities Australia) and Toni Moate (CSIRO).

Yves Bréchet is joining Monash U’s engineering faculty part-time, following six years as France’s high commissioner for atomic energy and alternative energies. Professor Bréchet’s previous appointment was 20 years as professor of material science at the Grenoble Institute of Technology.