If you’ve got ‘em, flaunt ‘em

Opponents are already writing the ATAR’s eulogy but not at the University of Melbourne, where the ranking rates as marketing. Vic ATARs are announced on Friday, when the university will hold a media-event for “many of Victoria’s highest-achieving VCE students” who will receive a chancellor’s scholarship.

More superstars of STEM

It’s superstars of STEM day, with Science Minister Karen Andrews announcing 60 inspiring women scientists, technologists and teachers. President of Science and Technology Australia, Emma Johnston says the 60 new stars, following the 30 announced in 2017, will help smash the stereotype of a scientist as “an old man in a white coat.” All 60 new stars are listed in CMM Features this morning.

Where to work the week at UniCanberra

There’s an outrageathon at the University of Canberra, over the Faculty of Education wanting staff to be on campus four days a week.

In August education dean Geoff Riordan emailed staff to thank those who “have responded positively to the expectation about attending four days a week,” but added, “some issues have arisen with staff who have not done this, with others who have but only for a short time each day, and more generally about people’s availability … “

“I would like to reiterate the attendance expectation and ask that you let me know if you are working off campus and your contact details and to seek approval if you have a case for being off campus for more than one day per week. This information will be recorded in the faculty office,” Professor Riordan added.

This, the National Tertiary Education Union says, “on the face of it conflicts with the principle of academic self-management” and the matter may end up in the Fair Work Commission. “If this direction is allowed to stand it could be implemented in other faculties and could allow managers to extend this direction to five days per week,” the union warns.

However, Uni Canberra management says the four day a week rule only applies to teaching periods, “at other times staff are on leave, working on their research, attending conferences and engaging in other academic activities both on and off campus. This expectation has been communicated to staff for several years.”  Perhaps the union missed the memo and, as management tells CMM, it is all a misunderstanding.

Back in July La Trobe U raised an on-campus five days a week rule for academic staff rule (CMM July 6). It went within days.

Just the ticket: a travel restructure at USQ

They like a restructure at the University of Southern Queensland, with the new one, of the travel office, the fifth this year, on CMM’s count. The change is needed because a system introduced in 2014 turned out to be rubbish, “resulting in frustration for both travellers and staff supporting the travel function.” So, management proposes a replacement which will, “create a more empowering and motivated staff travel experience.”  There is no mention of any impact on travel-staff or any change to frequent flyer points.

Not happening, at least not before the election

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations is appalled (that’s appalled!) that coalition senator James McGrath has given notice of a bill to abolish the compulsory services fee universities collect from students (CMM yesterday).

“This is the latest move by the government to signal their ideological opposition to universities,” CAPA complains. It certainly is an ideological move by the senator, but the government probably less, not so much, as not at all. When the senate returns in February it will but three months to the election and the government will be giving priority to legislation with titles like “a bill for an act to be nice to everybody”.

Seasonal “who knews?” of the day

People could be putting their health at risk if they over-indulge and do less physical activity during the festive season,” the University of Southern Queensland warns. Not to worry, USQ has experts available to comment.

UWA also has an expert on-hand to explain the importance of presents that get kids playing outdoors.

Informal training and unrecorded skills

Over 80 per cent of Australian employers provide unaccredited staff training and the 50 per cent that don’t undertake it internally use private providers (20 per cent), industry associations (14 per cent) and industry/equipment suppliers (11 per cent). TAFE barely rates mention.  A new study by Ian White, Navinda De Silva, and Toni Rittie for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research, finds employers do this because unaccredited training meets their needs and is easier to manage than the formal training system.

“Employers have consistently rated satisfaction with unaccredited training significantly higher than with nationally recognised training and with the training to apprentices and trainees provided through the VET system,” the report states.

Good for employers, less so for workers, who get no documented credit for acquiring portable skills – which has to be an opportunity.

NCVER CEO Simon Walker suggests the forthcoming Australian Qualifications Framework review, “may go some way towards formal recognition for unaccredited training.” Deakin U is already onto it, certifying informally acquired marketing skills as professional practise credentials. A Deakin U subsidiary has launched a programme with the Australian Institute of Marketing (CMM November 19).

All quiet on the Ramsay Western Civ Front, this week

The Ramsay Centre for the Study of Western Civilisation is saying nothing, as usual, this week, saying only, “discussions are continuing with a number of universities.” And the universities of Sydney and Queensland, which have talked with the Ramsay Centre, are sepulchral in their silence.

But with campuses emptying out for the summer, long-time observers of Ramsay’s search for university partners suggest an announcement over the next couple of weeks would be well-timed. Make that announcements.

Appointments, achievements

Environmental scientist, Ceridwen Fraser is leaving ANU for the University of Otago, and she is taking her research group with her. “UoO is a university with particular strengths in Antarctic, marine and evolutionary science, so is a perfect fit for our research programme,” Dr Fraser said last night.

Liz Dallimore is appointed director of the new WA Data Science Innovation Hub, based at Curtin U. Dr Dallimore joins from KPMG.

University of Sydney business dean Greg Whitwell is the new chair of the CEMS alliance. CEMS is an international partnership of academic and corporate institutions, which is “committed to preparing the next generation of business leaders.” UniSyd is the only Australian member.

Bronwyn Fox (Swinburne U) has won the Global Congress on Manufacturing and Management’s 2018 research leadership award.