Nothing to fear from the feds

Unis appear outside the scope of the new national corruption agency, not getting a mention in the bills

If so, it’s a change from the previous government’s proposed integrity commission, which was intended covered universities and federal research agencies (CMM November 4 2020).

Agencies will still there, as presumably will be ANU, established under federal legislation – but as for universities with state acts, all they have to worry about is their local ICAC.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Peter Woelert (Uni Melbourne) on administration burdens in universities – the where and why and what can be done. “What may look like increased administrative efficiency if one looks from the top-down may actually look considerably less so the case if one looks from the bottom-up,” he writes

plus Brett Mason has written a book on the achievements of great Aus scientists, Florey and Oliphant. John Byron (QUT) rates it, really rates it – HERE.

with the Australian Collaborative Education Network Board on stakeholder engagement in the next strategy for work integrated learning. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and in Expert Opinion

Brett Mason talks about his new book on the achievements of Florey and Oliphant (episode 17 HERE)

plus Virginia Barbour (Open Access Australasia) on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s big open access move, (episode 16) HERE .


The rankings biz

Readers with a firm view on bized journal rankings have to Monday night to let the Australian Business Deans Council know

That’s when it’s journal quality review concludes.

The review covers new publications, exclusions (irrelevant, “overly aggressive”) and name changes.

Alas for editors who think an existing ranking does them wrong, this is not on the agenda.

The ABDC likes to keep its ranking in-shape. Last year the council asked constituents whether having it was worth all the effort (CMM June 24 2021).

Some researchers who aren’t in mass market fields might think it was a good question, given what’s on the agenda at the Macquarie U business school, (scroll down).

And the award for understatement goes to …

The Australian Research Council,for its launch of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems

Apparently the centre will, “revolutionise technology as we know it.”

“Research milestones achieved by this team will underpin technology that helps make self-driving vehicles a reality, allow doctors to receive real-time images from inside patients at a cellular level, develop moving holograms from smartphones and make Wi-Fi a thousand times faster.”

All that for just $34.9m over seven years from the ARC.

The hard part in enterprise bargaining

That stage is reached in enterprise bargaining, where managements have had it with union negotiators and want to pitch their offer direct to staff

At Uni Sydney there’s been an open webinar and Australian Catholic U, COO Stephen Weller has sent the university’s proposed agreement, (fair, balanced and sustainable”) to all staff.

No harm in trying – the National Tertiary Education Union and those representing some general staff don’t have that many members at universities (the electoral roll for the NTEU  at Uni Sydney has 2200). But many more staff listen to the unions on wages and conditions. Universities that put offers on to staff votes  that unions oppose, generally lose. (Victoria U went down in a heap on two votes in the last enterprise agreement negotiation (CMM February 6 and 25 2019)

And at Uni Sydney, in the last bargaining round then VC Michael Spence asked staff if they wanted to vote on management’s offer or for negotiations with unions to continue. Some 61 per cent of the 4000 people who voted in the vote about voting wanted negotiations to continue, which they did (CMM September 7 2017).

Economics’ diversity problem

In a speech at Macquarie U yesterday the Reserve Bank’s Jacqui Dwyer set out the numbers and offers very economics answers

Dr Dwyer pointed out that at school there are nearly twice as many young men studying economics as women. And at university the discipline is dominated by high SES students.

The risk, she warns, is whether “the current profile of enrolments – with its significantly reduced diversity – will diminish the health of the discipline and the quality of future public policymaking.”

The problems are both demand and supply side.

In schools what is taught interests more men than women and less advantaged students in general. “These students don’t realise that economics is for them – and could empower them to contribute to debate, even policy, about issues of interest or concern,” she states.

And there needs to be more economics out there, more economics-trained teachers in schools, more relevance to students lives in curricula, more awareness in education institutions about how economics contributes to, “economic literacy in society, a more effective citizenry and the design of good public policy.”

As to solutions, “relentless advocacy and targeted interventions” is required.

“There is perhaps much to be learned from other disciplines that have already confronted a decline in engagement and are reversing it.”

Monash U’s consistent sell

The university is surveying alumni on what it can do for them, including help them give it money

Particularly in donations to Monash preferred activities, “to support thriving communities and geopolitical security,”  “ground-breaking medical research,” “scholarship support” and “meaningful action on climate change.”

They are all on-message the university’s student recruitment brand, which warns the world will be in bad shape (what with climate change and all) but Monash U is here to help.

The sell appears to succeed, the university reports 47 new bequests, “a record” in 2021, to the “Change It. For Good. Campaign.

The masthead is the message

The Macquarie U business school wants to lift research performance, at least as measured by, “fostering publication in the top international and management journals”

Staff are now briefed on how this is to be done, with funding for research support tied to a points scheme.

Articles in top rating journals on the Australian Bus Deans, Financial Times and MU’s own lists score three points in one, or even two years. But appearing in lesser pubs is worth no, or even negative points.

Good o – except for researchers whose work has a local focus – the issues that are important in the Australian economy don’t matter to editors of the big US-focused journals. And except for researchers working on ideas outside the existing orthodoxies.

Appointments achievements

The Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities new board is,

president: Nick Bisley (La Trobe U). VP: Robert Greenberg (Uni Auckland). treasurer: Matt McGuire (Western Sydney U). secretary: Heather Zwicker (Uni Queensland). NZ officer: Cynthia White (Massey U). members: Kate Darian-Smith (U Tasmania), Lori Lockyer (QUT), Deborah Gare (Murdoch U)

Susan Emery (Uni SA) wins the Women in Games award for games/esports educator