Truth in advertising

Your future awaits,” UNSW promotes Open Day (on Saturday). The university’s Random Slogan Generator was obviously on literal truth setting.

Result the NTEU leadership wanted: Gabe Gooding wins the vote

Word is that the new national leadership of the National Tertiary Education Union has had a big win, with Gabe Gooding winning the contested election for assistant general secretary. WA state secretary Gooding is said to have picked up two-thirds of the vote, giving her a decisive win over the only other candidate, UTS branch president Vince Caughley.

Mr Caughley ran on a platform of taking a tougher line with university managements during negotiations. This was always going to be a hard-sell given Ms Gooding’s role in long and bitter enterprise bargaining with Murdoch University management. During the dispute the university launched individual legal action against Ms Gooding and a colleague, which it later withdrew, making her something of a hero among many members.

Ms Gooding will join new federal president Alison Barnes (from Macquarie U) and national secretary Matthew McGowan, who moves up from the assistant nat sec position. They were both elected unopposed.

More growth in international enrolments (shame about WA)

June international student start stats are out and overall the news is good. YTD commencements for all education sectors are up again, by 15 000 on YTD 2017, to nearly 252 000. Higher education commencements increased from 83 600 to 91 700. However, doomsayers will delight in a slowing rate of growth. HE commencements were up 12 per cent in June ’17 compared to ’16 but grew 9 per cent in 17-18.

The China market stayed strong – albeit with overall YTD commencements growing but slowing, up 6000 year on year, to 70 400, compared to a 9000 lift the previous year. HE commencement growth also slowed, at 37 924 10 per cent up on 2017, compared to a 15 per cent increase in 2016-17.

 Western Australia continues to struggle, with the lowest figure in four years across all sectors, with 15 456 YTD enrolments, down 25 00 on 2016. Higher education starts are flat-lining at 5099.

What Birmingham wants to stay on the university agenda

At time of writing Dan Tehan is the education minister but even if this does not change later today he will have less than a year over-sighting universities and other HE providers before he faces the people – which suggests he should try to finish fights already underway than start ones of his own. That certainly seems to be outgoing minister Simon Birmingham’s thinking, who nominated priority areas in his farewell statement.

So, if Mr Tehan is interested in the senator’s suggestions the HE community should expect action, or at least announcements on:

* STEM education – from schools to teacher education

* applied research – with the new impact and engagement measures of research performance due in the new year Senator Birmingham made a point of mentioning, “we have made collaboration between researchers and industry easier.”

* admissions and transparency. Minister Birmingham oversaw efforts to end the power of the impenetrable ATAR, opaque admissions schemes and high attrition rates, it appears he hopes Mr Tehan will keep an eye on all of them.

* “performance principles,” notably graduate employment.  This will likely be the one that matters most. With demand driven funding gone Senator Birmingham has tied funding for UG growth places from 2020 to as yet unannounced performance metrics.  These were promised this year and it is now up to Minister Tehan to see them through. Unless of course he sees the political sense in allocating growth places, according to the cases made by individual universities. In 2016 he secured a funding commitment for Deakin U’s struggling Warrnambool campus, which is in his electorate.

AQF for cool

Faint voices from deep within the training labyrinth report work is underway for qualifications and skill-sets in artisanal food and beverages.

This shouldn’t be hard, CMM thought “male barristas must have hipster-beards”, “female brewers wear distressed jeans” “cheese should not be green” and “soy is a food-group” would cover everything. But no, this is a long process which will take to June’19 for a quality assured and equity reviewed training package to go to endorsers. Anybody interested should go here. 

Support assists engagement

CMM advertiser Studiosity finds that students start out happy with their choice of institution but time erodes enchantment. The study support service released the full results of its annual student survey at its university conference earlier this month.  Some 78 per cent of first year respondents said they would choose their university again, which drops to 50 per cent by the fourth year of enrolments. One significant cause of the decline, Studiosity, is an absence of academic support.

“Regret is a powerful emotion that can profoundly affect one’s willingness to persevere with a course of action. … Educating students on the importance of making choices based on issues like study support, value for money and access to extracurricular activities, in addition to considering a university’s reputation or where their friends are going, is absolutely essential, ” UNSW Scientia Education Academy Director (and Studiosity advisor) Chris Tisdell says.

Canberra’s scary Naplan numbers

Critics will greet today’s new Naplan results with the usual appallathon, taking attention away from new ANU research looking at data from 2012-2016.

Law professor Andrew McIntosh and colleague Debra Wilkinson compared ACT schools and schools “in other jurisdictions” with the same socio-economic profile.

They found ACT schools were outperformed on writing and numeracy at all measured ages. Over two-thirds of results in 75 per cent of ACT government schools were below the equivalent outcomes of statistically similar schools. The outcomes were much the same in the non-government sector, with 70 per cent having a minimum 66 per cent or above of average results below equivalent schools around the country.

“Learning outcomes are not solely linked to resourcing. The ACT has some of the best resourced schools in the country but their students are still underperforming,” Mcintosh and Wilkinson write.

Appointments: big moves to UniCanberra and UoQ

Leigh Sullivan will join the University of Canberra as DVC Research and Innovation. He moves from the same role at Federation U. Professor Sullivan is a geo-chemist of substantial standing but CMM suspects a big part of his appeal to UniCanberra are his entrepreneurial skills. Fed U’s large technology park is in his portfolio there and UniCanberra has space.

Greg Winslett is the new deputy director of eLearning at UoQ’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, charged with leading “a broader institutional approach”. Dr Winslett moves from UNE.

Harald van Heerde is moving from Massey U to UNSW where he will become a professor of marketing. He publishes prolifically, with a career-long H-index of 32.

CQU honours one of the regional university alliance’s own today, conferring an hon doc on David Battersby. Professor Battersby was VC of Federation U and founding chair of the Regional Universities Network.

Achievements: UniWollongong staff awards

University of Wollongong staff awards are announced, including:

Outstanding contribution in teaching and learning: Ann Rogerson, Lynnaire Sheridan (Business), Ruth Walker (Learning, Teaching Curriculum), Emma Purdy (Academic Quality and Standards), Kristy Newton (Library).

Researcher of year: Antoine van Oijen (Science, Medicine, Health)

Global strategy: Stuart Johnstone (Social Sciences)

Awards for work on TEQSA re-acreditation: Dominic Riordan, Jan Sullivan, (Academic Quality and Standards)

Professional services: Alan Champion (Science, Medicine, Health), Nathan Riggir (Library), Tracey Todd (PVC students office),

Professional service team:  UOWx, consisting of: Kylie Austin, Amy Thompson, Jenna Thorn, Ruby Walsh, Jade Andrews and Samantha Stiff (from PVC students)

Community engagement: John Littrich (Law, Humanities Arts)

Community engagement team: Mogo & Mudji, consisting of Jaimey Facchin, Adam Gowen, Nicola Bath, Saskia Ebejer and Jade Andrews (Batemans Bay campus)

Diversity and inclusion award: Trish Mundi (Law, Humanities, Arts)

Health and safety: Roza Dimeska (Science, Medicine, Health)