“And they’re racing in the mixed metaphor cup”

“ANU is on the hunt for a unicorn company,” the university tweets, and there’s a start-up which is , “is one of the leading horses in the race.”  As if a horse can keep up with a unicorn.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Monash U announces its Master of Indigenous Business Leadership. Rachelle Towart argues the time is (finally) right for pathways, “helping to cement Indigenous executives into consideration for mainstream leadership roles in Australian business.”

Plus, The obsession with impact ignores the important – it can’t happen without scholarship. “Whether you consider yourself a teaching scholar, a research scholar, or perhaps a service scholar, being a scholar is central to all of our academic practice,” Michael A Cowling (CQU) suggests. It’s this week’s addition to Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated CMM series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

AndJames Guthrie (Macquarie U) on the NSW Auditor General’analysis of universities. “Negative operating results in many universities in 2020 were because of the staff redundancy programme.”

As well as, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) crunches the QS numbers to find Australian universities are efficient and effective. “Over the last two decades as our universities expanded and took advantage of ‘economies of scale,’ remarkably, student satisfaction steadily increase

Women engineers: starting is not the problem

The number that stay is

Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics marked International Women in Engineering Day by tweeting that 12 per cent of “engineering professionals” are women – up from 5 per cent two decades back.

To which Karen Hapgood, Deakin U dean of science, engineering and built environment (and an engineer) responded “modest progress, but still progress,” adding that women have made up 15 per cent – 17 per cent of engineering courses for a decade.

But she added, “the sector is irrationally focussed solely on getting women ‘into’ engineering and not on why so few women end up with a long-term engineering career.”

Gosh! now why would that be?

Professions Australia has a few ideas. In a 2017 survey it found women engineers earned less than men and 47 per cent had experienced gender discrimination.

“As well as efforts to encourage women and girls into engineering, an effective long-term solution will require addressing the complex range of factors that operate to disadvantage women in employment generally, as well as the factors particular to the engineering workforce that create disadvantage and lead to the attrition of women from the profession,” PA’s Chris Walton said.

At Uni Newcastle the winner is Alex!

The bi-=partisan harrumphing over Mark “hello, I must be going” Vaile not becoming chancellor is a win for Vice Chancellor, Alex Zelinsky

Hunter region Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon and Educuation Alan Tudge have condemned the criticism preceeding Mr Vaile’s withdrawal. Outside Newcastle this is the issue of the hour – which means Professor Zelinsky’s message to staff  on Tuesday was not widely covered.

That’s the message about the final stage of his savings restructure, involving the abolition of 150 FTE academic posiitons (for a net loss of 59.5) plus more cuts to professional staff.

Professor Zelinsky told staff that his savings target of $35m is now met.

The culture waring also kept attention away from the VC’s views on Mr Vaile’s appointment, as a member of university council which voted “unanimously” to appoint the chancellor who never was.

Biz ed researchers reviewing their rankings

The Australian Business Deans Council took two years to review its journal ranking, now it asks whether it worth the effort

The ABDC is asking constituents, “do the benefits of having the list outweigh the costs of undertaking the review?

What, you ask the list that was reviewed 2017-19, before 157 journals were added and 241 dropped from the 2016 edition, (CMM August 28 2017 and December 10 2019)?

That’s the one.

But this is not an opportunity for the aggrieved to appeal a ranking, or criticise people and processes. ABDC president David Grant is adamant that any submissions that do “will be disregarded. “

For people who do think the process is worth the pain there are a bunch of methodological questions on what to include in the next one, if there is a next one.

Where coal used to be king

Uni Newcastle researchers who publish scholarly papers supported by the Australian Coal Industry’s Research Programme could be feeling unloved just now, what with successful opposition in the university community to coal mine company chair Mark Vaile becoming chancellor (CMM 21,22 June)

If so they probably are not alone. Uni Newcastle is not the only university in a region built on coal-mining where staff members are unhappy with the industry. In 2020 Uni Wollongong (250kms to the south) “deferred” the Coal Operators Conference, which it had hosted since 1998, “as part of a short-term refocusing of university priorities.” Campus protests were expected if the conference occurred and university unionists had called on then Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings to commit to “zero net emissions” by 2030 (CMM January 23 2020).

Minister Tudge announces his Higher Education Standards Panel

Steve Chapman (VC, ECU) is the new chair of HESP, which is charged with “maintaining and improving” quality across all of higher education

Professor Chapman replaces former Griffith U VC Ian O’Connor. He is joined by three new appointments, Helen Bartlett (VC, Uni Sunshine Coast), Joe Chicharo (DVC, Uni Wollongong) and Doug Hilton (director of the MRI formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall).

Two members of the outgoing panel have new terms, Kerri-Lee Krause, now provost of Avondale University College and Adrienne Nieuwenhuis, VC’s office at Uni SA.

They join continuing members David Perry (Alphacrucis College) and Kadi Taylor (Navitas).

Your standard conclave of the HE Great and Good this is not –  there is a member of the Regional Universities Network  and one from the Australian Technology Network but the Group of Eight and Universities Australia go without guernseys. In contrast, there are three representatives from private providers.

Minister Tudge sets tasks for the new HESP; admissions transparency, on-line and mixed mode course quality, reducing the regulatory burden plus standards for student mental health and to meet the needs of students with a disability.

Uni Queensland fundraising makes the CASE

The US based Council of Advancement and Support for Education announce its 2021 awards

Uni Newcastle does well with five but Uni Queensland wins a grand gold for a fundraising campaign, “Not if, when”. According to the university, the campaign launched in 2017, with a three year $500m target. Last year it reached it topped out at $607m. The CASE judges called it “strategic and well-planned … results speak for themselves”

Australian winners are

Bond U: * silver in publishing improvement for its print and digital alumni magazine, The Arch

Curtin U: * silver for diversity and talent managements * silver for targeted fundraising campaign, both for funding the Carrolup Stolen Generation art collection

Uni Newcastle: *silver for lost alumni campaign * digital comms for alumni (gold) * event marketing (silver) – engaging with indigenous communities * student recruitment marketing (silver) * special events on-line for prospective students  (bronze)

Uni Queensland: * fundraising (grand gold) for the “Not if, when” campaign * alumni engagement “UQ changemakers campaign” (silver) * donor relations (bronze)

Uni Sydney: * marketing (silver) for the on-line 020 graduate celebration

Australians evenly split on international student numbers

Just over half of responders (52 per cent) to a Lowy Institute poll think the number of international students enrolled in Australian universities “is about right”

This is the view of some 66 per cent of 18-29 year olds compared to 44 per cent of people aged 45 and above.

The all-people figure in 2020 was also 52 per cent.

The Lowy poll follows a China=-specific survey from UTS, which found 58 per cent agreeing that students from China here are good for “people-to-people links” but 81 per cent think Australian universities are “too financially reliant” on them, (CMM June 16).


Dinesh Palipana (Griffith U) is appointed the culturally and linguistically diverse adviser to the Disability Royal Commission.

Glenn Solomon will join the Uni Adelaide next month, becoming first occupant of the Hicks Chair of Quantum Materials. He moves from the Joint Quantum Institute in the US. Professor Hicks researches the interaction of light with semiconducting materials and “device structures.” His new chair is funded by a bequest from Uni A alumnus, Warren Hicks.