Product development at Western Sydney U

“Do you have a great idea for a  micro-credential?” the university asks staff

There’s a webinar Tuesday, to “find out how to bring your microcredential ideas to life.”

WSU has a bunch already on the market, “short, stackable, industry relevant.” There’s a range for financial planners and one, which strikes CMM as brilliant branding, for people “interested in becoming a registered nurse” – gosh if they like the m-c where will they enrol.

A university keen to empower staff to come up with marketable courses that meet demand – one way to stop them being poached by Google (CMM October 13 2022)


There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

There’s a bunch of good results for Aus unis in the QS Subject Rankings – but there’s also warning. Angel Calderon (RMIT) presents all the important data HERE  

plus The pandemic showed us innovation can happen fast – especially with recognition of the best places to foster it. Beth Beckmann (ANU) and Lynn Gribble (UNSW) set out their Four Cs strategy, new this week in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

The pandemic finance hit that never happened

In Features this morning Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman explain how analysts (including them) were wrong on the pandemic’s impact on public university finances

Despite predictions of Covid causing $8bn losses in 2020-21 the public university system emerged from the peak pandemic years in better shape than in 2019.

While total revenues were $36.5bn in 2019 they were $38.89bn in 2021.

Certainly international student income was down, $1.2bn over 2019-21 but what was not anticipated by analysts was universities stronger starting position immediately prior pandemic. Plus other income streams were strong, higher domestic enrolments, the $1bn in Commonwealth one-off research support, and windfall revenue from the sale of system-owned international student services provider IDP.

“With the benefit of hindsight, it is evident that as a sector Australian universities have been very successful in managing the financial challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis from 2019 to 2021. The primary focus on overseas students overlooked the potential for other compensatory revenue-raising streams,” they write, HERE

As to what 2022 was like, the figures , “will continue to be strong, but perhaps with limited revenue growth given the special one-off financial factors in 2021.”

The WA uni review: Murdoch U has ideas

The state government is moving fast on the review of the state’s four public universities while Murdoch U wonders if there are alternatives to the government’s fave idea  

The purposes of the review includes “structural change” and are wide enough to accommodate mergers, widely assumed to be what the state government wants – but what most of the state’s VCs don’t like.

VC Andrew Deeks (Murdoch U) tells staff the review should consider whether structural change would solve any under-perfomance issues among the four and whether there are other solutions. He also wants the review to consider the value of choice for local and international students.

All of which might come up when the review panel meets with VCs next month.

Australian Catholic U defends teacher education

But it will “consider” proposals for reform

Australian Catholic U was quick to congratulate Mark Scott and colleagues’ paper for the feds on improving initial teacher education, (CMM yesterday) – adding at length, what a splendid job the university is already doing.

Specifically, education and arts dean Mary Ryan, “welcomed the discussion paper’s commitment to providing greater consistency and improved school placement experiences for Australian teaching students.”

But ACU is silent on the paper’s proposal for publicly available performance measures of ITE courses, “to increase accountability and inform student choice.”

Overall ACU acknowledges the paper’s “proposals for reform that are important for ITE providers nationally to consider.”

Good-0, except that it is not likely to be universities that ultimately do the considering.

Recommendations based on the paper and responses to it (due by April 21) will go to the Commonwealth by end June. Education Minister Jason Clare has previously committed to taking recs to state and federal ministers (CMM November 4 2022). And as he told TEN TV News yesterday, “I  know education ministers right across the country understand how serious this.”

Whether the ITE establishment likes it or not, things could have been way worse than the Scott proposal for accountability.

Coalition education minister Alan Tudge actually warned the then government would use “the full leverage” of the $760 it provided for teacher ed if universities did not  teach, “highly effective” methods (CMM October 25 2021)

Of course Professor Scott is way too subtle to ever suggest such a thing but it might appeal to “Danger Mouse” backbench MPs, game to get it in on the policy agenda.

Winkler in the HR Works

Tim Winkler reports on new ideas to keep HR ticking over

Virtual morning teas? Zoom Banter? An invitation to a staff meeting?

What does collegiality really mean in the contemporary HE workplace?


For centuries, collegiality has been critical to the development of ideas and the culture of universities.

While difficult to precisely define, the motivation, relationships and achievements of academic staff have frequently been linked to connection with peers.

UTS’s Dr Giedre Kligyte has written a paper examining how remote working, a large proportion of casual staff and corporate management approaches have impacted on the nature of collegiality.

Drawing on interviews with academic staff, Kligyte found not one big happy family, but rather that existing current approaches to collegiality effectively excluded some staff. For example some casual staff felt unable to speak up without jeopardising their employment.

Workplace conventions also resulted in a perceived requirement of acting and thinking in similar ways to colleagues, which could stifle diversity and individuality.

Kligyte’s paper suggests that casuals could be excluded from full participation in the academy not only due to the precarious nature of their employment, but also because of the prevailing collective expectations and perspectives of those in more powerful roles. The paper indicates that alternative models of collegiality could encourage  diversity of thought and effort, with the potential to unlock better research outcomes.

In a sector devoted to inspiration and discovery, the paper is a useful reminder of the many options available to enhance academic productivity – moving away from work cultures that trend toward groupthink and an intellectual monoculture dominated by the powerful and/or loud to a richer and broader level of thinking in the workplace.

 Winkler on the HR works runs regularly at the new HEJobs  recruitment site