Colourful characters

“Great new book by Glyn Davis, Australia’s monochrome array of university types needs to give way to real diversity and choice if they are to thrive in future,” Warren Bebbington, via Twitter yesterday. CMM guesses “university types” means institutions not the colourful characters who run them.

Comrades we hardly knew ye

According to the new edition of the National Tertiary Education Union handbook, 50 per cent of new members leave after three-four years, “many membership departures are a result of normal churn associated with changes of employment,” the comrades suggest. Certainly,  explains why managements are so keen on fixed term contracts.

Reef no barrier for CQU

CQU has federal feasibility funding for a coastal marine ecosystems research centre at its Gladstone campus, a field which James Cook U, big on Barrier Reef studies, has pretty much had to itself in FNQ.

This isn’t surprising, with CQU VC Scott Bowen appearing to consider Irving Berlin’s song “Anything you can do I can do better” a guide to life. While starting way-behind, CQU now has campuses where JCU once enjoyed monopolies, noticeably in Townsville and Cairns and while James Cook has a global research rep in tropical sciences, including the Great Barrier Reef, Professor Bowen seems keen to build one.

QUT and UNSW host the business ed grand slam

Sixteen teams from 12 countries compete next week in a grand slam of the bized student global case study circuit (who knew) at QUT. UNSW and QUT business schools are the organisers of this year’s Australian Undergraduate Business Case Competition five-day tournament. Teams will work on three problems for different organisations and present next Friday. The winner will qualify for the champion of champions award, which the winners of the twelve top case study competitions compete for, in Auckland. This Australian grand slam of strategy is now in its fourth year.

Past year’s challenges included creating an entirely new supermarket product range, a growth plan for an Indonesian peer to peer money transfer service and a business model for Australia Post.

Research misconduct: Easy to observe hard to put in a policy

There is rumbling among researchers as peak bodies struggle to define misconduct.

Mid-year research experts working on an update to the 2007 responsible conduct of research code, decided defining misconduct was too hard. ““The decision to not include a definition of research misconduct was based on the fact that there is no internationally agreed definition of research misconduct, and that the definition in the current code has been problematic in its application to an investigation outcome and findings, particularly in relation to enterprise agreements and current approaches to the management of behaviours that may require corrective action,” a team under the auspices of the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and Universities Australia concluded (CMM June 19).

This did not go down well with some researchers – but “misconduct” is still not dealt with to universal satisfaction. And the proposed code gives the NHMRC and ARC an out by making meeting enforcing it mandatory for funding.

The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes has responded with a new submission addressing the issue.

“Allowing research organisations to determine whether they decide to use the term research misconduct within their own framework is problematic. It will lead to some research organisations using the term, while others might drop it entirely. The result of this will be that similar types of breaches of the code will be defined as research misconduct by some research organisations, whereas other research organisations will make no such finding and instead just refer to a breach of the code. It would be better for the application of the code to be universal, and in the interests of fairness and transparency it is not reasonable to put in place a code that can lead to different outcomes at different research organisations.”

There seems no way around this, as AAMRI argues, “there should be a single definition of “research misconduct” so that all serious or repeated breaches of the code are referred to as acts of research misconduct.”

Trademarks tell all

Swinburne University, IP Australia and the University of Melbourne have combined to create a trans-national database of trademarks and trademark applications, which “opens up new opportunities for global research in brand behaviour, trends and patterns.” According to Swinburne U’s Stephen Petrie, TMlink is the first cross-country linking of the empirical data on brands which exists in trademark applications. It includes a neural-network based algorithm which Dr Petri says, “will enable researchers to probe international networks of company brands.”

Campus life simpler sober

Curtin U’s McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth has issued a policy handbook for alcohol consumption at universities. This is obviously important for all institutions– especially ones with large on-campus residential communities, and those that want them. Having studied at then party school, University of Arizona, ANU VC Brian Schmidt obviously understands the risks involved in his plan to expand on-campus living.

The McCusker handbook is a sober (sorry) read and while it does not propose prohibition there is a sense in the document that university life would be better without booze. “While the purpose of an alcohol policy is not to create alcohol-free campus, there are useful lessons from the experience of smoke-free policies across Australian university campuses,” the report wistfully states.

Hit “like” for VET course content

VET students respond to teaching content on YouTube and are happy with Facebook as a platform for study details, according to  new research for the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research. Much like life really.

It’s a case of cyber horses for courses, according to Victor Callan and Margaret Johnston, who report that students in study that involves teamwork favour Facebook and Twitter, while apprentices use YouTube to learn practical skills.

As to how social media will fit into training, it is early days but Callan and Johnston suggest;

“what is increasingly being understood by VET teachers and their training organisations is that the students who are taking up VET qualifications are already highly connected and very active learners who are willing to explore. They are not the passive consumers of VET training of the past. The use of new technologies is highly compatible with their lifestyles, preferences for how they want to interact with their world, including more control over what they do, as well as where, when and how they do it.”

But what students want is not the way VET works now; as the study warns; “there is the risk that Facebook becomes the default learning management system, operating outside the system used by a training organisation.”

HEADS UP: Achievers at work this week

Glenn Withers is the new president of the Australian Council of Learned Academies. The post is filled from the heads of ACOLA’s constituent academies –Professor Withers is president of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He is also newly appointed chair of the World Bank affiliated Global Development Learning Network. Professor Withers is a former chief of Universities Australia.

Andrew McLachlan is the new dean of pharmacy at the University of Sydney. Professor McLachlan will join the university from Concord Hospital in February.

UNSW dean of science Emma Johnston has taken up the chair of Science and Technology Australia. She was named president elect last November (/ CMM November 28 2017).

The VC’s staff excellence awards at Edith Cowan University are announced:

Excellence in teaching: Gemma Quayle (exercise and sports science) and Janica Jamieson (nutrition and dietetics)

Early Career research: Melanie Blanchette (freshwater ecology, environmental genomics, mine water)

Engagement in research: Caroline Barrett Pugh (early childhood)

Research supervision: Marcella Polain (arts and humanities),  Hadrian Djajadikerta (business and law)

Inspirational Teams: Australian Indigenous Healthinfo Net, Security and Traffic Services

Joan Squelch is the new dean of law at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle.

Tasmania’s STEM researcher of the year is Graham Edgar from the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Marine and Antarctic StudiesInnovators of the Year are UTas chemists Alex Bissember and Jason SmithMotor neurone scientist Catherine Blizzard, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research is a STEM communicator of the year.

The University of Melbourne has appointed its second Redmond Barry distinguished professor from the Graduate School of EducationJohanna Wyn follows Lyn Yates.

UTS has announced its  2017 learning and teaching award winners:

Individual teaching awardsBlair Neild (life sciences), James Wakefield ( accounting)

Team teachingRebecca Keppel (life sciences) and team

Academic supportMary Coupland and team (Mathematics and Science Study Centre)

Learning.futuresChristina Ho (communications programme), Jemma Price (journalism)

UTS Mode of LearningMegan Phillips (life sciences)

Social impact learning and teaching: Maxine Evers and team (Brennan Justice and Leadership Programme)

Citations: Catherine Nguyen (law), Dr Charles Cranfield (life sciences) and team, Jorge Reyna ( learning design) and team, Dr Katie Schlenker (management), Dr Philippa Ryan (law), Raechel Wight (learning and teaching) , Vinay Patel (finance).

Psychologist Derek Carson will join Bond University in May as executive dean of society and designProfessor Carson is now dean of media, culture and society at the University of the West of Scotland.

Kirsty Forrest is the incoming dean of medicine at Bond UProfessor Forrest is now deputy head there and a consultant anaesthetist at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Karen Hapgood will step up to be executive dean of the faculty of science, engineering and built environment at Deakin University, starting in July. She is now head of Deakin U’s school of engineering.

Jessica Vanderlelie is appointed PVC student success at La Trobe UAssociate Professor Vanderlelie is presently the Innovative Research Universities innovation fellow.