The magic of the in-person conference
Slower growth in 2020 research spending
Universities support for graduate employability is incoherent and inconsistent
“An onnagata, a wagoto and an aragoto walk into a bar …”
There’s more in the Mail
InFeatures this morning, new from The Crossley Lab, why we should keep the PhD.
Plus, Shelley Kinash calls for less lecturing-at students.
And on Monday, Ian Solomonides and Trish McCluskey (Victoria U) on how the Block model changes everything. It’s a new essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in higher education.
The unis with grads employers love
New employer survey data reveals strong satisfaction with graduates, but it’s way stronger at some universities than others
Overall 84 per cent of employers were satisfied with graduates they employed. Satisfaction on groups of attributes ranged from 85 per cent on “employability” – defined as “the ability to perform and innovate” at work to 93 per cent on “general literacy, numeracy and communication skills and the ability to investigate and integrate knowledge.”
Degrees deliver: This is a good result for advocates of a university education as providing generic employment skills. As Universities Australia’sThe unis with grads employers love was quick to point out yesterday it is; “a strong endorsement, direct from employers, that Australia’s universities are preparing students to succeed in the world of work.”
Just not the same everywhere: But not all universities are equally excellent, with overall satisfaction by institution ranging from 94.6 per cent for Bond U to Murdoch U’s 76.2 per cent.
The top five institutions are; Bond U (94.6 per cent), Australia Catholic U (89.9 per cent), Uni Wollongong (89.6 per cent), University of Notre Dame Australia (87.4 per cent) and Western Sydney U (87.3 per cent).
The lowest-ranking five are; Charles Darwin (80.2 per cent), UNE (79.9 per cent), UWA (79.4 per cent), Torrens U (79.3 per cent), Murdoch U (76.2 per cent).
(The University of Divinity’s also performs well, but on a small sample size).
As for any argument that ratings relate to the SES status of students, four Group of Eight universities are below the system-wide average.
In quals they trust: Supervisors in all occupation areas thought graduates’ quals mattered to the jobs they did (by an average 10 per cent more than the graduates themselves). Fields where the faith in degrees is strongest are health (79 per cent), education (77 per cent) and engineering (69 per cent). The sceptics are in creative arts (44 per cent), IT and management (both 48 per cent).
Best-performing disciplines: Engineering employers are happiest with their graduates on all attributes (89.9 per cent), followed by health (89.6 per cent), creative arts trails (74 per cent).
The federally funded Employment Satisfaction Survey is undertaken by the Social Research Centre as part of the excellent Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching.
The 2019 survey is based on responses from graduates’ supervisors in 4689 organisations.
Uni Sydney invites applications for its $7000 residency for hand-craft printers and printmakers. It’s to, “encourage an ongoing enthusiasm for material book arts within the university.” Application info here. There’s probably an app about it.
In the tradition of unis stuffing-up super
James Cook U advises staff of superannuation underpayments occurring for up to a decade
The university advises it is a problem with allowances which did not attract superannuation contributions, when they should have. Some 70 current staff and 1,559 former employees are owed a median $155 each. All up the university will be paying people $1m in total.
JCU is not alone in mucking-up the super system: Swinburne U discovered it owed $3.66m to 3700 then present and former staff in 2018 (CMM May 8 2018). Also in 2018, former Uni Newcastle VC Caroline McMillen advised staff that consultants Deloitte was hired to investigate “potential anomalies” in its superannuation accounts. Professor McMillen committed to making-up any shortfalls in staff super, with interest, (CMM July 27).
And last year La Tobe U discovered it owed money to the super funds of 2800 staff, ranging from $20-$30 to sums in the tens of thousands., with a median of $130.
Uni Wollongong still appears to hold the record, getting super payments wrong, for 30 per cent of staff over eight years. The university estimated the make-good cost was $10m, (CMM, April 6 2017).
“Racing!” (just very slowly) in the R and D tax incentive change stakes
The government’s bill is back in the House, next Thursday
The bill is the government’s latest effort to enact the Review of the Three Fs recommendation on targeting of tax concessions. The legislation said to potentially save $1.8bn over the forward estimates.
The bill was in the House before Christmas but did not make it through before it adjourned. It will pass this sitting and go to the Senate, where it could be referred to a committee which may not recommend its passing – this is what happened to the previous version last year, (CMM December 9). Word is that it could happen again.
Appointments and achievements
Of the day
Fabienne Mackay is appointed CEO of the QIMR Berghoffer Medical Research Institute. She will move to Queensland from the University of Melbourne, where she is head of Biomedical Sciences.
Rob Newton joins Edith Cowan U’s professorial research fellow programme to continue his work on cancer management. The hire is part of ECU’s research expansion – appointing 40 fellows to work in the university’s core disciplines. It’s the first internal appointment, with Professor Newton moving from associate dean in medical and exercise sciences at ECU. He is one of the two current WA Scientists of the Year.
Of the week
Australia Day honours are here.
The Australian Academy of Science announces its inaugural STEM women change-makers;
* Emma Camp (UTS). * Ruwangi Fernando (STEM Sisters). * Momeneh Foroutan (Monash U). * Muireann Irish (Uni Sydney). * Tishiko King (Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia). * Marit Kragt (UWA). * Jerusha Mather (Victoria U). Mary McMillan (UNE). * Kirsty Nash (aKIDemic Life). * Jessie Panazzolo (Lonely Conservationists). * Catherine Royans (Uni Adelaide). * Tanya Smith (Griffith U).
CMM missed the early January appointment of Steffen Faurby as MD of NSW TAFE. Mr Faurby moves from running NSW’s State Transit Authority.
Jayanthi Jayakaran becomes dean of people and resources for Flinders U’s College of Medicine and Public Health. She moves from ED medical services for the Barossa Hills-Fleurieu Local Health Network.
Sam Manger joins University of the Sunshine Coast’s Thompson Institute, which studies mind and neuroscience. Dr Manger hosts The GP Show podcast.
University of Notre Dame Australia announces that as of next month John Lippitt will be the new director of the Institute of Ethics and Society, at the Sydney campus. His wife Sylvie Magerstäd will also take up a position there, in the School of Arts and Sciences. They both move from the University of Hertfordshire.
Alta Schutte joins UNSW as principal for a new research area – cardiac, vascular and metabolic medicine. She joins from North-West University in South Africa.
Mariyam Shakeela is named a 2020 influential leader by the US-based biz degree accreditation agency, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Dr Shakeela is CEO of Maldives based retail distributor, SIMDI. She has a PhD from Curtin U.