Top unis for workplace gender equity

Universities and subsidiaries are among the 141 employers of choice rated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for 2018-19. Griffith U and UTS lead the higher education community, each now being cited by the WGEA for seventeen years. Curtin U, QUT and Western Sydney U follow with 16 citations each.

Other universities acknowledged by the Agency ten or more times are; La Trobe U (15). Monash U (14). Deakin U (13). RMIT (12). Swinburne U (12). Uni Canberra (12). Uni Wollongong (ten).

They are followed by, Uni Newcastle (nine).  Australian Catholic U (eight). Edith Cowan U (six). Student organisation at UNSW, ARC (five). University of Wollongong Global Enterprises (five). Charles Sturt U (one). Victoria U (one).

Group of Eight call for an independent education funding agency

The Group of Eight has called for a comprehensive funding model for post-secondary education, covering all course levels from sub-degree to postgrad places. And it proposes an independent body, “that has authority and responsibility for funding and outcomes while simultaneously retaining budget integrity.”

“A consistent and comprehensive policy that delivers clarity with respect to funding and Commonwealth support across all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes is essential,” the elite uni lobby states in its submission to the government review  of funding postgraduate coursework (CMM November 14 2018).

But the Go8 warns against the Commonwealth allocating masters places according to apparent workforce need or graduate employment outcomes, “as governments have not demonstrated any reliable capability in this area for a considerable time.”

The Eight also:

* asks government to “consider the consequences” of explicitly linking PG places with professional accreditation requirements

* calls on Canberra to abandon the idea of allocating places on the basis of teaching quality – as measured by student satisfaction

* argues the importance of distinct institutional mission and context as criteria for allocating CSPs must be emphasised

Modest money, Hugh ideas

Hugh Durrant Whyte, the (newish) NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer announced a $2.5m “bio-foundry” at Macquarie U last week. It will research, synthetic biology technology in the agricultural, healthcare, biofuels and chemicals sectors.  That was followed by a $5m state government commitment for a fund to commercialise physical science devices and services. And yesterday he announced $1.5m for a recycling plan involving government, industry and researchers.

The sums might not match those in his previous job as UK defence scientist, or when he ran National ICT Australia, (aka NICTA) but you work with what you’ve got.

Fox and entrepreneur friends at Flinders U

Back in 2016 Flinders U announced a big initiative in education for innovators, with a new degree and units adapted from Fox Business School at Temple U.

“We recognise that careers are evolving and the workplace of the future will look very different to today’s. Around 70 per cent of young graduates will start their careers in roles which will substantially change or be obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years,” Vice Chancellor Colin Stirling said then (CMM August 16 2016).

It looked like a brave idea, of the Sir Humphrey kind, but two years on what it now resembles is a success.  Some 1000 students have been part of the programme, with nearly 400 of them enrolling this semester.  There are two courses and six electives on offer, including one called, “early wins matter: nothing happens without a sale.”  A point proved.

Foot soldiers for a long march

“There’s a certain class of high school graduate who wants nothing more than to immerse themselves in The Canon, regardless of what The Canon turns out to contain. I know; I was one of them,” Deakin U’s Patrick Stokes  on demand for Ramsay Western Civ Centre courses.

But what will they be enlisting in? Associate Professor Stokes has an idea:

“Ramsay appear to be on a long march backwards through the institutions, using our unis to train up a corps of hand-picked Western Civilisation shock-troops and deploying them at the heart of the professions, the centres of learning and publishing – and politics.”

Long march, small corps de canon.

TAFE’s time starts now

TAFE Directors Australia describes its policy alliance with the Group of Eight as “an unlikely coalition for a seamless education sector.” This is way too modest. Political and policy stars are aligned to illuminate the role of the training sector. If Labor wins the election, training (by which the Opposition mainly means TAFE) will be in-line for more attention. And now the bi-partisan mess that was VET FEE HELP is largely off the agenda the government is able to talk-up training. Education minister Dan Tehan and his training colleague Michaelia Cash have announced a review of national education goals (set out in the 2008 Melbourne Declaration), including, a “renewed emphasis on vocational education and training.”



Caralee McLiesh is confirmed as managing director of TAFE NSW. She has acted since October. Dr McLiesh joined from the state treasury.

Ann Farrell from QUT is appointed deputy chair of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority Board.

Kirsten Andrews is the chief of staff to University of Sydney VC Michael Spence. She moves up from comms director at the university.