There’s more in the Mail

In Features this week Helen MacGillivray (QUT) writes on three problems in STEM, new in CMM’s series on what teaching needs now.

Uni Tas international admissions review

No rush on submissions

Some UTasmanians suggest the Winchester review of international admissions (CMM Friday) is moving way too fast for staff to have their say. Management responds that anybody with concerns should take them to the Provost Jane Long’s office or direct to reviewer Hilary Winchester.

Business as usual says Charles Sturt U

Friday evening Charles Sturt U issued a statement of the “nothing to see here,” kind – thus ensuring speculation that there is

Early this month the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency announced that it had renewed CSU’s registration for four years, the norm for universities is seven. TEQSA also imposed a range of performance conditions on the university (CMM May 6).

The university was quick to address issues and within a week TEQSA was sufficiently assured to lift the most onerous of conditions, concerning a CSU partnership with a pathway provider. But the abbreviated registration sticks.

This news has been a slow burn, with media in CSU’s regional heartland picking up the story last week, which might explain the reason for (if not the timing of) VC Andrew Vann’s statement, Friday.

“I can assure all staff, students, alumni, partners and community members that the conditions imposed by the regulator pose no risk to our current operations or long-term viability. … Our degrees and course accreditations are unaffected and remain valid and credible.  The conditions do not impact current students or alumni in any way. It is business as usual for teaching and learning delivery while we work on ensuring our academic governance processes are demonstrated to be robust,” Professor Vann said.

Gopalan resigns from Deakin U

The university confirmed the news late Friday, saying Professor Gopalan was leaving for “personal reasons”

Sandeep Gopalan became dean of law in 2015 standing downing 2017. He moved then to PVC academic innovation, the post he departs from.

Going but not forgotten: Uni Canberra to build on VC’s vision

Deep Saini leaves at the end of the year, which is when a master-plan for his development strategy is due

The University of Canberra invites expressions of interest to develop a campus master plan. “The planning for this transformation is being driven by a vision of how universities will operate in the future, abolishing the boundaries between the academy, industry and community of all ages, establishing UC as a showcase of the confluence of living, learning, innovation and entrepreneurship,” the brief states.

It appears to build on the outgoing VCs plan for the campus to be, “a lifelong learning community” evolving “into a series of interconnected precincts, with thousands of people living on campus and calling UC home,” (CMM October 27 2017).

The university says it expects the masterplan to be complete by year end, meaning it will be on the desk when the VC arrives.

More of the ministerial same (plus one)

Tehan, Andrews and Cash are back  

As expected Dan Tehan (Education) and Karen Andrews (Industry, Science and Technology) will continue in their previous posts. Michaelia Cash keeps employment, skills and family business.

Mr Tehan set his priories in a statement last night in which he committed to continuing work on pre-school, childcare, school reform and regional study hubs. “The work we have begun with higher education providers to lift Australia’s attainment rates outside of our capital cities will remain a paramount priority.”

Ms Andrews she would “keep working hard to promote cutting-edge science, ensure all Australians benefit from innovation in industry and support our technology sector.”

While some in the training community were hoping to have ministerial responsibility for VET returned to the education portfolio at least they now have a junior minister of their own. Liberal MP Steve Irons becomes assistant minister for VET and apprenticeships, in Senator Cash’s portfolio. Like his boss, he is a West Australian.  While uncertain last night, this may mean the VET bureaucracy moves from the now Department of Education and Training.

The lobbies were quick to congratulate ministers yesterday, especially the Regional Universities Network. Chair Helen Bartlett (Federation U) said as minister previously Mr Tehan, “demonstrated his support for regional Australia and commitment to regional higher education.”

She added that “to increase the number of highly skilled professionals in the regions, regional universities must be able to grow their student numbers.” In a pitch to government policy of performance based growth funding, Professor Bartlett added, “we urge the government to adopt performance measures for the funding of student places from 2020 which will assist us in achieving this goal.”

The Group of Eight focused on the bigger picture. CEO Vicki Thomson said the Eight, “appreciates the prime minister’s decision to ensure continuity across key portfolios in what are  turbulent geopolitical times. Never has it been more important to ensure policy stability in the areas of  defence, trade  and education –  all portfolios the Go8 contributes to by way of research, international engagement and educating the future workforce required to underpin our national economy.”

Murdoch U’s international student English admission-scores

The university says its six on IELTS

Murdoch U sets an overall score of six as its minimum English entry requirement for undergraduate courses on the academic version of the International English Language Testing System.

This is supported by Pakistan education agent, Routes Overseas Consultants congratulating a student accepted by Murdoch U in March, for its masters of public policy who had an IELTS of six.

But the same agent also points to a student, who it reports applied for a Murdoch U bachelor of computer science on March 28, with an IELTS of 5.5. Routes Overseas states the student was granted a student visa on April 3.

Carr steps back from the pointy end of policy   

But ministers shouldn’t relax, there’s always Senate estimates

Kim Carr is not seeking a space on Labor’s frontbench, ending an extraordinary career at the pointy-end of science and research policy. Perhaps he concluded there would be no place for him under Anthony Albanese, perhaps the failure of all his hopes for government ended his enthusiasm – whatever the reason his policy making and proposing days are done.

Days which are widely honoured.

“A major force for the value of unis around parliament (and out). One of few we meet who knows more than we do on many issues,” the Innovative Research Universities’ Conor King, said Friday.

Science and Technology Australia thanked him for, “years of dedication to the support of science and technology, we will miss your contributions to the portfolio and your consultative and nuanced representation of Australian STEM.”

“He has always maintained an open and listening office, whether in government or opposition. It is a rare politician that is able to develop such deep expertise in a policy area as Senator Carr has done in both innovation & higher education,” said Tony Peacock from the Cooperative Research Centres Association.

And Universities Australia thanked him, “for his long and invaluable contribution.”

It was left to the always on message Vicki Thomson from the Group of Eight to speak for many in the research community; “Thank you Senator Carr for your unwavering commitment to the research and science that our universities do – it’s been genuine, long held and unchanging – if only we got to 50 cents on the dollar on indirect costs when you first proposed it all those years ago!”

Senator Carr will continue in the upper house and with extra time for research will make Senate Estimates even more interesting.

Managing immigration  

Anna Boucher and Amy Davidson explains the selection of economic migrants over 30 years, including the impact on international students 

“Australia’s selection system for permanent immigration in particular has attracted international attention for the generally strong labour-market performance of the immigrants it admits,” the University of Sydney researchers argue in a new report for the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

Their comprehensive analysis of policy-changes including changes in drivers to address demand for permanent residency by international students. And it points to potential issues as the government moves to increase international enrolments, and potentially permanent settlement in regions. “In some regions of Australia, high recruitment of immigrant workers to fill labour shortages has occurred in parallel with high unemployment among domestic workers.”

Overall, they suggest Australian policy provides pointers on creating targeted migration systems, including;

*   adjust and manage selection criteria over time.

* review and adjust selection process

* be aware of employment per labour-market region

* watch for exploitation of low-skill workers on visas “formally intended for non-work purposes”


Chris Hatherly is appointed executive director of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Dr Hatherly moves from policy director at the Australian Academy of Science.

John Bell will move from head of the school of chemistry, physics and mechanical engineering at QUT to DVC, research and innovation at the University of Southern Queensland.

At QUT Susi Derbyshire (DVC learning and teaching) will retire at the end November. Alison Shirra is acting for six months as director of student services, while a replacement is recruited for Bruce McCallum, who will retire in June.

Dolt of the day

CMM got it wrong Friday re ATN’s location, as staff were quick to advise. Previous director Renee Hindmarsh moved to Canberra years back