In breaking news

“Our old decaying lab stools are getting a new life as plant stands. Just needed a simple coat of paint,” UTas, via Twiter, yesterday.

Andy Vann’s clever payrise plan 

So, what is Andrew Vann up to, increasing his Charles Sturt U’s enterprise bargaining pay offer, (CMM Monday)? Perhaps it is an example of the VC’s celebrated good nature, unless it is a case of cunning. A learned reader wise in the ways of industrial deals leans to the latter, suggesting Professor Vann is preparing to put a university offer to staff, in case talks with the unions stall and there is no agreed deal. The pay offer includes $500 rises as well as per centage increases. The cash has proved popular at other universities where they have a bigger impact for low paid staff.

But the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is not having any of it, saying the payments were agreed in bargaining and that there are important issues still to be settled, including reducing the proportion of staff employed as casuals, change management processes and academic workloads.

CSU has been here before. In 2013 Professor Vann put a pay deal to a staff vote with the support of the CPSU, which represented generally lower paid support staff, but the active opposition of the NNTEU. The university community voted for the deal (CMM September 22 20130).

Student status trumps staff card

Flinders U assures postgrads who teach a bit that their student status trumps a staff card when it comes to qualifying for discounted parking under the new fees, (CMM yesterday).

UTas wins 1500 new places

A third university has secured an exemption from the government’s funding ceiling for undergraduate places, following abolition of the demand-driven system.

The University of Tasmania will receive $41.1m from this financial year to 2021-22 to fund 500 new sub bachelor places and 1000 on-going ones from 2019. It follows new money for student places to the University of the Sunshine Coast and Southern Cross U.

The UTas allocation is in a departmental response to a Senate Estimates question asked by Labor’s Jacinta Collins.

Other universities with urgent reasons why they should not be subject to the current cap on funding should form an orderly queue.

Business schools out of the box

The snappily titled Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business announces its 2018 “innovations that inspire.” Apparently, “business schools are change-agents, creating environments where out-of-the-box thinking thrives.”

Local bizoids with ideas bigger than any box are founded at:

Deakin U : for its future academic leader programme

Monash U: for using “insights” from neuroscience and behaviour-change research in an MBA to turn “hope into habit” with students developing “physical, cognitive and emotional resilience”

QUT: for a 55km charity walk, for students, “to utilise their essential business acumen in a live outdoor environment where leadership decisions have real consequences.”

Uni SA: for forums for SME leaders on growing businesses

Victoria U of Wellington: for a “virtual field trip” to cyber-Fiji to explore creating a business for sustainable development

Nice, but not home

Any idea that international students all want to stay here is dead wrong, according to Treasury’s new paper on population growth. It finds that just 16 per cent of international students in Australia between 2000 and 2014 became permanent residents. (Thanks to the learned Andrew Norton for the pointer).

Lights out on compulsory night lecturing at Monash Clayton

Monash U management want staff repeating a lecture at the Clayton campus to do so after 6pm at least once but CMM hears the university has backed away from making it compulsory. But some  fear that it is only for now and that management will try again. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is also said to be less than impressed with the way the university tried to push compulsory evening teaching through without consultation and has taken the matter to the Fair Work Commission.


Monash U VC Margaret Gardner has won the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Asia-Pacific Leadership award. CASE also recognises outgoing UTS DVC International and Advancement Bill Purcell for distinguished service.

Revealed: the jobs James Cook University wants to cut

James Cook U is, “impacted by increased competition, reduced student numbers, loss of external income sources including reduced Commonwealth funding, and a highly volatile and uncertain public policy environment.” And that’s the spin the university was putting on its predicament yesterday.

Management has accordingly announced proposed changes, including course cuts and changes, investment in online teaching and “consolidation of staffing and curricula.” This follows academic organisation changes in 2016.

The division of tropical environments and societies is again up for a new arrangement. “Creating critical mass by consolidating areas of expertise and infrastructure, and reducing and/or streamlining program offerings are required to position the division and respond to flex in response to changes in student numbers.” the change proposal states.

The change document identifies some spectacular drops in demand; including a halving of MBA enrolments at the Cairns campus and a two-thirds decline in creative arts programmes at Townsville and Cairns.

The Research Services Directorate also faces change, and will “recalibrate,” “to reflect the changing nature of research funding and will be increasing its focus on industry-led research and consultancies.”

All up the university proposes cutting: three academic positions in business, law and governance, two in science and engineering, five support roles in tropical environments and societies, six academic jobs in healthcare sciences, five positions from the student services directorate, two from learning, teaching and student engagement, three from library services, three from research services. An indigenous careers adviser position will also go. Management says the new proposals could cost 32 jobs and there will be a two-week consultation.

Yesterday’s announcement was not news to campus critics who point to less than flash financials and changes at the top. Last year JCU recorded a small loss ($4.3m) but revenue was down by $36m to $513m. In February VC Sandra Harding announced a leadership restructure, following the departure last year of two DVCs, Sally Kift and Robyn McGuiggan.

“While the University has already implemented a number of steps to reduce costs across the organisation. the proposed changes reflect cost efficiencies through the consolidation of resources and discontinuation of programs and services, leading to some positions being no longer required,” the proposal states. “