Bakers’ Delight

Colin Stirling (Flinders U VC) issues an all-comers challenge with his freshly baked “lock-down loaf” (via Twitter, yesterday). Within minutes Flinders historian Alessandro Antonello responded with his own focaccia. Can Kitchener Buns at 12 paces be far away?

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Liz Johnson (Deakin U) on six learning activities which belong on-line. This week’s contribution to commission editor Sally Kift’s series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

James Guthrie (Macquarie) took a deep dive into the UWA annual report. Here’s what he found.

Plus, Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on student cheating and what to do about it. “Given limited resources we will have to prioritise. One possibility is that we might prioritise investing more in programmatic – senior year – assessments, and rely on “assumed knowledge” in the early years. It may be foolish to attempt to grade everything, and certify every learning outcome in each educational snack from cradle to grave.”

U Tas gets real in real estate

After having gone the whole haussmann with its plan for the Hobart CBD (CMM May 18), Uni Tas appoints planners for its existing “much-loved” campus, at Sandy Bay

According to VC Rufus Black, the aim is, “a sustainable community with a mixture of housing, including attainable housing, education, aged care, commercial and retail spaces, and associated infrastructure.” The U Tas playing fields will also remain – which makes sense, tricky having footy fields in the city-centre, where the university is moving.

Community consultation on the Sandy Bay developments runs to year-end.

The university also announces that its big-site developments, there and Newnham (in Launceston) will be managed by a wholly-owned subsidiary, UTAS Properties Pty Ltd. This is to allow “the university to focus on its core business of learning, teaching and research.” Very wise, dealing with locals worried about prospects of the traffic and noise of new neighbours might bring can take up time.

The AI has it on influential women in engineering

The ACADEMIC INFLUENCE rating group lists its pick

Well not quite the people at the site  –they use a machine-learning programme to search public data for mentions of engineers whose names intersect with disciplines, refined by relevance.

There are undoubtedly a bunch of issues with the algorithm but people who promote academic rankings based  in part on surveys of researchers’ opinions may not be in the strongest position to judge. (The AI list came out last month but CMM only just saw it)

Australians on last month’s list of the 35 influential women in engineering are, Rose Amal (UNSW) and Marita Cheng (CEO of telepresence robotics company Aubot)

La Trobe U selects union leader for redundancy

Alysia Rex is one of the La Trobe U staff targeted for compulsory redundancy among hundreds to go in cuts announced last week

The eight-year LT U veteran is a first-year coordinator in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce – as well as branch president of the National Tertiary Education Union.

Presidents of other branches and NTEU officials think all redundancies at LT U are a bad idea indeed, including that of Ms Rex. They explain why in a video message to VC Jon Dewar, which includes Swinburne U president Julie Kimber who says, “this is not about special treatment for one member of staff. This is about respecting the right to representation for workers during one of the most profound crises that higher education has faced in this country.”

They call on Professor Dewar to reinstate Ms Rex’s position and “find other ways than forced redundancies for all staff at LT U

Right places, wrong time for HDR industry interns

The feds propose using Research Training Programme funds to “reward universities” whose HDR students take a three-month internship in the first 18 months of study (CMM July 20)

Bad timing – at least on the evidence of the industry-intern programme run by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, which has grown to place HDR researchers in more than just maths.  With federal funding from 2017 the Apr.intern programme has organised 633 PhD students to work on research projects in industry and less than 10 per cent were placed in the first 18th months.

“Significant feedback has been received from both students and universities on the benefits of undertaking an industry placement later in their studies,” AMSI states.

‘Triffic(ish) at TEQSA

The agency has released its 2020 Australian Public Service survey – things are improving

Big majorities of staff of the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency are satisfied with their jobs (67 per cent) and committed to its goals (82 per cent) with an overall engagement score of 69 per cent, bang on the APS overall and just 7 per cent down on similar-sized agencies.

But staff are not happy with senior management, satisfaction on a range of factors is below other agencies from 8 per cent to 15 per cent.

It appears some SES officers need to get better at pretending to listen – only 44 per cent of staff say their senior executive service leader, “gives their time to identify and develop and talented people.” And management needs to at least look like they work as a team – only 36 per cent of responses thought they did, 29 per cent lower than the figure for all Commonwealth small agencies.

The figures for staff assessing their immediate supervisors are way better and the overall score for people’s sense of wellbeing is 70 per cent, in-line with the overall APS and 18 per cent up on 2019.

There’s one stat that will not surprise TEQSA clients – the survey was conducted October – November last year. TEQSA released it last week.


 Laura Rademaker (ANU) wins the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s history award as co-author of The Bible in Buffalo Country (ANU Press)

Griffith U’s teaching awards include,

* teacher of the year: Stephanie Schleimer (Business) * education leader: Kylie Burns (Law School) * group teaching: Stephanie Schleimer (Business), Lisa Johns (Health Sciences and Social Work) * leadership: Kylie Burns (Law School), Kirsten MacDonald (Accounting, Finance, Economics), Jane Evans (Medicine, Dentistry), Caryl Bosman (Engineering and Built Environment)

* group active learning: Abdullah Karaksha (Pharmacy and Medical Sciences),* group active learning: Hong Guan, Shanmuganathan Gunalan, Benoit Gilbert, Hassan Karampour, ( Engineering and Built Environment) * teaching priority areas – sessionals: Bronwyn Reid O’Connor (Education and Professional Studies), Savindi Caldera (Engineering and Built Environment) * early career: Di Johnson, (Accounting Finance, Economics) * assessment: Popi Sotiriadou, (Tourism, Hotel and Sport Management),  Amanda Daly, (Business Strategy and Innovation)  Danielle Logan, (Office of the PVC Business)

* enhance learning: Roianne West, Vicki Saunders, Fiona Rowe Minniss, Jessica Armao, Kerry Hall, Stacey Vervoort, Melanie Syron, Neil Willmett, Chris Levinge, Robyn Ryan, (First Peoples Health Unit ). * enhance learning: Indu Singh, Joanne Lewohl, Ian Cassady, Rebecca King, Avinash Kundur, Vinod Gopalan, Andrew Bulmer, Jaclyn McCullen, Roselyn Rose’Meyer, (Pharmacy and Medical Sciences) with Lirio Calderon-Gomez, (Health Technical Services)