Who cares, knows

“Ever wondered about how a Uni Queensland dentistry student spends their day?” (via Twitter).  People who care probably know already

Uni Canberra research path review long time coming

Whatever happened to the University of Canberra’s review of its assistant professor scheme?, CMM hears you ask (oh, go-on)

Yes, that one, the scheme to boost the university’s research performance by giving participants seven years to produce a bunch of publications and thus qualify for continuing employment.

The scheme is considered by some at Uni Canberra a hard row to hoe and a deal to allow assistant profs to opt-out and apply for continuing employment was reached during enterprise bargaining this year. But as for the review, established in April, after much campus debate, all is quiet – but perhaps not for long. Word is that the report is imminent, with speculation that the scheme will survive.

And won’t they have a bunch to talk about

Uni SA alumni awards are on tomorrow night with honours going to grads including ASIO’s Director-General of Security, Mike Burgess (ASIO DG-Security) and Tirana Hass, (crisis response director, Amnesty International).

You’ve seen the disaster-movie, now hear the lecture

Incorrigible optimists promote a series of talks by Uni Sydney experts, “choose your own apocalypse”

Apparently, it all could be over for us, due to a heat-induced eco-system collapse (Dale Dominey-Howes), a virus takes everybody out (Tania Sorrel), bio-diversity crisis reduces food supply (Emily Remnant) or the sun blows up (Geraint Lewis).  Organisers faced a more immediate crisis last night. The  link to ticket sales was dead.

Early applause for the AQF review

Early responses to the Noonan review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (CMM yesterday) are approving, but sparse

Universities Australia presented an observer’s approval; “while many of the proposed changes apply more to vocational training than to university education, (the review’s) goal of greater clarity is a laudable aim across both post-secondary sectors.”

Independent Higher Education Australia welcomed the review, including “simplifying, streamlining and rationalising the AQF,” with “fewer and more clearly defined bands,” aligning micro-credentials with the framework and “a closer and clearer relationship between the Higher Education Standards Framework and the AQF. CEO Simon Finn said the review recommendations are “responsive to the issues which IHEA raised.”

Innovative Research Universities, “welcomed the AQF review report and its aim to make the qualifications system simpler & more flexible. It is a thoughtful report and unis will now need to consider implications of the proposals,” – which you can be sure IRU analysts will do –they like a walk in the weeds.

But last night that was it, with lobbies that can make a case for more funding on the basis of Azerbaijan election results staying silent. Perhaps organisations are still working out what the most closely argued and complex report of the year actually means for them.

Big research wins for Uni Queensland

The university has two ARC Centres

Janeen Baxter will lead the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, with $32m in federal funding. Three other Australian universities and three Australian universities and 17 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, New Zealand and America will contribute a further $33m in cash and kind.

“This research centre will use new methods and enhanced data to better inform the design of policies and programs targeted at supporting families,” Education Minister Dan Tehan says.

The new funding appears to extend the life of the existing ARC centre for children-families, in place at Uni Queensland since 2014.

The university wins a further $35 for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science. Centre lead David Craik says, peptides and proteins are, “the building blocks of life that carry out almost all biological functions. … -Applications are as diverse as growing medicinal drugs in plant bio-factories or developing novel antibiotics by analysing the milk of the Tasmanian Devil.”

The two awards follow Uni Queensland winning the ARC Centre for Plant Success in Agriculture (CMM, October 9) and the ARC Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (CMM, August 28)

ANU researcher resigns Murdoch U appointment in protest

Senior ANU academic Robert Cribb has resigned as a distinguished visiting scholar at Murdoch U in protest at the university’s law suit against a staffer.

The university is claiming damages from academic Gerd Schroeder Turk who went public with concerns about the progress of international students.

Professor Cribb is an historian of Asia at ANU and was a Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Visiting Scholar and an adjunct professor at Murdoch University.

“The freedom to raise matters of public concern is a precious right which is under attack from many directions. Universities, by virtue of their intellectual mandate, ought to be bastions defending the right of free speech and freedom of information,” Professor Cribb states in a letter to VC Eeva Leinonen.

“I have greatly appreciated my past association with Murdoch University and I continue in my admiration for the high quality of Murdoch academics, but the action of the university management against Associate Professor Schröder-Turk makes it impossible for me to continue this association,” he adds.

Professor Cribb’s resignation follows 57 ARC Laureate Fellows writing to Professor Leinonen, arguing, “it is a long-established principle of academic freedom that academics must be able to criticise university governance.”

Last night Murdoch U DVC David Morrison responded to Professor Cribb, expressing regret at his resignation, adding;

“while we are unable to comment on legal matters, I invite you to appraise yourself of the facts surrounding the case so you can be personally reassured that Murdoch is, and will continue to be, a fine university committed to the fundamental principles of free speech.”

Turn up for tutes, or else says Uni Newcastle  

Next year the University of Newcastle will require 80 per cent tute attendance for first year undergrads. But not lectures

Required presence now varies from 100 per cent for some clinical health classes to nothing specified and Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky says an all-courses requirement is needed “to ensure our student experience is a highly engaged one.”

It also will mean more people on campus, “higher attendance will also help us create a more vibrant and active on-campus community which is a real focus for us. We want our students to experience a campus life that is diverse, inclusive and connected.”

The university means it, commissioning software for mobiles, which can record student attendance at class – those who don’t make 80 per cent will not be allowed to sit the course exam.

But it’s only for small-groups. Where technology permits lectures are recorded and available via the LMS, and university policy, “encourages students to attend face to face classes and to use the recorded lecture as a review tool.” This isn’t changing.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day


Griffith U announces its teaching awards;

Teacher of the year: Leanne Kenway (Medical Science)

Education leader of the year: Ruth McPhail (Employment Relations and HR)

Lifetime learning and teaching: Alf Lizzio (Learning Futures)


 Ruth Morgan (Monash U) wins the Australian Academy of Science’s 2019 Moran Award for History of Science Research. She will use the $2500 funding, (no there is not a naught missing) for research on the work of Australian scientists on climate change in the Southern Hemisphere, 1970-2000.

 Science and Technology Australia announces three board members, covering discipline constituencies. * aquatic sciences: Christopher Fulton (ANU). * medical and cognitive sciences: Karen Gregory (Monash U) * general sciences: Kathy Nicholson (Uni Adelaide).

Scott Wright is to move from the University of Melbourne to become professor of media comms at Monash U.

 Of the week

 The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering announces 25 new Fellows, full list in Wednesday’s CMM,

 The Australian Marketing Institute announces its 2019 awards, notably; CMO of the year: Fabian Marrone (Monash U).  Market and Consumer Research Insights: Bastion Insights and Deakin U (recruitment campaign for nutrition masters). Product/Service revitalisation: Destination Group and Francis Farrelly (RMIT).

Adam Boyton is the (interim) National Skills Commissioner.

Tiffany Donnelly will become principal of The Women’s Colllege, “within the University of Sydney.” She has been vice principal for 18 years. Dr Donnelly replaces Amanda Bell.

Andrew Everett (Charles Darwin U) is elected to the board of the International Education Association of AustraliaDavina Potts (Uni Melbourne) and Kelly Smith (La Trobe U) are re-elected. CEO Phil Honeywood has another five-year term.

David Gardner (Uni Melbourne) with colleagues from Japan and Germany, wins the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 2019 Basic Science Award.

The Prime Minister’s Literary Prizes are announced. Paul Genoni (Curtin U) and Tanya Dalziell (UWA) for Writers, dreamers and drifters in Hydra 1955-’64. Gail Jones (Western Sydney U) wins the fiction prize for her novel, The death of Noah Glass.

The UNSW Council has extended David Gonski‘s term as chancellor to  2023.

Jefa Greenaway (Uni Melbourne School of Design) is co-creative director for the Australian Pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale. He partners architect Tristan Wong. 

Ever-announcing Health Minister Greg Hunt, appoints the Primary Health Reform Steering Group. Members from the HE community include, Ewen McPhee (Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) and Claire Jackson (Uni Queensland).

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music announces Liza Lim will hold the Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music. The chair is funded by a bequest from the late composer Peter Sculthorpe.

Rossie Ogilvie is confirmed as Vice Principal, Advancement at the University of Sydney. She has acted in the position since February, moving from chief of staff to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence (CMM November 30 2018).

Martie-Louise Verreynne is leaving Uni Queensland’s business faculty, where is deputy head, to become PVC research and innovation in RMIT’s College of Business next year. She will rejoin former head of Uni Queensland’s biz school, Julie Cogin who moved to become RMIT’s PVC business in April.

In July Peter Yu will become director of the ANU’s National Centre for Indigenous Studies. He is chief executive officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group and a member of ANU’s council.