Comfort food

UWA researchers have found that people who have no choice in the exercise they do are more likely to eat unhealthy food afterwards,” the university announces. As anybody ever made to do burpees knows, it’s because they have earned it.

Three MOOC teams make world-best list

The edX shortlist for contributions to online teaching and learning is out and Australian course creators make the cut. Noel Lindsay and colleagues from the University of Adelaide are nominated for their, introduction to project management. The University of Queensland’s Rosyln Petelin is listed for her MOOC, “Write 101x: English Grammar and Style”. UoQ says 500 000 plus people have enrolled in the course in its three years. Andrew Howells and Bernadette Drabsch from the University of Newcastle are there for their MOOC on natural science illustration. If boasting was not un-Australian CMM would point out that the three local courses are on the edX global list of just ten.

Star Wars

Yesterday the University of Queensland congratulated singer Dami Im for performing at the Brownlow ceremony on Monday night, correctly claiming her as a music graduate. This could give Griffith U the irrits, because Ms Im is also a grad of its Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Perhaps they could agree on equal billing.

UA warns choosing between education investment and NDIS a “false dilemma”

Universities Australia says the government’s argument, that the Education Investment Fund must close to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a “false dilemma”. “As an advanced economy, Australia should have the ability to fund disability support services as well as a world-class education system,” UA states in its submission to the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into the fate of the EIF.

“The total amount of the EIF ($3.8 billion) will go nowhere near funding NDIS operations even for a single year. Yet, as a visionary and enduring investment in education and research, it delivers value and wealth to the nation in perpetuity.”

UA sets out for senators all the capital works the EIF has funded and warns closing it “will remove the last dedicated federal funding for university infrastructure.” This will leave universities, working on slim margins ,to fund their own infrastructure as they face the additional risk that the Senate will pass Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s funding cuts, expected in the Senate next month.

“The purpose of this legislation is to swap a long-term, nation-building, wealth-creating, innovation-supporting program that invests in economically productive assets, for a relatively small, one-off reduction of net Commonwealth expenditure,” UA warns.

The fate of the EIF was a live-issue at the beginning of the year, when there was talk of a legal challenge to closing it. This was never going to fly, ending the fund requires legislation which makes it easier to convince senators to knock it back. However, the EIF’s future is now on the negotiating agenda at a time of many possibilities. The government could offer to leave the fund in place if cross-bench senators back Minister Birmingham’s savings package,  which reduce the university systems’ permanent funding base. Alternatively, senators could transfer the EIF funds to the NDIS, while blocking the minister’s savings bill to demonstrate their apparent priorities. Or they could just vote against closing the EIF independent of other measures.


Strategic thinkers

Andrew O’Neil(Griffith U) and Stephan Fruhling (ANU) are shortlisted for the 2018 Bernard Brodie Prize, awarded by the journal Contemporary Security Policy. Brodie was a Cold War security analyst whose work thought about the unthinkable of nuclear-war fighting. The authors are nominated for their April article, “Nuclear weapons, the United States and alliances in Europe and Asia: Toward an institutional perspective,”  here.

Jaw jaw at Macquarie U better than war war

They are not digging trenches at Macquarie University, despite enterprise bargaining about to start. Instead of management and unions sending each other a bunch of demands and refusing to budge on them, (until they do), they are going to try talk through their objectives with the Fair Work Commission refereeing.

“Interest-based bargaining processes are usually facilitated by an independent person, and generally open with discussions around an issue and each party’s interests. Joint problem solving sessions follow, and decisions are made by the whole group following assessment of each option against a set of agreed criteria,” the FWC explains.

Enterprise agreements in universities can take months, stretching into years to reach, as management and union argue each other into exhaustion – so the new process is in everybody’s interest. And if it does not work, not to worry they can dig trenches.

O’kane honoured

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Mary O’Kane is the 2017 recipient of the Erna Hamburger Prize from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’ Women in Science and Humanities Foundation. The annual award “distinguishes influential, leading women scientists who are transforming their field and executing change.” Professor O’Kane “has acquired an extraordinary breadth and depth of experiences in innovation, research, higher education , energy, ICT, public policy and development,” EPFL states.

Happy feat: Flinders U named world’s best for digital illustration

Flinders U picks up a Rookie in a new university ranking. This may not sound like much but it matters a bunch to students who want to work in digital media arts.

The Rookies are awards  judged by a panel of digital arts-insiders, with a big Australian contingent – founders Andrew McDonald and Alwyn Hunt are both from Aus. They cite schools on the basis of submitted student creative. The big names here do not show up on the standard research and reputation rankings, except Flinders University, which with Adelaide partner CDW Studios is named the best digital illustration school for 2017. The Billy Blue College of Design in Sydney also rates, being the world’s third motion graphics school.

Trainers from all over the world appear in the four categories, with Gnomon (Los Angeles) and the University of Hertfordshire strongly represented.


Quite achiever

Give business schools half a chance and they will take credit for today being Wednesday but the S P Jain School of Global Management in Sydney’s Olympic Park keeps quiet. This puzzles CMM. Jain is a biggish international deal, with other campuses in Dubai, and Singapore and Forbes has just rated its one-year international MBA 16th on a global list. The Jain masters is not taught in Sydney but the elite cosmopolitan company the degree keeps the school in has to be good for the brand. The top five on the Forbes list are IMD, Insead, IE Madrid, Cambridge and SDA Bocconi (in Milan).

Memories of Dolly deliver

Madeleines, chips and gravy are not, but the staples of Australian fast food summon Proustian memories at ANU. DVC Marnie Hughes Warrington explains, in the new essay in her series on the rebuilding of the university, how the presence of food-trucks now connects ANU’s present to a past when Dolly’s food van fed staff and students and fuelled the foundation of memories triggered presumably by salt and cooking oil. A search for the original Dolly’s van did not deliver but archives and the memories of alumni create “an important message for those of us who work in universities today.”

“They remember the university. They remember wonderful researchers and teachers, as well as cleaners, receptionists and cooks. But they use those memories to connect with other people, and use humorous and often self-deprecating stories to gently prod us out of lines of thought that see only that one discipline, that one project, that one research output, or that one business process. They remind us of our wider value,” she writes.

CMM doubts Proust would have liked Dolly’s chips, but apparently Pauline Hanson did.

Kift gets a wish

When DVC A Sally Kift left James Cook U in February she told CMM (February 13) she wanted “a pan-sector teaching and learning role.” A new part of it is now in-place with Professor Kift joining the academic advisory board of university study-support partner Studiosity.

Top management achievers

The Association for Tertiary Education Management has announced its 2017 awards winners, including best practice achievements in:

Leadership: Catherine Clark, university librarian, Curtin University

Innovation: Student Futures Employability team, Monash University

Marketing: Angelo Kourtis and the UNLIMITED team, Western Sydney University

People and culture: Service Essentials Programme, University of Auckland

Research Management: Pre-award team, Research Grants Unit, University of Newcastle

Faculty and school management: Donna Burnett, Latrobe University business school

Policy and Governance: Melissa Hankinson and Grace Bryant, University of Canberra

Community Engagement: USQ Stars Project team, University of Southern Queensland

Student Engagement: Student Support and Retention Team, University of Southern Queensland

Outstanding Achiever: Elaine Abery, University of Newcastle