In breaking news

The University of Adelaide tweets, a BSc student “was bold enough” to cite Justin Bieber in an essay, only to discover her markers were “fellow Beliebers”! Let there be no mention of the academic superiority of UniAdelaide in merger talks with UniSA.

MOOCs of four mornings

The magisters of mookness at the University of Queensland have four new open online courses launching next month. Three are units in the UofQ’s micromaster programme. Energy Development (“resource depletion, population, consumption, security and conflict on ensuring energy access for all”) is part of the Sustainable Energy mm. There is a new unit in the Business Leadership programme and a course on ideas development in the Corporate Innovation qualifcation.

There is also a stand-alone Queensland, Germany and Austria co-production on market segmentation analysis.

Headline of the week

Mutton announces Peacock appointment to pork body,” from global industry resource,  The Pig Site. Mutton is Denis to his mates, the chair of the Australasian Pork Research Institute and Peacock, is the (not especially gorgeous tailed) Tony, who runs the CRC Association.

CQU on course in Cairns

The last time James Cook was this irritated around Cairns was when HM Bark Endeavour hit the Great Barrier Reef some 248 June’s back.

This time the irritant is not coral but a bloke, Scott Bowman who has an award from the Cairn’s Chamber of Commerce for making it a two-university town. For decades James Cook University had a higher education monopoly in Cairns, which ended as Vice Chancellor Bowman brought his CQU to town in 2012 –it now has 1000 students there. Plans to expand, with a $54m development, depend on federal funding (CMM August 8 2017). Local federal MP Warren Entsch has made positive noises and Cairns Chamcomm seems on-side.

It will be a matter for Bowman’s successor – he sails into the sunset at Christmas, perhaps with a map from JCU to ensure he does not run aground and have to come back.

Hobart fills up

There is such an accommodation shortage in Hobart that the University of Tasmania has bought a hotel to put up students. Yesterday the Bureau of Statistics explained why, reporting the state’s population growth rate tripled between 2015-2017 to 0.9 per cent, a figure the city has not seen for a decade.

Education outcomes that aren’t looking good

Productivity Commission research figures show Australia is not doing as well on skills and education as oft assumed. The commission reports that, after a decade of growth, the per centage of 18-24 year olds with Y12 or a certificate III fell last year, to just over 86 per cent, a couple of per cent down on ’16 and below trend. And the country is behind the national objective to reduce the per cent of adults without a certificate III or better from 45 per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2020. This year’s figure is just under 40 per cent, 10 per cent worse than planned. Higher qualification completions aren’t terrific either, peaking at 88 000 in 2012 and falling to 57 000 in January 2016.

But not to worry, all five performance indicators of skill reform set by government are met.

None of this is likely to surprise Peter Noonan and Sarah Pilcher from Victoria U’s Mitchell Institute (CMM April 23) who warn, “if participation rates in higher education and VET in Australia fall as the population increases there will be fewer people of prime working age who can effectively participate in the labour market in the future.”

Vann steps up

Charles Sturt Us first response to images of students dressed in KKK garb, and one dressed as a concentration camp prisoner was to say not-much about what they had done (CMM June 18). But the university has stepped up, while it still does not name what students were wearing, last night VC Andrew Vann confirmed that the people involved were now confirmed to be CSU students and that a misconduct inquiry is underway. “I want to reiterate that the Charles Sturt University community and I do not accept nor condone this behaviour. It simply will not be tolerated,” he said.

Impact intrigues AAMRI

The Australian Research Council isn’t alone on pondering how to measure research impact. The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes has a $140 000 grant to “develop a simple and standardised framework that will enhance the sector’s capacity to translate research and knowledge into impacts that meet community needs. Good luck with “simple”.

Dissolved and solved: ANU addresses a problem for all civilisations 

Marnie Hughes Warrington speaks up for a fundamental of civilisation, western, eastern everywhere, in the new essay in her series on the building of the new ANU.  The intellectual challenge she addresses is the history, theory, and practise of protecting the environment from fat, gunk in the waste pipes of commercial kitchens that fouls the environment if it escapes. She describes the basics of beating the fat bergs and how ANU has built a state-of-the art fat containing system, based on new technology in trapping grease and big thinking on waste logistics. Fascinating stuff, which makes CMM wonder, if the Enlightenment was that crash-hot how come 18th century waste disposal was so crap?


New ranking, same order

Ranking provider QS must have had such fun publishing its annual world university ranking at the start of the month that it is back already with another, the QS Top 50 Universities under 50 years for 2019. That there are 150 institutions on the list, and it is branded next year does not seem to bother the universities who make the cut, many of which were announcing their achievements yesterday.

The top 50 results, at least for Australia, are not especially surprising, what with the order being the same as for the all-uni ranking. UTS is tenth in the world, followed by Uni Wollongong (16), QUT (19), Curtin U (20), RMIT (21), UniSA (25), Deakin U (31), Griffith U (35), James Cook U (43) and Swinburne U 45th.

Appointments, achievements of the week

Judyth Sachs becomes chief academic officer at online study support providerStudiosityProfessor Sachs is now a member of Studiosity’s academic advisory board. Professor Sachs is a previous provost of Macquarie U, where she created the PACE (for professional and community engagement) job placement for undergraduates. Studiosity is now a PACE partner.

The European Foundation for Management Development award for a top ten of doctoral papers is out, conducted in cooperation with publisher Emerald. The only ANZ winner is Michael Kruesl from the Auckland Institute of Technology. His thesis is on management contracts in hotels.

Flinders U reports staffer Maria Parappilly is a new fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics. Dr Parappilly is the university’s research section head for STEM education.

John Roberts from UNSW is awarded the Buck Weaver marketing science award from the US Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The university is anxious to advise that this Henry “Buck” Weaver was a GMH consumer researcher and not the baseball player named in a game-fixing scandal in 1919. Professor Roberts must get asked about that all the time at Kensington.

Recently departed Universities Australia chief, Belinda Robinson becomes new chair of the Cooperative Research Centres Association.

Lisa Adkins is moving from the University of Newcastle to become head of the social and political sciences school at the University of Sydney (her new institution was inadvertently deleted in yesterday’s email edition).

Alexander Downer will receive an hon doc from the University of Adelaide, “for his exceptionally distinguished service to Australian society and the university.”

Therese Wilson is the new dean of law at Griffith University, replacing Pene Matthew.

Johanna Lowe is confirmed as University of Sydney director of marketing and communications.  She has worked in comms functions at the university for five years.

Nicole Bunning joins consultants Nous Group from QUT where she was HR director until January.

Rebe Taylor (University of Tasmania) is the inaugural winner of the $25 000 Green Family Award for Tasmanian history for Into the Heart of Tasmania: a search for human antiquity.  VC Rufus Black calls the award “a wonderful affirmation of the importance of history and place and of an inspiring historian.

ANU and University of Canberra academics have received Max Crawford Medals from the Australian Academy of the HumanitiesRaihan Ismail is a lecturer at ANU’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies and researches Islamic theology and Arab cultureAna Tanasoca is a post doc at the University of Canberra with research interests in moral philosophyethics and political theory. The Crawford Medal is for early career researchers.

Richard Hopkins joins UNSW’s engineering faculty as a professor of practise. A former operations head for the Red Bull Formula One team, Professor Hopkins will mentor students in the solar car and Formula SAE race car programmes.