The Fair Work Commission says casual staff do not need help into permanent university work


plus: ATN unis’ smart strategy on getting what they want in the Senate


Why business education must do better in the age of innovation

James Cook U makes it plain: it’s got med ed covered


and: knee shot? ask UniWollongong about printing a new one

When you put it like that

“Want to rub shoulders with one of President Trump’s key advisers?”, University of Queensland News asks, announcing an event. Perhaps it’s meant as a warning.

Not so Open Day of the Day

Macquarie University is offering a ticketed option for its prospective student Saturday

The university assures CMM that the vice chancellor will not set the dogs on people who just turn up but progressive students who register in advance can build their own customised OD timetable, which is emailed to them. Plus, they qualify for a food voucher on the day.

Brilliant idea, Macquarie gets a list of prospects and the subjects they are interested in which could be used for follow-up contact and market research.

Naturally MU assures everybody that contact details are not shared with third parties and are held according to the university’s privacy policy – which would be good if there was one. It is “under development”, the www page states.

ATN gets into the game

Among all the nupathons submitted to the Senate inquiry into the government’s higher education plan there is a submission cross-benchers yet to decide might want to read

While most university advice stick to the script, warning cuts would cause famine, tempest (and possibly plague) on campuses across the country the Australian Technology Network’s is designed for senators who want to negotiate rather than just say no.

The ATN opposes the government’s proposed 5 per cent cut for each of two years, which “will ultimately result in diminishing returns,” and as for a lower starting income for repayment of HECS HELP, it is “wary of any measures that place increased financial burdens on students.”

But it also backs parts of the package – the proposal to protect the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme, funding for Work Integrated Learning and extending the demand driven system to sub degree places.

And it endorses the principal of others that still need work. ATN states it wants to work with government on implementing student-centric funding for Commonwealth supported professional masters courses.  While ATN questions the timing  of the proposed performance metrics and warns they must score things universities can control, it accepts the idea of funding tied to outcomes. “We look forward to engaging with the minister and department on the development of any metrics to ensure that whatever measure is used is fair, equitable and transparent.”

If Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham turns out to have the numbers to pass his cuts the ATN is a source the senators who will make or break the bill will turn to when it comes to negotiating the rest of the package.

Love your work

Peak bodies welcome a project they are part of

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency welcomes the government’s plan to make higher education admissions transparent. Universities Australia also thinks the scheme sound stuff, the soundest. “We tip our hats to all those involved in the process – government, student groups and provider representatives – for the constructive approach to the development of the plan. It serves as a good model for future initiatives.,” UA announced yesterday.

Given both were part of the plan and TEQSA, as well as UA’s members will implement it, it would be a worry if they did not like what is a comprehensive plan developed by the system for students.

But UA raises a good question. Can one raise one’s hat to congratulate one?

MOOC of the morning

Knees going? Not to worry, enrol in a FutureLearn course and prepare to run off some spares

The University of Wollongong is big on additive manufacturing, the science of printing all sorts of 3-D stuff – Monash U has printed a working jet engine.  But at UoW things are one thing, people are, well pretty much the same. This  MOOC is about bio-manufacturing, the science of printing body parts. At UOW you can learn a bit about it plus the medical/policy issues involved.

Cause of casuals fritzed in Fair Work

The full bench of the Fair Work Commission has rejected a union call for casual university staff to have industry-wide rights to convert to permanent employment  

The FWC Commission has considered the rights of casual staff in a range of industries as part of its statute-required review of a range of industry awards. It did not go well for university staff.

The National Tertiary Education Union argued that while a majority of university enterprise agreements allow casuals to convert to being permanent employees, universities regularly reject applications and casual employees often feel they dare not risk upsetting managers by asking.

However, Stuart Andrews from the Australia Higher Education Industrial Association and a raft of witnesses from universities countered that the system worked well and suited the circumstances of higher education.

In the end a commission full bench concluded yesterday that the existing arrangements work ok, that there was considerable evidence of successful conversion by casuals and that given there are enterprise agreements across the system the role of the award was not high.

In an unwanted compliment to the union the judgement states that when there are difficulties, “the NTEU had been effective in responding to these problems when they arose.”

From Clayton to Queensland

Monash PVC Industry Partnerships, Mohan Krishnamoorthy is moving to the University of Queensland where he will be PVC Research Partnerships.

James Cook makes it plain: it has med ed in the regions covered

JCU explains why it is doing a great job training doctors for the bush

The big sell for the proposed Murray Darling Medical School is that the existing system is letting the country down and that medical students who do some study at the country campuses of city med faculties return to town when they graduate.

But this morning James Cook U is explaining how its graduates love to live in the regions and how new federal funding will make it easier for them to stay. “James Cook University is answering the call for more doctors in regional, rural and remote Queensland,” the university assures us.

So cop that Charles Sturt and La Trobe universities, which sponsor the Murray Darling plan. Yes, James Cook is a regional university but it, like all the other universities with med schools, would likely lose undergraduate medicine places to create the MDMS.

This will go on until assistant health minister (and NSW Nats MP) Dr David Gillespie opens the keenly anticipated review of the distribution of undergraduate medical places and makes an announcement, probably from a secure bunker deep under parliament house.

Whatever he decides people, and lots of them, will be upset.

Business ed for an innovation age

Business education is a big business for universities, but academic researchers don’t connect enough with innovators in industry

James Guthrie, Elaine Evans and Roger Burritt have assembled ideas to address this, published this week as a collection of essays for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. *

The bad news, contributors report, is that business academics do not score strongly for research funding that could generate ideas industry needs. “There is a widely recognised gap, if not a chasm, between academic researchers and practitioners that needs to be bridged if the fruits of innovation are to be secured, “ Guthrie writes with Burritt, Evans and Katherine Christ.

Nor is research the basis, the bedrock, of business teaching, as it should be. “If we do not embed the excitement of research into our teaching, then education will become little more than can be gained from reading a text, and lifeless,” Guthrie writes with Barry Cooper.

The good news is that there is ample upside, especially if university business schools accept a new role for an age of innovation. As Sharon Winocur explains;

Implementation of the innovation agenda is dependent upon an informed and vibrant sector that understands where Australia needs to head and how it needs to transform. Business schools are the most appropriate vehicle to help redefine business models in this new knowledge economy. … Business schools have the potential to become a unique internal university service as well as a valuable service to business clients.”

It’s a frank and original collection (for a start one contributor quotes a Disraeli novel) which will be to the taste of readers who see business research and teaching as a resource extending outside the academy.

James Guthrie (CAANZ) , Elaine Evans (Macquarie U) and Roger Burritt (ANU), Improving Collaboration and Innovation  Between Industry and Business Schools in Australia (RMIT and CAANZ)