Just in at “who new!” desk

“A lack of diversity in international student cohorts exposes providers to financial risks if there are market disruptions or if one market declines suddenly,” the Commonwealth’s new international education strategy paper (scroll down).

Uni finances: the worse may be over

While 2020 system data is a ways off there are positive signs in the financial skies

In Features this morning Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman (Uni Melbourne’s Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) suggest “significant revenues” were up this year and public universities as a whole could absorb a 15 per cent decline in 2020 fees and charges earnings and still have had earnings around 2019 levels.

“The Australian university sector has a significant buffer (providing institutions are willing to take investment returns into consideration) to cover anticipated further reductions in international student fee revenue in 2021.”

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lisa Andrewartha on how to help students who are also parents. Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Plus, Tim Winkler makes the case for uni brands and why they must be way more than marketing. It’s an issue for his (with a little help from CMM) conference this week, on key issues in HE marketing, recruitment and identity.

Sign-up here.

Tudge warns teacher education faculties (again)

For the second time in a month the Education Minister has warned education faculties the “Government will use the full leverage of the $760 million it provides” if they continue to use teaching methods he does not approve of.

Last week Mr Tudge criticised a “constructivist approach” in initial teacher education maths courses, as opposed to “explicit instruction,”(CMM November 26). In October, he warned that “ideological resistance” in teaching training limits the use of explicit instruction and phonics.

The ITE peak body did not respond to what could be a threat and might be a promise from the minister on math teacher training, with the Australian Council of Deans of Education declining to comment on Friday.

However, the Media Centre for Education Research did issue a statement, quoting Macquarie U maths education academics, Dũng Trần, Michael Cavanagh and Rebecca Bull commenting on the Centre for Independent Studies report which informed Mr Tudge’s new statement. They questioned some claims and suggested some of its evidence was not “robust,” adding “we would welcome a more comprehensive discussion about the intricacies of effective mathematics teaching.”

Redefining value for universities

Big ideas this week at the last CMM-Twig event for the year

WednesdayWith the borders open will what will February look-like for international students on campus? Plus, what makes a university brand and matching graduates to job

ThursdayNew directions in marketing and the end for open days.

Friday: all over for the ATAR plus courses in demand (and not)

Check out the experts addressing the issues here.

TEQSA chief warns “no snap back” for higher education

Coaldrake warns students expect the experience to match the “sticker price”

Higher education providers responded “nimbly to the “profoundly difficult and urgent challenges” of COVID 19. They will need to keep responding as there will be no “snap-back” Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Chief Commissioner Peter Coaldrake, told the agency conference, Thursday.

Professor Coaldrake warned HE faces continuing problems with pedagogy and people.

Shifts to on-line, blended and hybrid learning mean, “notions of time, place and space are being up-ended” and student expectations must be met, both in terms of experiences that meet the “sticker price” and also in their expectation that they are “partners in learning.”

HE providers also face the impact of educational and operational skill shortages. Professor Coaldrake pointed to a loss of “significant corporate knowledge” in “engine room functions” in some institutions, which will be “hard and costly to replace.”

And he warned departures of junior academic and professional staff will have “downstream impacts” in “capability, succession and progression.”

In particular, he points to, learning and teaching “where the roles of academic and professional staff naturally overlap or complement.”

Group of Eight warns on new international ed strategy

Announced Friday the strategy addresses Education Minister Alan Tudge’s big D – for diversification in markets, target segments in them, products and delivery but the Go8 has concerms

India and China will remain “valued partners in international education,” the paper states. However, “the government is committed to working with the sector to identify optimal strategies to diversify the student cohort.”

Plus “there may be an opportunity” to diversify student-mix at the “sector, institution, campus or location, field of education, course or classroom level.” And the government will “will grow and diversify Australia’s offshore and on-line delivery to international students,” including offering short-courses and microcredentials.

These and other proposals in the paper were previously floated by Mr Tudge, notably in a major speech at RMIT in March (CMM March 31). Which may be why peak bodies were brief in their responses Friday. Unless policy people are waiting on what the government will want them to do, when the enforcing review of relevant legislation is completed next year (scroll down).

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia welcomed the strategy, saying depending on a small number of markets is “not sustainable” and that the new approach is critical for its members. “They have been walloped in the past eighteen months, (it) could not have come at a better time,” Chief Executive Troy Williams said.

Universities Australia “acknowledged the release” of the strategy, “as a step towards recovery.”

In contrast, the Group of Eight responded that it “is in a strong position to advance Australia’s international education.”

But, it has a bunch of buts about the government’s ideas.

For a start, “diversification of the market will take time in an increasingly competitive global environment”

And, “we must provide education and research in response to student demand as well as government policy”

Plus, “there is no strong evidence however to assume that international students will accept on-line study as a continued alternative to the on-campus experience.”

Getting flight plans right

Charles Darwin U has taught people to fly drones for years (CMM June 30 2017) but there’s more to it than straightening-up and flying-right, certainly in the NT

CDU’s Jennifer Macdonald is lead author on using drones for research and observation in ways that prioritise First Nation perspectives and knowledge practices.


College staff to vote on striking at WSU

Management and unions at Western Sydney U generally give and take their ways to agreements but not just now at WSU’s pathway provider The College

Staff will vote next week on taking protected industrial action as part of enterprise bargaining, ranging from work bans to “indefinite stoppages.”

Management put an offer to staff in August, which included a 1.25 annual pay rise across the agreement. The university branch of the National Tertiary Education Union urged staff to oppose it and the offer was knocked back by 80 per cent of staff voting (CMM August 9).

Enterprise bargaining is also underway at the university itself, which may make negotiations at The College are a proxy for the way-bigger stakes there as well as a local issue.

How the Government plans to get what it wants on international education

There’s a review of international education legislation to ensure the Tudge plan is implemented

As part of the plan announced Friday the Department of Education Skills and Employment is commissioned to review the Education Services for Overseas Students Act, including the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (2018).

The review will “provide advice” on how to

* “enable quality offshore, online and blended delivery, to drive diversification of Australia’s international education sector and offerings

* “support alignment between students’ English proficiency and their courses


* “increase transparency of third-party arrangements to improve market efficiency, including the role and costs of education agents”

Senior jobs covered at Charles Sturt

But there’s no word on a big one

Provost and DVC A John Germov left Charles Sturt U (moving to Victoria U) Friday. Janelle Wheat takes over as DVC A for the rest of the year, after which she will return to being PVC Learning and Teaching due to that role’s “criticality”.  And so, in January Sue Carthew (ex Charles Darwin U) will become Interim DVC A.  A permanent appointment is being recruited. There is  no word on the provost position.

Appointments, achievements

Griffith U combined its research, teaching and support awards into single event this year, making way-more announcements than CMM can fit. The complete list is here

 Monash U announces the VC’s awards, of which there are around 200 recipients, the list is here.

 Winners of the South Australian 2021 Science Awards include *Australian Institute for Machine Learning – Science-Industry Collaboration (Uni Adelaide) * Alicia Byrne – PhD research (Uni SA) * Justin Chalker (Flinders U) – innovator of the year * Giselle Rampersad (Flinders U) – STEMM Educator of the Year * Michala Short (Uni SA) – unsung hero * Shizhang Qiao (Uni Adelaide) Scientist of the Year * Graham Wegner – primary/secondary STEMM educator of the year (Prospect North Primary)

 Derek Scott (principal Haileybury School) is the new chair of the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, appointed for a three-year term. He replaces Belinda Robinson.

Jolly good (and new!) fellows at two learned academies

The Australian Academy of the Humanities announces its 2021 Fellows

* Timothy Bayne (Monash University) * Jean Burgess (QUT) * Heather Burke (Flinders U) * Richard Cosgrove (La Trobe U) * Louise D’Arcens (Macquarie U) * Jane Davidson (Uni Melbourne) * Gloria Davies (Monash U) Susan Dodds (La Trobe U) * Trevor Evans (Macquarie U) * Lisa Ford (UNSW) * Robert Freestone (UNSW) * Julie Gough (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery )*  Purnendra Jain (University of Adelaide)  * Stewart King (Monash U) * Shino Konishi (Australian Catholic U, UWA) * Michael McDonnell (Uni Sydney) * Julian Millie (Monash U)  * Cassandra Pybus (independent scholar) * Peter Riddell (Australian College of Theology) * Wendy Rogers (Macquarie University) * Nick Thieberger (Uni Melbourne) * Catherine Travis (ANU) * Sue Trevaskes (Griffith University * Frederik Vervaet Uni Melbourne) * James Walker (La Trobe U)

As does the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

Louise Adams (Aurecon),Kenneth Baldwin (ANU), Sandeep Biswas (Newcrest Mining), Elizabeth Croft (Monash), Wenhui Duan (Monash U) Richard Eckard (Uni Melbourne), Menachem Elimelech (Yale U) Karen Hapgood (Deakin U), James Johnson (Geoscience Australia), Dayong Jin (UTS), Sue Keay (Queensland AI Hub), Dale Lambert (Defence Science and Technology),Marcia Langton (Uni Melbourne), Chengdao Li (Murdoch U), Ivan Marusic (Uni Melbourne), Sally McArthur (Swinburne U), Graeme Moad (CSIRO), Andrew Nash (CSL), Andrew Parfitt (UTS), Michael Robertson (CSIRO), Kelly Bayer Rosmarin (Optus), Jason Sharples (UNSW) Kylie Sproston (Bellberry Ltd), Hugh Williams (Uni Melbourne), Trish Williams (Flinders U), Irene Yarovsky (RMIT), Xiao-Lin Zhao (UNSW)