Just in at the “who knew!” desk

“Have you received an unsolicited text message lately asking you to click on a link? Someone might be trying to gain access to your personal data,” La Trobe U (via Twitter promotes research.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) wraps ranking season with the US News and World Report league table – what it’s based on, what it reports and why its limitations make a case for an overall ranking evaluation framework.

plus Stephen Parker on change coming  for higher education and where to look for an inspiring response.

and “TAFE bachelor degrees are able to break away from the competency-based model of vocational education that some providers consider to be a constraint on their responsiveness to industry,” Susan Webb, Elizabeth Knight, Steven Hodge and Shaun Rawolle suggest. Why, they ask, are there not more of them, in a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Warm Victorian welcomes

Monash and Melbourne universities were quick off the blocks following the Victorian Government announcement of “a safe, pathway for a limited number of international students to arrive each week.”

Monash U says it, “will cover the standard cost of quarantine” and have “a dedicated team of support specialists” to assist with pastoral care and education support while arrivals quarantine and help those who need it “access secure accommodation.”

In contrast, Uni Melbourne will write a $4000 cheque for arriving “enrolled international coursework and research students,” commencing and continuing both.

“The Melbourne Welcome Grant” goes “towards the cost of travel, quarantine and adjustment to study and life in Melbourne.”

A case for short courses

Until now at least

“The Job-ready Graduates Package has created 30,000 new university places and 50,000 new short course places this year alone. These new places are designed to create more opportunities for Australians to gain the skills and qualifications they need to help drive Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” Education Minister Alan Tudge said yesterday.

Presumably  the “short course places” he mentions are in the Undergraduate Certificate category which is set to be abolished at year end, unless state and federal ministers agree to keeping it. Sean Brawley (Macquarie U) explains in CMM here.  That the minister mentions them might be a positive sign, unless it isn’t.

Uni financials: Monash U stands out in a tough 2020

Revenue was down at universities across the country last year, according to new federal figures and earnings took huge hits – but not at Monash

How much: International student fee income across the system accounted for 26.6 per cent of public system revenue in 2020, compared to 27.3 per cent in 2019. In contrast investment earnings collapsed by 57.7 per cent, down $927.4m to $1.3bn.

Savings: Overall costs were effectively stable, largely due to cuts. While staff expenditure was up 5 per cent across the board, this is likely attributable to the one-off costs of redundancies.  Universities with significant staff cuts that had the highest per centage increases in staff expenditure include ANU (15.8 per cent) RMIT (12.3 per cent) and UNE (12.3 per cent).

The unis hit hard: The biggest international ed providers dropped big dollars. Uni Melbourne was down $59m, which was 6 per cent of international student earnings, UNSW was down close to $100m, 12 per cent of income. But Uni Sydney was actually up $43m, a 4 per cent rise.

In contrast universities that took big hits to their international student income include, ANU ($80m, a 24 per cent decline), CQU ($53m, 30 per cent) Charles Sturt U ($40m, 26 pet cent) La Trobe U ($40m, 21 per cent), Federation U $38m (31 per cent), Southern Cross U ($23m, 23 per cent)

The bottom-line: While nearly all institutions had a worse net operating result than for 2019, less than half, 16, were in deficit. Which looks not bad in a terrible year, until it is compared to 2019, when just four were in deficit.

However Monash U did well, with a 16 per cent improvement in its net operating result, to $267m. In contrast Uni Melbourne’s margin was down 49 per cent, to $178m.

What it means: For universities that rely on international students 2020 was the downward slope before a probable precipice. While enrolled internationals stuck with study, 2021 was not a great year for starters and unless something extraordinary occurs between now and February there may not be many in first semester 2022.

Uni SA cracks a big new market

The university announces a pathway programme with LinkedIn, (Facebook for the ambitious)

LinkedIn Learning offers short-courses to subscribers for $40 a month –some of which are ok enough to meet Uni SA standards. The university says it will credit completers of one or more LinkedIn courses with a subject in an UG degree, a $1700 saving.

The university advises academics and academic developers looked at 100 courses suggested by LinkedIn and picked eight which are a fit with Uni SA degree and meet its standards.

It’s another way for Uni SA to expand its market outside Adelaide, adding to the university’s national presence, via UniSA Online and expanding its international one. The university has a new JV with global biz consultant Accenture, to provide a bachelor degree in digital business and PD “tailored digital business training modules,” (CMM September 6).

Universities Australia comms awards

They were announced yesterday

* Fundraising, small team: Uni Sunshine Coast. * “Proactive comms:” Uni Queensland for “Learning through CVID 19”  * Real-time response: Doherty Institute, COVID-19 education campaign * Marketing campaign: Curtin U, “change is here” * Marketing campaign, small scale: Southern Cross U

When the good news isn’t

“I am confident we will see international students returning to Australia this year, with tens of thousands arriving back in 2022, which will also help boost university bottom lines,” Education Minister Alan Tudge releases university financials yesterday (scroll-up). Note “tens” not hundreds of thousands.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Jeffrey Braithwaite (Macquarie U) wins the Sidney Sax Medal from the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. The award is for his, “outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system.”

Mark Evans joins Charles Sturt U as DVC R. He moves from Democracy 2025, a JV of the University of Canberra and the Museum of Australian Democracy.

At Federation U, Wendy Cross will become DVC A in December. She moves up from dean, School of Health. Janette Wright joins as university librarian, moving from United Arab Emirates U.

In January Deborah Walker starts as People and Culture Director at Uni Sunshine Coast, she moves from Federation U.

 Of the week

Dylan Ashton (Uni Sydney) wins Cooperative Research Australia’s ECR award for using kangaroo tendon for human knee ligament grafts. Mr Ashton is at the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre. (CRA is the renamed Cooperative Research Centres Association).

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences 2021 fellows were in CMM Wednesday,here.

 The Australian Research Council announces its 2021 advisory council Calum Drummond, (RMIT), Mark Hutchinson (Uni Adelaide), Su McCluskey, (Commission for International Agricultural Research), Mark McKenzie (Council of Small Business Organisations Australia), Chris Moran (Curtin U) Michelle Simmons (UNSW), Deborah Terry (Uni Queensland) Maggie Walte (Yoo-rrook Justice Commission).  This is a second term for Professor Terry and Mr McKenzie, who have stayed on “to provide continuity.”

The Australian Research Council’s Indigenous Discovery Grants were in CMM yesterday,here.

Jo Barraket will be director of Uni Melbourne’s Melbourne Social Equity Institute. Professor Barraket will join from Swinburne U in January.

Fiona Brooks has started at Auckland U of Tech as PVC and Dean of Health and Environmental Sciences. She was previously Assistant DVC R at UTS.

CMO Magazine announces its top 25 marketers of the year, including: Carolyn Bendall, (Swinburne U) at 19, and Chaminda Ranasinghh (RMIT) at 21.

At Deakin U the VC’s award for team teaching goes to the Psychology Honours Team, Nicolas BennettJaclyn BroadbentChristian HydeNicolas Kambouropoulos, Jarrad LumNicholas RyanElizabeth Westrupp.

Lucy Franzmann joins Victoria U as CFO. She moves from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Helen Marshall is the 2022 South Australian of the Year. Professor Marshall is a vaccine scientist at Uni Adelaide.

At Monash U Nellie Georgiou-Karistianis becomes PVC (Research Training) at Monash U. She moves up from Deputy Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.   And Jacek Jasieniak is the new PVC Research Infrastructure – he is now Associate Dean (Research) in Engineering.

The 2021-24 membership of the National Health and Medical Research Council is announced. Caroline Horner is reappointed to the council and becomes the new chair Members are: * Emily Banks * Ainslie Cahill * Ian Frazer (reappointed)* Bronwyn Le Grice * Jane Gunn * Elizabeth Hartland * Yyonne Cadet-James * Richard Murray * Carolyn Sue  * Nicholas Talley * Debra Thoms * Alison Venn (reappointed)  * Steve Wesselingh (reappointed) and * Ingrid Winship (reappointed). State and Commonwealth chief medical officers are ex officio members.

Craig Neal (UNSW) is a runner-up in the International Air Transport Association thesis competition for his masters dissertation on demand for cargo airships in Australia. The other runner up is Tereza Bartlová (Brno (Czech Republic) UT) for a study of uncrewed VTOL vehicles. The winner is Martina Brysch (Uni Groningen) for a thesis on air cargo in the “physical internet.”

Stuart Parsons is moving from QUT to Uni Sunshine Coast to be dean of Science, Technology and Engineering. He starts there in January.

Peter Scott will move from PVC E at UTS to president of Athabasca U, (“Canada’s on-line university”), in Alberta.

Jacqui True (Monash U) is a 2021 Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs

At UWA, Tim Colmer moves from DVC R to interim Senior DVC – he replaces Simon Biggs who is moving to James Cook U as VC.  Anna Nowack takes Colmer’s old job, for the first six months of 2022. There is no word as yet on who will act in her position, PVC Health and Medical Research.