Why Lemm left: inquiring Deakin minds want to know

Late Monday Deakin U VC Iain Martin told staff in the arts and education faculty that they were short a boss, that executive dean Vanessa Lemm had left the university, “effective today” (CMM August 16)

But that wasn’t that.

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is calling on the VC to meet with faculty staff to “to make an account of the relevant issues and decisions relating to Professor Lemm leaving.”

“The unexpected decision regarding Professor Lemm occurs against a backdrop of leadership-induced chaos at Deakin,” the union states.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on getting into a socratic style. “I will be accepting invitations and I’ll also be looking to consider whom I might invite to participate in my teaching,” he writes.

plus Angel Calderon on the ARWU ranking  HERE

and David Chinofunga (James Cook U) on creating maths courses: remember to include what students already know. This week’s contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally’s Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Expert Opinion: opportunities in Indonesia

In the depths of COVID last year CQU VC Nick Klomp was in Indonesia to sign an agreement to teach a course. There is, he says, more where that came from

In Expert Opinion episode ten he talks about developing plans and building relationships to grow CQU’s connections to help meet Indonesia’s enormous appetite for education and training.

Uni Melbourne confronts its racist past

The university’s Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education announces a project to “examine the relationship between Indigenous Australia and the University of Melbourne from its foundation in 1853 until the present”

“In the spirit of truth-telling, it will properly articulate the contested histories of the University of Melbourne – including its eugenics history and practices of scientific racism,” the MCSHE states.

There will be a book from MUP in mid ’23 and a suite of “additional outputs” including a website, “to promote critical and scholarly engagements with this history,” a  podcast series and training programmes.

The project is Indigenous-led, with 70 contributors from the university.  Editors are Marcia Langton, Ross Jones and James Waghorne.

Time for Tamworth at Uni New England

In the closest thing to not bad news for a while at UNE

Tenders are called for “a purpose-built university campus” in Tamworth, the much bigger regional centre that neighbours UNE’s Armidale base.

This has been a long-time coming, depending on NSW state government funding, with more from the Commonwealth (CMM March 11 2019).  But Barnaby Joyce the federal member for the two towns issued a hurry-up last year, saying, “it’s not a matter of whether; it is going to be a matter of when—and we want the “when” to be as soon as possible (May 25 2021).

Not that university management thought there was a choice. If UNE did not do it, “another university would be now establishing its presence in that city – and UNE and Armidale would be poorer for it,” former vice chancellor Brigid Heywood warned (CMM April 21).

So what’s for the Uni New England community not to like? Perhaps there’s a clue in the university’s announcement. “The new campus will be connected to the broader UNE teaching, learning and research network but have a strong emphasis on community and local industry requirements. “

Monash U on track for trains

The Victorian opposition announces it will cancel the Melbourne suburban rail loop project if it wins the November election

Which may be why there is a Monash U statement supporting the project, as “the best possible solution for the Monash community, our partners in the Monash Technology Precinct and broader South East community.” Or maybe not, there is no mention of why the university is offering an opinion now.

Nor is there a reference to the armoury of objections it fired at the project plan for a station to serve the Clayton campus station, which “will affect the university’s ability to operate and meet its longer term strategic goals,” (CMM January 25)


IT works for international grads

As employers cry out for skilled workers an on the ground source is under-utilised

The promise of post study work rights is a big part of the sell to international students, implying opportunities to lay career foundations.

It is fulfilled for IT grads but not so much for those in bized and engineering.

Ly Tran (Deakin U) and colleagues* combined qualitative and survey research to identify the post-study work experience of international grads from Aus institutions.

They found many employers  prefer to hire people with permanent residency, leaving graduates on PSWR visas to languish in jobs below their skills level – but not IT graduates who have advantages that mean more of them get jobs and get them more quickly in their field than engineering and business grads.

This is due, in part to market demand and transferable tech skills that means IT grads don’t need on the job training. Plus IT is a cosmopolitan industry with a globalised and welcoming workforce, interested in people who can get a job done, rather than their residency status or local work experience.

The contrast between the IT experience of PSWR and that of business and engineering grads is a problem for education providers. Professor Tran and the other authors warn, “the employment outcomes of international graduates are indicative of their capacity to deliver on graduate employability promise and vital to their competitiveness in the global education market,” they write.

* Ly Thi Tran, Huyen Bui, Mark Rahimi (all Deakin U) and George Tan (Charles Darwin U),

Continuing jobs for academic casuals at Australian Catholic U

It follows Western Sydney U’s breakthrough announcement

 Australian Catholic U has agreed to reduce its reliance on sessional academic staff by more than 20 per cent. This would deliver the equivalent of 85 FTE new on-going academic positions, with existing sessionals having priority.

It comes as part of bargaining between management and the National Tertiary Education Union for a new enterprise agreement.

This does not mean an overall deal is done to improve the condition of casual staff. NTEU branch president Leah Kaufmann says they continue to face employment uncertainty and receive less superannuation contributions.

But it is a significant step to reduce the size of the precariat at ACU. It follows a breakthrough deal reached last month by the NTEU and management at Western Sydney U in July, as part of bargaining for a new agreement there.

If approved by staff the proposed WSU agreement will include 150 new FTE jobs for casual academics to convert to continuing employment (CMM July 26 and 27).

With WSU and now ACU setting precedents similar arrangements at other universities will surely come.

VET off the bottom

The estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research reports a 9 per cent lift in students enrolled in national recognised VOCED last year on 2020, to 4.3m students

The big growth was in short, stand-alone subjects – up 14.7 per cent, to 2.7m although improved reporting may account for some of this.

These are largely related to employment, the top six are on first-aid training and 99 000 people learned to drive a forklift.

up, 24 per cent of Australian residents aged 15 to 64 trained for something.

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Frank Dunshea (Uni Melbourne) receives the 2022 American Feed Industry Association award for ruminant nutrition research from the American Society of Animal Science.

“Distinctive and renowned” fashion designer Akira Isogawa joins UTS as a research supervisor.

At RMIT Claire Macken moves from interim ED Academic and Students to PVC Vietnam, effective October.

Natalie Moltschaniwskyj becomes chief scientist for the NSW Department of Primary Industries. She steps up from head of fishery research, prior to which she was at Uni Newcastle.

Of the week

At the Australian Law Awards Mitchell Adams (Swinburne U) is named academic of the year. Teela Reid (Uni Sydney) is Indigenous Leader.

The Australian Teacher Education Association announces its 2022 awards and grants. Research awards go to, Sharon McDonough (Federation U) and Mark Selkrig (Uni Melbourne). ECR grants go to, Sun Yee Yip (La Trobe U) and Haoran Zheng (Monash U).

Judy Bailie (Uni Sydney) receives the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award. Pianist and composer Dr Bailie is a giant of jazz (CMM is a fan, she once played Bernstein’s “Some other time” when he asked.

As of October, Paul Bonnington will be PVC (Research Infrastructure) at Uni Queensland.  He moves from Monash U, where he is director of eResearch.

Andrew Clark (Charles Sturt U) is elected president of the “preeminent scientific forum for wine science,” the Vino Analytica Science.

Belinda Ferrari is appointed Associate Dean, Research at UNSW Science.

Peter Jones joins Macleay College as GM. He was previously at Study Group, for seven years.

Rounak Manoharan (Electro Optic Systems company) wins the People’s Choice Award at the National Measurement Institute’s 2022 Metrology Awards.

David Martinez Martin steps up to deputy director at Uni Sydney’s Sydney Microscopy and Microanalysis.

Ron Maxwell is appointed deputy chair, VET at Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia. He is CEO of not for profit jobs and skills agency VERTO.

Monash U appoints six new Arts professors, * Sharon Bong (Monash Malaysia, Arts and Social Sciences) * Jacqui Broad (Philosophical, Historical and International Studies) * Kate Fitz-Gibbon (Social Sciences) * Katrina Lee-Kho (Social Sciences) * Marie Seagrave (Social Sciences) * Belinda Small (Media, Film, Journalism).

MS Australia announces “incubator” grants for multiple sclerosis research by * Alistair Govier-Cole (Monash U) * Vivien Li (Royal Melbourne Hospital) * Belinda Kaskow (Murdoch U) * Bruce Taylor (Uni Tas).

Michelle Muchatuta joins Independent Higher Education Australia as policy director. She previously led a corporate risk team at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

The National Measurement Institute reports Oliver Jones (RMIT) wins its Barry Inglis Medal and Neil Robinson (UWA) wins the NMI Prize.

Anaemia researcher Sant-Rayn Pasricha, from the MRI formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, wins the Jian Zhou Medal, for mid-career researchers working on research translation.  The medal, from the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, is named for the late Dr Zhou, who worked with Ian Frazer on the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines.

Peter Radoll (Victoria U) becomes an executive council member at the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At Southern Cross U, David Heilpern becomes dean of law. He was previously a magistrate. Richard Dunford starts a six-month appointment as interim ED of Business, Law and Arts.

University of the Sunshine Coast announces appointments * Richard Constantine is COO as of October, he relocates from Victoria U * Alex Elibank Murray moves up to PVC Global and Engagement from USC’s head of international * Anthony Perkins will be foundation dean of the School of Health, starting October. He moves from Griffith U.  * Omer Yezdani has started as Chief Data Officer (as previously reported in CMM).