Convenient to the seat of power

The Australian Council for Private Education and Training has opened a Canberra office, which CEO Troy Williams calls “a strategic move that signals a major investment in policy advocacy.” It will certainly be convenient if Labor wins the election and a minister summons ACPET to a lecture on the importance of TAFE.

Proper charlies at (C) Sturt U

Charles Sturt U is planning a comprehensive repackaging of subject content, course delivery and student support but it’s a proposed name change that is getting attention (CMM January 14). Less change than amendment really, the university likes the sound of Sturt University.

This has led to harrumphing from those who like the name as it is and diverted discussion from the important investments CSU, sorry SU to be, needs to make. You can bet the name will take up time at the community consultations that VC Andrew Vann and DVCs Jenny Roberts and Heather Cavanagh will host from next week.  Time better spent discussing the content and delivery that give the brand meaning

Uni New England has a win (ish) over workloads

A win, of sorts: University of New England management has had a win-ish in its interminable dispute with the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, over a new workload model.

The university wants a new workload model in its new-ish humanities, arts, social sciences and education faculty but last April Fair Work’s Commissioner Johns had a judgement reported saying nothing doing because a restructure of existing schools into the new academic unit did not end the effect of the policies that already existed (CMM April 11).

The commissioner confirmed the order in October (CMM October 17) but UNE appealed.

Some things stay the same: Now a full bench has found Commissioner Johns was right, except when he was wrong. Because the School of Education continued as before, but in the new faculty, its preceding academic workload policy stayed in place.

But one might change: However, this did not apply to the dean of the new faculty’s AWP’s for the three other schools, Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences; Humanities, and Arts, which ceased to exist and were rolled into the HASS school. “The language of the agreement makes no reference to nor contemplates a set of special arrangements for the preservation of previous AWPs in a newly formed school,” the commissioners now conclude. They accordingly have sent the question whether the university’s workload model for HASS is “a lawful exercise of managerial prerogative” back to Commissioner Johns.

Just not yet: But nothing will happen soon, “the balance of convenience favours the retention of the commissioner’s orders as a holding position. … The effect of quashing the order with respect to the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences would be to give immediate effect to the Dean’s direction. With a new academic year approaching, it would not be desirable to do so in advance of a decision as to its lawful status. Whilst this means the continuation for a period of time of the historic AWPs (which we have found was wrongly held to be extant) this is the industrially preferable course,” the commissioners state.

Practising for next year

“The Australian Open is well underway and competition is fierce! Want to understand how to nail the perfect serve?” The University of Adelaide promotes research by Derek Leinweber on the aerodynamics of tennis, via Twitter yesterday.

UniSA on line pay rates

Enterprise bargaining negotiations at the University of South Australia are said to be going well (CMM January 15), demonstrated by the dimension of outstanding issues. A learned reader says the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has notified management of a dispute under the existing agreement. The union wants to improve conditions for on-line tutors in 2019 by tripling paid preparation time, from three to ten hours for a ten-week on-line course, plus payment for marking outside course delivery time.

Achieving NCRIS infrastructure

The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy is ticking over nicely, according to a new report on 2015-2017 results, based  on what NCRIS facilities advise.

well cited: Research using its kit is well-regarded, with a field-weighted citation impact of 2.07, (suggesting the average citation for NCRIS-utilised research is twice for similar pubs). In 2015 34 per cent of NCRIC-based publications were in the top 10 per cent, rising to 37 per cent in ’17.

users: The report also backs the Group of Eight claim to be the nation’s research powerhouse, accounting for 21 per cent of NCRIS projects accessed by universities, compared to the Australian Technology Network (16 per cent), the Innovative Research Universities (14 per cent), unaffiliated unis (11 per cent) and the regionals (10 per cent). Off-shore institutions account for the balance.

And NCRIS people are mainly at the pointy end of research, with 79 per cent being tech staff.

problems: But among the good news the survey reveals just a quarter of staff are women, which did not move from 2015 to 2017. And half of projects are expected to reach end of life by 2025, although 14 per cent of technology platforms have an indefinite lifespan, subject to funding.

not to worry: NCRIS staff should not worry about ageing infrastructure, because they have many friends. When then education minister Christopher Pyne mused in 2015 about cutting funding for the strategy if his undergraduate deregulation package failed there was an outcry among researchers. The Group of Eight took out advertisements in The Australian and Fairfax press opposing the idea. (Oh, come on, you remember Fairfax). And NCRIS facility leaders got a case to explain what a great job their gear did to a Senate committee inquiry.

Appointments of the week   

La Trobe U reports it is losing Catherine Itsiopolous, head of the school of allied health. She is moving to Murdoch U to become PVC of the college covering science, health, engineering and education.

Ruth Shean is the new chair of the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research, replacing Peter Shergold. Dr Shean is a public servant, most recently DG of the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development.

The University of Melbourne has appointed Lucy Powell media manager. Ms Powell has “extensive experience” in corporate comms, external relations and reputation management.

The Deakin U MBA programme has four new adjunct professors, David Epstein (adviser to prime ministers and comms and regulatory affairs practitioner), recruiter Jo Fisher, director and former MP Chris Pearce and ACCI CEO James Pearson.

Murdoch U VC Eeva Leinonen is new chair of the Innovative Research Universities lobby, replacing Flinders’ Colin Stirling. The chair rotates among IRU members.

Clare McLaughlin is the new general manager of the National Health and Medical Research Council. She moves from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Sciencewhere she was GM, science agencies governance.

ANU’s Lyndall Strazdins is the new director of the university’s Research School of Population Health.

Michael Adams has started as dean of law at the University of New England. He stepped down as dean of the Western Sydney U law school last May, staying as a professor of corporate law (CMM May 25 2017).

HE policy (but not grizzled) veteran Andrew Dempster has joined KPMG in Canberra. Mr Dempster was a staffer with former Labor education minister Chris Evans and an advisor to Swinburne VC Linda Kristjanson. He moves from his own practise, Proofpoint Advisory. Canberra Andrew Dempster is not to be confused with Melbourne Andrew Dempster, who leads KPMG’s mental health advisory practice.

Victor Pantano will join the Digital Health CRC as CEO next month. He leaves the University of Canberra where he is associate VP, innovation and strategy.

Lisa Harvey-Smith joins UNSW as professor of practise in science communication. The university will also host her role as the Commonwealth’s women in STEM ambassador.