There’s more in the Mail

In Features today, David Myton looks at why some researchers must navigate a bureaucratic maze before getting down to business.

Adelaide is all you need

By virtue of our history, staff and activities, we can deliver, in partnership with the state, a new era of prosperity and growth for South Australia, and a new age of excellence and social renewal for its present and future residents.” … “The unique location of the University of Adelaide in the CBD provides us with an unparalleled advantage and opportunity to be a nexus of learning, research, culture, entertainment and sport in the heart of the city of Adelaide.” UoA explains what it can accomplish for South Australia in its new strategy paper. (Details below).

Mutually beneficial bargaining

There was good cheer all round at QUT at Christmas, where management and National Tertiary Education Union agreed on enterprise bargaining terms. It was a very QUT process with both sides knowing when to push and for what. The deal is in-line with most agreements in the existing round and includes, 17 per cent superannuation for fixed term staff, a target for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff numbers and a workload review.

CMM hears an enterprise agreement is also close at the University of South Australia, another university where the prefer jaw-jaw to war-war in industrial negotiations.

Publishing performance data for international education agents

The feds are asking for advice on publishing performance of international education agents. This delivers on an October commitment by Education Minister Dan Tehan.

The Commonwealth is now providing institutions with data on agents they use, covering individuals’ study outcomes, including completions and visa application success/failures. Agent performance will be published on-line mid-year.

The Department of Education and Training wants to know what providers want published in what format and when. “It could be located with the international student data collection on the department’s website, on the (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) website, with advice to students on choosing an education agent on the Study in Australia website, or somewhere completely new … publication could occur quarterly, twice yearly or annually.”

DET invites responses by February 8.

ODLAA abandons conference

The open and distance learning association has pulled the plug on its conference, scheduled for QUT next month. ODLAA tells CMM that conference numbers were such that going ahead would have meant “unacceptably heavy losses.”

Lloyd to stay at Uni SA to 2025

David Lloyd will continue as University of South Australia vice chancellor until 2025. Professor Lloyd accepted an extension of his contract in 2015, which then ran to 2022. He moved to UniSA in 2013. Announcing the 2015 renewal, then university chancellor Ian Gould said Professor Lloyd had bought, “a bold new vision and vigour to the university,” in a “period of significant external higher education policy uncertainty.” Presumably the same praise applies even more now, given the run of funding increased that applied then is over.

The new extension is surely also an endorsement of Professor Lloyd’s management of merger discussions last year with the University of Adelaide, which did not proceed. While there was commentary at the other end of North Terrace on the case for the deal and why it was not done Professor Lloyd kept quiet.

The good oil

MTP Connect  and (the feds’s med and pharma industry growth centre) BioMelbourne  are  hosting a “hot or not” discussion of what’s on for the sector this year. Ian Dixon will talk on exomomes in regenerative medicine, Sam Cobb, will report on market trends and Raffaele Calabrese will report on AI and IP. Swiss Wellness (multi-vitamins, fish oil and so on), will also speak, on consumer heath.

Uni Adelaide vision for a state university and university for the state

With the Uni SA merger off, Peter Rathjen’s University of Adelaide is planning to go it alone, sending staff a draft directions paper for a 2030 plan. “Our next strategy must help the university transform from ‘commentator’ on society to ‘active participant’, vested in delivering economic and social benefits,” it states.

The paper is standard Rathjen, presenting his university as transformer of economy and society, a vision he sold so well to Tasmanians as VC of the state uni.

‘The virtuous orchestration of our core capabilities will enable us to steer a path through … inescapable technological, societal and environmental challenges as we aspire to address society’s grand challenges, for the benefit of all.’’

The new paper sets out “three major vectors of change”, that should be “reflected” in education programmes and research projects; * tech transformation by big data, AI and machine learning,’ * social transformation generated by Industry 4.0, and * sustainability, “the imperative of the planet’s shrinking natural resources and climate change predicament, but an even broader concept when applied to the university itself.”

And it proposes five industry-facing research themes; agri-food futures, health solutions, defence and security, sustainable energy and resources and creative and cultural industries.

As in Tasmania, where Professor Rathjen worked to broaden sources of students, UniAdelaide is anxious to expand enrolment markets, with the paper referring to Indigenous, first-in-family and regionals. “Over the next 11 years, the university will transform its offerings to become more accessible and to positively impact a much larger proportion of the population than ever before.”

“Catering for such a broad and inclusive community of learners will require that the university becomes more accessible by offering flexible, modular and relevant programs, in a comprehensive range of disciplines. … To ensure the sustainability of our education enterprise, teams of academic staff and education professionals will work collaboratively with industry partners to design and deliver online and on-campus programs, and modules that can be selected by diverse learners to suit their own educational needs, as and when required.”

Green call for an inquiry into Uni Wollongong

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge calls for a “a cross-party parliamentary inquiry in the first half of 2019,” into University of Wollongong management. Mr Shoebridge is upset by the university accepting $50m from the Ramsay Western Civ Centre to fund staff and scholarships for a degree. “The Ramsay Centre is unashamedly seeking to celebrate and promote western civilisation, not to neutrally, let alone critically, examine it. It was established by a bequest from a billionaire Liberal party donor as part of that party’s ongoing culture wars,” he warns.

“Universities are governed by state laws and the NSW Parliament now needs to do its job and after the March state election immediately establish an open public inquiry into its management,” Mr Shoebridge wrote in an Illawarra Mercury oped (December 21).

Good-o, but at least one state law allows what Mr Shoebridge opposes.  The university’s Act (1989) appears to permit accepting funding, even Tory gold. “The university may generate revenue for the purpose of funding the promotion of its object and the carrying out of its principal functions, states 6, 3 (a1).


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.