The Leiden rankings: a remarkable achievement for Australia
Merlin Crossley on risk taking, leaps of faith, the pleasure of being right, and Nessie
Always look on the bright side of North Terrace
What do you give a man who has an asteroid named after him? Obvious innit, an hon doc from the University of South Australia. CMM has the nudge-nudge, that Eric Idle will receive his Thursday night. Say no more.
Scientists a bit less pessimistic than last year (but only a bit)
Pay rises for scientists in the last year were 2.1 per cent, in-line with economy-wide, increases. However, this is behind the premium paid to scientists across the last decade, ranging from 0.2 per cent to 2 per cent per annum, according to the annual survey of employment and pay, from Science and Technology Australia, Professionals Australia and Professional Scientists Australia. The slowing trend “creates the risk that we will struggle to attract bright, creative and committed people to the vital endeavours of science and technology – this at a time when a diverse and sustainable science and technology workforce has never been more important to Australia’s future,” the lobbies warn.
It’s worse for women, with female scientists paid 16 per cent less than men.
The gender gap is due to factors including women being concentrated in junior roles and women over 40 leaving the scientific workforce. The only disciplines where women are paid more than males are botany and marine science. This is a bigger gap than for women across the entire education sector, where women earn 9.7 per cent less than men, (CMM November 15).
Overall, 74.9 per cent of scientists surveyed said Australia is “not well prepared” for emerging challenges. A third of respondents said they had noted a decline in scientists in decision-maker roles over the last year.
And this is good-ish news! “This year we’ve found that fewer scientists than previously are feeling pessimistic about the future of their sector, STA’s Kylie Walker says.
“More than half of all those surveyed said morale is falling in their workplace. It’s a slight improvement on last year but these numbers remain alarmingly high.”
Federation U’s not especially regional expansion
Federation U announces what it will do with the $47m the government has given it for its Berwick campus, which passes as regional – if Google Maps malfunctions. According to the university, Berwick is 40km from the Melbourne CBD, “accessible via an excellent rail network“.
The university will build a new science lab, sundry spaces “to accommodate (a) projected increase in staffing,” more library and learning support, and, among other things, a third clinical learning environment for nursing. What like they teach down the road at Monash Peninsula, half an hour away at Frankston and further from the city than Berwick?
In 2016 Monash U committed to a $20m expansion in disciplines including allied health and primary care at Peninsula (CMM September 27 2016). CMM suspects the Feds did not support it with regional funding.
USQ gets creative over arts structure
The University of Southern Queensland loves a restructure, with four change plans proposed in the last six months. The latest is a proposal to create separate schools of creative arts and humanities-comms. It follows a review of the creative arts academic unit which included how it interacts with the university’s performance provider Artsworx, which sounded that things might be tense at times (CMM October 3). This proposal is about undoing a 2014 academic merger so that creative arts can have “a strong and visible identity … to effectively deliver the programs and facilitate future growth.” The university states that only academic employees are involved with no impact on services or the academic programme. If the proposal gets up the university wants the school split in place by January 1.
But what about Artsworx? USQ says it, “will be the subject of a separate organisational change process,” in the new year.
Uni of Wollongong expands in Malaysia
University of Wollongong is expanding into Malaysia, buying, subject to government approval, majority shares in local provider KDU’s university colleges in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The colleges have 6 000 enrolments, with the capacity to double numbers. UoW now provides pathway courses in Malaysia via a partner college. KDU’s enrolments are 85 per cent Malaysian, with the balance from other South East Asian countries. UoW says this is not expected to change.
UoW has had a campus in Dubai for 30 years and expanded into Hong Kong in 2016.
Wild time at Monash U
“Fever pitch excitement ahead of this evening. This is just the beginning of a new generation of global experiential education at the intersection of HASS and STEM for Monash arts students.” Dean Sharon Pickering previews last night’s Monash University Global Immersion Guarantee launch. The programme will send undergraduates to learn about environmental challenges in Mumbai.
Needed: higher quals for VET teachers
Australian qualifications for VET teachers are “much lower” than international equivalents and they to be higher, Flinders U’s Anne Dening argues. One problem in creating an up-skilling culture comes from the way quality assurance is assessed at the level of training organisations, which does not include individual standards for teachers, TAFE veteran Dr Denning argues. Under existing arrangements voced teachers upgrade their Certificate IV in VET teaching when the training package that covers them is renewed.
Dr Dening adds to the argument, made by Federation U’s Erica Smith that VET teachers need to be degree qualified (CMM June 21). If Labor forms the next federal government and sets up its all of post-school education review this will be on the agenda.
Not much to celebrate
Tomorrow is World Television Day as proclaimed by the United Nations. Clearly the General Assembly has not watched a lot of dating shows.
Appointments, achievements at ANU, NHMRC and Humanities Academy
Deakin U’s Saeid Nahavandi, (haptics, robotics, complex systems) has won Geelong’s Barry Jones medal, awarded for advancing the cause of research and innovation in the city. The award is named for the Geelong-native, all-Australian polymath.
The ANU Vice Chancellors awards are announced with philosopher Frank Jackson winning the peak staff honour, the Peter Baume award.
Other awards go to: Early Career Academic: Mohsen Rahmani, (Physics & Engineering). Educational Excellence: Shari Read, (Management). Impact and Engagement: Graham Walker, (Centre for the Public Awareness of Science). Innovation (Service and Solution): Geoffrey Hinchcliffe and education committee, Art and Design. Public Policy and Outreach: Adele Chynoweth, (Archaeology & Anthropology). Reconciliation: Amanda Stuart and Balawan Elective Team, (Art and Design). Excellence in Research: Susan O’Connor, (Culture, History & Language). Clare Burton Award for Excellence in Equity & Diversity: Andrea Butler, Katherine Carroll and Breastfeeding at ANU working group.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has announced membership of its Health Innovation Advisory Committee, to serve until 2021.
Chair Katherine Woodthorpe, is also in the NHMRC’s overall advisory council. Other members are; Matthew Cooper (UoQ), Dean Moss (health and biotech investor), Anna Lavelle (chair, Medicines Australia), Robyn O’Hehir (Monash U), John Prins (Melbourne Medical School), Ashley Bush, (Melbourne Dementia Research Centre), Julie Phillips (director, MTP Connect), Rebecca Davies (chair, Heart Foundation NSW), Laura Thomson (Aboriginal health leader), Ruth Stewart, (James Cook U), Jennifer Herz (biopharmaceutical industry executive).
The Australian Academy of the Humanities has elected new fellows.
Jane Balme, Australian archaeology, (UWA). Michael Barr, Singapore politics and society (Flinders U). Jacqueline Broad, early modern philosophy, (Monash University). Malcolm Choat, Coptic and Greek papyrology, (Macquarie University). Axel Fliethmann, literary theory (Monash University). Jim Harrison, New Testament social history, (Sydney College of Divinity). Michael Keane, Chinese media and cultural studies, (Curtin University). Julia Kindt, ancient Greek religion, (Uni Sydney). Kama Maclean, history of modern India, (UNSW). Jeff Malpas, philosophy of place (Uni Tasmania). Allan Marett, Australian Aboriginal music, (Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Jennifer Milam, 18th century art history, (Uni Melbourne). Luke Morgan, early modern art history, (Monash University). Fiona Paisley, history of human rights, (Griffith University). Lynette Russell, Indigenous histories, (Monash University). Lyndall Ryan, Australian colonial and post-colonial history, (Uni Newcastle). Vanessa Smith, 18th, 9th century literary studies, (Uni Sydney). Lesley Stirling, applied and descriptive linguistics, (Uni Melbourne). Sandra Wilson, political history modern Japan, (Murdoch University).
Corresponding Fellows: Susanna Braund, imperial Latin literature, (U British Columbia), Michael Burden, opera and theatre history, (University of Oxford), Simon Holdaway, Aus, Egyptian, and New Zealand archaeology, (Uni Auckland). Elizabeth Poyinelli, critical theory of late liberalism, (Columbia University).
Honorary Fellows: Nicholas Shakespeare, novelist. Pamela Tate, Victorian supreme court justice. John Kinsella, poet, novelist. Helen Garner, novelist. John Vallance NSW State Librarian.