What’s in a new ARC app

A learned reader points out the Australian Research Council has delayed opening applications for 2022 Laureate Fellowships to an unannounced date and wonders if the ARC needs time to take a ban on citing pre-prints out of the rules.

Waiting on rankings

The Times Higher rankings is released at 9am morning – way too late for embargo-adhering CMM. Angel Calderon analyses the results in CMM Friday

But in Features this morning Garry Carnegie (RMIT) asks whether rankings fit the purpose of universities. “The micro-measurement approach has the potential to outmuscle the agenda of the broader-scope macro-contributions approach, to our societies, which is more aligned with institutional collaboration rather than institutional competition,” he suggests.

Lawson leaving Murdoch U for Flinders

Interim VC Romy Lawson will go at year end

Acting chancellor, Ross Holt announced her departure to staff yesterday. Professor Lawson joined Murdoch U as DVC E in July 2016 stepping up to provost in June ’18. She became interim VC in July, following Eeva Leinonen’s departure.

Mr Holt says the search for a new VC continues and the university “will consider the need” for interim VC arrangements between Professor Lawson’s departure and an appointment arriving.

Flinders U announced her appointment as DVC Students just hours later.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Sven Rogge (UNSW) and Nicholas Fisk (UNSW)  suggest how the ARC can reduce the damage of its exclusion of pre-print citations from grant applications.

plus James Guthrie looks at Uni Melbourne’s 2020 financials – the surplus it reported is way less than its net operating result.

and Enabling programmes must be the new normal in higher education – without them wider access is unfair. Pranit Anand (QUT) makes the case in this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

TEQSA gets involved on casuals’ underpayment

The regulator is partnering with the Fair Work Ombudsman

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency announces a webinar with the FWO for universities, “on the subject of wage underpayments and how to support the sector to address this issue.”

This is a significant move by TEQSA which prefers to work with individual institutions and only takes a sector-wide approach when it has significant sector-wide concerns, as it has had witht admission standards for international students.

TEQSA’s announcement comes as RMIT is accused of underpaying casual teaching staff. In this case there are allegations that people were paid a lower rate than applied to work requiring them to make academic judgements when marking.  CMM understands the Fair Work Ombudsman has approached RMIT.

“If ever RMIT is provided with evidence to suggest that any employee may not have been correctly paid, it will investigate the matter. In instances when an error may have inadvertently occurred, RMIT would of course rectify the error,” the university stated yesterday.

There are said to be no signs of a resolution of claims of casuals being underpaid for marking following a meeting this week between casual staff, union officers and  RMIT management.

CSU new VC now a professor

Last week Charles Sturt U announced former top public servant Renée Leon ( BA, LLb ANU, LLM Camb) is the new vice chancellor.  CMM asked how Ms Leon is to be addressed and was told university council would decide by her first day on the job (CMM August 25).

Which their eminences duly did. Professor (for a professor she now is) Leon tells staff in her first message, that she is “honoured to have the university council appoint me as a professor of the university, and you will see me use this title in official correspondence.”

Leave multiplier effect at Melbourne unis

Victoria U joins Monash U, RMIT and Uni Melburne U in announcing extra days off

VU has declared three “wellbeing days” which staff will have off, additional to their formal leave. The selection of days all have a rest and rec multiplier effect, Monday September 27 creates a four-day weekend, Friday 24th is the Grand Final public holiday. November has the same effect, it’s the day before the Melbourne Cup. December 24 – starts the Christmas shut-down early.

Been there, done that at La Trobe U

LT U has been providing staff with long weekend creating “wellness days” for a year. There were three in 2020, two so far this year, with a third tomorrow.

Uni pandemic protection measures: how woman fared

An analysis of university policy responses to COVID 19 finds their impact was unequal

 Georgina Sutherland and Uni Melbourne colleagues examined what was done at 29 Australian universities and fond “a reliance on existing workplace mechanisms.”

Overall, little attention was paid to how gender might impact on the need for, or access to, policies in response to COVID-19, they conclude*

They examined five policy areas.

* support for HDR students: “consideration” for women being parent/carer and PhD student was “noticeably absent”

* leave: arrangements “largely unchanged” with little awareness that staff might have different needs for leave

* remote working: “we found only one university that explicitly acknowledged and challenged its staff to consider reorienting the gendered status quo of caring, domestic and parenting practices that dominate many households in Australia”

* managing/supervising staff: no universities offered “formal flexible working policies in response to Covid-19”

* academic promotion: no universities acknowledged the pandemic, “may pose additional barriers to women seeking promotion”

“The need for flexibility in response to COVID-19 was frequently framed as an individual rather than an organisational or structural problem positioning line managers and supervisors as ‘gatekeepers’ to the arrangements,” the authors write.

* Georgina Sutherland, Martha Vazquez Corona, Meghan Bohren, Tania King, Lila Moosad, Humaira Mahreen, “A rapid gender impact assessment of Australian university responses to COVID-19,” Higher Education Research and Development, published on-line August 31

It’s Time (!) for Monash U Vic Gov funding

The state government announces $21m to fund three capex projects at the university’s Clayton campus

They are * the medicines manufacturing innovation centre * a hub “to drive innovation” in cancer therapies and “a home for start-ups to digitally streamline smart manufacturing.” The money comes from what the state government describes as “the unprecedented” Victorian HE State Investment Fund.” Previous funding is announced for Deakin U, La Trobe U, Uni Melbourne and Victoria U – which can only mean there is good news soon for RMIT, Swinburne U and Fed U.

Appointments, achievements

Susan Howitt is appointed director of the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre. She moves from the Research School of Biology at ANU.

 Shelley Kinash is confirmed at Uni New England as executive principal, student experience., (she was “interim” in the role from June). Professor Kinash was previously at Uni Southern Queensland.