Not many Christmases will come at once

Word is that Discovery Grants will be announced this week

CMM is waiting to see if there is an especially bright star in the western sky but already knows there will be lots of wishes that won’t come true, (the YTD success rate is 22 per cent).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning Kylie Colvin on why strategic investment is the way to work the big three rankings.

Lambert Schuwirth (Flinders U) on the five disruptors unis have a decade to deal with.

The future for unis: what they know and who they know

In uncertain times, the “collaborative impulse” and “imperative to partner” are higher education’s comparative advantage  

Uni Queensland chancellor Peter Varghese warns universities face a “bonfire of certainties,” with the “founding pillars of the post-war world” shaky and the proportion of university funding from government declining.

To adapt, he told the TEQSA conference Friday, higher education must partner or perish.

Mr Varghese acknowledged the “still booming international education market” but addressed in detail partnership with industry and education as sources of solutions to funding challenges.

Using Uni Queensland cases as examples, he pointed to joint research with industry, engaging with student/graduate entrepreneurs, partnering with philanthropy and government commissioned public-policy development.

“Universities are sometimes cast as ivory towers.  But the truth is they are at the cutting edge of change,” he said.

Partnerships and collaboration should be seen as the comparative advantage of the higher education sector.  It is uniquely placed to tackle complexity in all areas of policy and at all levels of analysis and to mount the global connections needed for evidence-based solutions to wicked problems.”

Research stars eclipsed

The 2019 laureate fellows received their honorary pins at a Canberra ceremony, Thursday night

The member for Higgins, Dr Katie Allen was there, representing Minister Tehan and as a medical research scientist observers suggest she appeared to feel right at home, speaking enthusiastically about the importance of research. But some in the audience wondered if Dr Allen remembered that it was an Australian Research Council and not a National Health and Medical Research Council show and that laureate fellows there included national achievers from the humanities and social sciences as well as medicine and STEM.

Tehan points to the next big things in HE regulation

The education minister spoke at the Tertiary Education Quality Standard Agency’s conference Friday. People planning work for next year were wisely taking notes

Noonan review of Australian Qualification Framework:  Mr Tehan specifically mentioned the review’s “recognition of micro-credentials” and school subjects that count for-credit in voc ed qualifications and university degrees

Coaldrake review of HE provider category standards: The minister mentioned the proposed new category, “national institutes of higher education,” “to recognise the highest performing higher education providers which are not universities.”

French model free speech code: Mr Tehan’s message was polite; “It is pleasing to see the progress universities are making towards the adoption of the model code in a way consistent with their individual legislative framework. “

But firm; “I am committed to working with the sector to achieve 100 per cent adoption of the code by next year and we will benchmark all responses against the code.”

Foreign interference guidelines: “Universities and our national security services” to review implementation in six months, he advised.

Mr Tehan also suggested TEQSA should aim, to be responsive to, but not captured by the sector, quicker and more careful and “stay within authority.”

He could have said, but didn’t, that it should not be like ASQA of old – quite right, that would have been unkind.

“Go aargh” – NSW TAFE’s sorry state of health  

The “organisational health” survey is in – the results are not great

A great many responses to NSW TAFE’s staff survey are down on the 2018 survey, with people proud to work at TAFE declining from 71 per cent to 58 per cent. Only 43 per cent would now recommended TAFE as an employer.

Certainly, there are positives, 78 per cent say their work group has “a strong customer service culture” and 65 per cent believe their work group is “committed to improving productivity.”

But there are two stand-out shockers; 21 per cent of respondents think TAFE cares about them, and 15 per cent believe it is, “committed to ensuring that the right people get promoted.”

And then there are the really worrying worries; just 21 per cent agree that, “our systems enable us to serve our customers well” and only 49 per cent think, TAFE, “is committed to best practice in its industry.”

Some 6770 staff completed the 2019 survey, 2496 being teachers.

MOOC of the morning

QUT via FutureLearn offers “Inclusive education”

“All students should feel like they have the same opportunities to participate and achieve in education,” Linda Graham and Haley Tancredi say. They show how to help them in this two week course starting, tomorrow week.

Group of Eight makes case for higher student support payments

The Go8 and the Australian Council of Social Services partner to advocate for equity in access to higher education

They will make their case today at a Parliament House roundtable of education, government and welfare agencies.

The partners will use the platform to renew their call for a $75pw increase in Newstart and lifts to educated related payments, with bi-annual indexing of Youth Allowance and Austudy.

“We have a strong equity profile which is often not recognised nor understood and as policy leaders we have the convening power to actually make a difference in this space,” Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson says.

The Go8 argues, “its students work hard to set up a future, not only to provide an income and a career path for themselves, but to contribute to the economy. The nation increasingly needs a more educated workforce and a first-world nation owes it to its students to ensure they are financially supported to succeed in their studies. It is an investment in Australia’s future.”

Swinburne’s new dean of law

Mirko Bagaric takes over

Professor Bagaric joined Swinburne U from Deakin U in 2016 where he served two terms as dean. He was one of a number of senior departures during the reorganisation of the Deakin law school under Sandeep Gopalan, (CMM September 19 2016).

The prodigiously prolific Professor Bagaric (30 books, 150 papers) is director of Swinburne’s criminal justice-criminology degree and director of research in the law school.

He replaces Dan Hunter who established Swinburne U’s law school. Professor Hunter moved to QUT last month, from whence he came to set up law at Swinburne (CMM August 9).

Avondale College: not a uni yet

It does not think it should pay like it is

Regulator TEQSA has approved the elevation of Avondale College of Higher Education to university college, the first institution to qualify as such under the Higher Education Provider Standards. (CMM September 2). The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency  adds that the new UC has “realistic and achievable plans” to meet the criteria for a university in five years.

Avondale’s enterprise agreement has just been approved by the Fair Work Commission, but not without Deputy President Bull asking why some staff should be covered by the post-secondary educational services award rather the higher education industry general staff award.  The post-secondary award rate is marginally (around $1.70 an hour for some levels) lower.

Avondale UC submitted, “the employer is not of university status, it provides VET teaching and qualifications, and it provides foundation studies programs in preparation for other higher education qualifications recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework.” The employer also submitted that it has previously used the post-secondary award for two other enterprise agreements which were approved by the commission.

FWC accepted this – so staff will have to wait and hope that university status is confirmed by the time the next EB is negotiated.

CMM put written questions to Avondale on the award, but the college, sorry university college, did not respond.

ANU advice on post-school pathways

ANU hosts its second Beyond Y12 national conference today and tomorrow

“We want to lead the national conversation on how we best prepare young Australians for learning, life and work after school,” VC Brian Schmidt says.

Education Minister Dan Tehan is expected to set the tone, speaking on “transforming the relationship between Y12 and tertiary education.”

The conference fits the strategy to establish ANU as a leader in expanding education engagement, launched by then DVC Marnie Hughes Warrington last year. “Not all students will want to study with us, but it is the role of the national university to affirm the value of tertiary education—vocational and university—whether it is with a local institution or one far away,” she said (CMM May 30 2018).

Appointments, achievements

Flinders U announces Gary Stewart joins as professor of creative arts. Mr Stewart moves from Australian Dance Theatre, where he is artistic director.

Shane Murray (Monash U dean of art, design and architecture) is appointed a life fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Monash U announces its professional staff awards

Individual award: Claudette Gerreyn (Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences)

Team awards: Marta Spes Skrbis, Rosalind McFarlane, Negar Mehr, Josephine Prestia, Lucas Santos, Lillian Saw and Belinda Ting from English Connect, Student Engagement and Campus Experience