Knowing its place

The University of Tasmania new strategic plan emphasises being “place based.” Wise, if they want to keep the name. Full report in this morning’s issue.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, Dawn Bennett (Curtin U) on the new graduate capability: thinking for living, this week’s essay in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Uni Queensland internet attacked

The university confronted “multiple” denial of service attacks

There was an “emergency incident affecting all internet services” at the University of Queensland, Thursday. The net went down at lunch-time Thursday did not return until just before 10pm. But Friday morning the university advised “internet services are currently running at a reduced capacity,’ and that IT was working “to resolve any issues.”

Late Friday, Uni Queensland told CMM it could; “confirm that since Thursday it was subject to multiple denial-of-service cyber-attacks, resulting in our website being intermittently available on that day. The incidents did not breach any of the university’s firewalls or access any of the university’s systems. The university’s cyber security team is continuing to monitor the situation.”

So, who is doing the denying?  Who knows? It could be people pissed-off that the university hosts a Chinese Government funded Confucius Centre.  It could be others annoyed that the university spoke up for students right to protest, including against the Hong Kong government. Or maybe it is foiled Iranian data thieves, who the Uni Queensland has seen off in recent years (CMM March 29 2018).

Uni Tasmania sets time-limit for essential change

Rufus, your time starts now

Uni Tasmania’s five-year plan is out, shaped by a confidence in the state’s future lacking in past decades of decline, committing to being “a place that people can look to as a model of how to create a truly sustainable, equitable and prosperous society while preserving the distinctive qualities that make it such a special place.”

U Tas sticks with higher education standing operating procedure in not including quantifiable KPIs. But there is one that really, really matters and the report is franker than most in acknowledging what needs to be addressed including

* “not enough” Indigenous staff, “too many people in insecure employment

* “our processes are complex and frustrating

* scale achieved with a diversity of international students

* address course delivery costs exceeding income and under-used facilities

There are also objective and actions for academic and professional operating units, the frankness of which will upset some staff and inspire others.

But while there is confidence it is qualified by a realism rare in university reports; “we have no time to lose. We have a mere ten-year window to see the state on a different trajectory and a five-year horizon to see the university develop into a sustainable operation, or we will not be able to fulfil our mission.”

Uni observers suggest this is very much (relatively recent) Vice Chancellor Rufus Black’s MO – big on ideals, realistic about risks – and there is a number in the report he will be held to, sustainability in five years.

Professor Black, your time starts now.

Saving the world at Monash U

The university launched its new student recruitment campaign at Open Day –  awash with whimsy it is not

It’s called “Future without change,” and describes the diabolical mess the world will be in, presumably without Monash U graduates fixing things.  There were 17 interactive displays at Clayton campus yesterday, of dystopian futures, including global warming, food insecurity, super-bugs and cyber-crime, with information on what Monash is doing to save us from them.

It is, a learned reader suggests, like an open day brought to you by Black Mirror.

The campaign is the third sequence in a recruitment cycle starting with the 2016 David Wenham starring campaign, “question the answers” and continuing last year with, “if you don’t like it, change it.”

CMM is assured there was also plenty of OD information for prospective students who want get a degree before capeing up against the forces of darkness.

Dan Tehan, friend to teachers

The education minister has not done much to encourage affection from the university lobbies – but he is a big admirer of school teachers, and shows it

On Friday, Dan Tehan was the only state or federal minister CMM knows of, to mark Principals Day (yes, it is a thing, at least in Victoria).

“The passion, commitment and experience of our principals and teachers are at the heart of successful school communities. … Being a principal can sometimes be a thankless job, so today, I encourage everyone to say a big ‘thank-you’ to their principal” Mr Tehan said.

It’s not just talk – in the last parliament Mr Tehan commissioned a Reps committee inquiry into improving the lot of classroom teachers. And in December he spoke for up initial teacher education students, calling for them to have more classroom training time.

Somebody needs to point the teacher education communities  towards the neon sign flashing “opportunity to make a friend this way”.

U Cal still standing-up to Elsevier

Elsevier’s dispute with Uni California is a make or break for the journal giant

Academics at the university network cannot access Elsevier journals since contract renewal talks failed over price and open access.

UCal  now says that Elsevier is emailing academics making its case and on Friday published a long rebuttal of what the network negotiators says are the publisher’s claims.

Losing U Cal as a consumer is as big a risk for the publisher as the European Plan S (open access plus pay to publish, but with a price capped by European research agencies). If the University of California demonstrates it can live without journals on Elsevier’s terms university systems across the US will follow.


Nicholas Procter becomes Australia’s national representative at the International Association for Suicide Prevention, with a term running to 2023. He holds the chair of Mental Health Nursing at Uni South Australia.   

ASQA names quality-risk courses

The Australian Skills Quality Authority announces its regulatory strategy through to 2021

ASQA sets-out areas it will address and specifies five courses for quality review.

Chief executive Mark Paterson says, “regulatory activity will remain focused on responding to the most significant risks in a sector largely made up of quality providers.

“Notwithstanding claims to the contrary, ASQA does not impose regulatory sanctions for minor administrative or technical non-compliance. All of ASQA’s regulatory activity, including audits, investigations and reviews of specific training areas or products is informed by our assessment of risk that Registered Training Organisations or potential RTOs represent – ASQA dos not conduct regulatory activity unless we have determined a potential threat to quality.”

Mr Paterson’s statement follows MP Andrew Laming’s bucketing of ASQA’s regulatory practise in the House of Representatives last week (CMM August 2).

Priority areas for ASQA include:

* trainer and assessor capability, “the quality of trainers and assessors is directly linked to the quality of teaching and assessment and therefore student outcomes across the entire VET sector

* VET in schools, “stakeholders continue to raise concerns about the quality of delivery and outcomes, industry relevance and employer engagement

The training regulator also names courses prioritised for quality review until 2021. They are;

* HC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support, “since the establishment of the NDIS some stakeholders have raised concerns about the potential for providers to indirectly exploit students”)

* CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, “poor workplace management and lack of confidence in the job readiness of graduates”

* TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, providers using third parties

* CPCCWHS1001 Prepare to work safely in the construction industry,

* BSB50215 Diploma of Business, unease that qualification does not meet industry needs