CMM goes the full Ferris

Monday is a public holiday in NSW so CMM is Buellering off to twist and shout about anything other than HE. Back Tuesday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on university promotion systems- they work on talent, performance, persistence, plus luck and no two paths are the same.

Despite all the extra work, Michael Sankey (Griffith U) and Amanda Bellaby (QUT) discover  it’s a good year for many educational designers.

Dawn Bennett (Curtin U) on why STEM isn’t the solution to everything in HE funding – new this week in Contributing Editor Sally Kift‘s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

The COVID-19 crisis will cost tens of thousands of jobs and present six workforce challenges. Elizabeth BaréJanet Beard and Ian Marshman from the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education writing with Teresa Tjia  report.

Lambie’s not for moving

The senator for Tasmania can’t be swayed on the student funding bill

“I have already made up my mind,” she said on RN yesterday.  Senator Lambie expanded on her thinking about what is wrong with bill, notably that it is unfair to low-income students (CMM yesterday). And she is sceptical of the government’s commitment of 100 000 new places by 2030, saying she has seen no modelling from the government.

Senator Lambie also has advice for universities; they should stop using models from business, “and “go back to being teaching institutions for our children.”

So that’s that. On Wednesday the senator said, “there’s scope to reduce the Commonwealth’s contribution for some courses if we are trying to save money…. I think we can save the taxpayer some money and still make university accessible and affordable.”

Just not by this bill.

Uni Queensland offers exits

Continuing staff who have had enough can apply for voluntary separation, (not redundancy)

VC Deborah Terry says management, “is willing to undertake consultation where departures may have an impact on the workloads of remaining staff.”  This will make for interesting discussions, when the only person who knows how to cold-start the thingatron wants to leave and colleagues say they should stay.

Professor Terry also reminds staff that they have to take three leave days over Christmas, (if they haven’t got them they will still be paid but go into negative balance on holidays).

These are the only announced all-university staff savings, which rather confirms the VC’s point that, “compared to most other Australian universities, Uni Queensland is in a healthy position (CMM September 14).

When teacher ed students should show what they know

The feds have funded a  survey of prospective teacher education students on whether they want the mandatory literacy/numeracy tests they must pass to stay a graduation requirement or become a course entry pre-requisite.

Universities now have a choice of requiring students to complete the test at either end of initial teacher education courses, but according to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment none set it as a prereq.

Virtual exchange

Australian Catholic University announces a nursing student exchange programme with Boston College (the one in Massachusetts, not the one in Lincolnshire). It’s due to start mid next year and will include study-abroad, “once COVID restrictions on travel are lifted.” Hard to see how an exchange programme can work before they are.

Metrics and more metrics for uni-industry fund

In June Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a National Priorities and Industry Linkages Fund with money for universities tied to performance metrics – major metrics it appears

Eight VCs have proposed a model to distribute block grants for university-industry engagement “in order to support job-ready graduates.”

The inelegantly named NIPFL will, “incentivise behaviours and mind-sets that are responsive to public funding priorities while supporting new and innovative ways for universities to engage with industry.” Industry is broadly defined as business, government and the community sector, “as all play a critical role in our national prosperity and wellbeing.”

“But how,” you ask (oh, go on) “will success be measured?”

Well, there will be five principles applied to three indicators, each of which has three performance measures.

“By having the three types of indicators, with both quantitative and qualitative components, the framework reduces the need for each indicator or metric to be exhaustive in representing the realms of possibilities in which performance can be demonstrated,” the consultation paper states.

There are also three categories of metrics for work integrated learning, STEM and industry partnerships. “While one metric, demonstrator and innovator must come from each priority, the remaining three indicators may be from any priority and any tier. Each tier in itself does not have to be mutually exclusive or collectively exhaustive,” which will be a relief to industry-engagement experts who quickly tire.

Universities will use the data to present to the feds what they are going to do and report back on how they did it.

And to ensure everybody in a university gets on board, “NIPFL funding does not have to be spent on NIPFL activities.”

As with Mr Tehan’s performance based funding model for student places, (is that still a thing?) funding that a university does not do well enough to earn, goes back in the pot.

The discussion paper sets out questions people might like to ask about how this model will work. Or not.

Needed now: a way back for ELICOS


English Australia sets out how it can bring back international students 

The peak body for English-learning colleges yesterday briefed 200 members and officials from state and territory governments on a safe entry scheme, using the goPassport health-tracker model (CMM Wednesday).

English Australia CEO Brett Blacker continues to make the case for prioritising ELICOS entry, based on three factors.

Scale: ELICOS starts don’t follow a typical semester or trimester study pattern, classes can start all year, so building scale at intervals provides flexibility

Yield: ELICOS students complete their English course and move into other education sectors. This provides the opportunity for replenishing channel-growth and not relying on direct recruitment to VET and HE.

Survival: “A safe opening of borders is of the upmost importance if the sector is going to avoid decimation”, Mr Blacker says.

While there is no formal stepped schedule for ELICOS arrivals, CMM understands the Commonwealth Government has asked for proposals and EA, with the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) have made a submission.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent

Appointments, achievements of the week

Melissa Banks leaves James Cook U to head international education at Austrade.

 Stephen Bartlett (Uni Sydney) is elected a fellow of the American Physical Society, (it’s for physicists).

Peter Binks joins Griffith U as VP Industry and External Engagement. He is a previous CEO of the Business Higher Education Round Table.

Adam Boyton is confirmed as the federal government’s National Skills Commissioner. Mr Boyton has acted since October last year and now has a five-year appointment. He is a former MD of Deutsche Bank, chief economist of the Business Council of Australia and staffer to former NSW state Liberal Party leader John Brogden.

Philip Brown starts next week as CEO of the Institute of Health and Management, which provides “quality postgraduate higher education courses for nurses.”

Matthew Dodd (ancient geology) Jason Eshraghian (AI in med tech) and Mark Wong (insect decline) have Forrest Research Foundation Fellowships for next year at UWA.

Toni HayDenuja Karunakaran and Samantha Nixon win the 2020 Queensland Women in STEM awards. Ms Hay works on community climate change adaption programmes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland and NSW. Dr Karunakaran and Ms Nixon are at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

Chris Leishman is appointed professor in property and housing economics at Uni SA. He moves from Uni Adelaide.

Ryan Lister (UWA) and Steven Tingay (Curtin U) are the Western Australia Scientists of the Year.

Christine McLoughlin became the University of Wollongong’s fourth chancellor (her appointment was announced in April). She replaced Gillian Broadbent who served for 11 years.

Recently resigned federal LNP MP John McVeigh becomes director of the University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Resilient Regions. Dr McVeigh’s former seat covers USQ’s Toowoomba campus. The university states his appointment, “follows a rigorous USQ selection process.”