Super suspicious students at Uni Adelaide

The university apologises for a legit communication

“Earlier today an SMS from the university  was sent to a number of current students, linking to a survey inviting feedback on their likelihood to recommend their degree. We wish to reassure our students that the SMS and survey are legitimate, and apologise for any confusion caused. We are committed to the protection of student data and privacy,” Uni Adelaide management, Facebook Friday.

There’s more in the Mail

Commissioning Editor Sally Kift wrangles the regiment of reviews (sorry) in HE and VET. It’s a new essay in the series she edits on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Uni Queensland sticks to course approval process

Last week’s ABC reports about Uni Queensland’s connections with Confucius Institutes included the campus CI “contributed funding” to a course called Understanding China, “developed in partnership with the School of Economics.

The multidisciplinary course, “critically examine(s) China’s policies and consider the key economic, business, political, social, legal and normative factors that shape China’s current situation. The syllabus is here..

But funding ain’t approving, so CMM asked who gave the course, running this September, a tick for teaching.  To which Uni Queensland replied, it was reviewed by the economics teaching and learning committee, which sent it on to the Business, Economics Law faculty’s board of studies. The faculty executive dean Executive Dean oversees this process and was ok with it as well.

What’s not on file at the National Archives

In June, the NAA warned times were tough but there’s no warning now

The National Archives of Australia is pleased with its  new website, “drum roll please! The new National Archives of Australia website launches today. Check out our fresh look and explore the content” (via Twitter).

But what CMM can’t find there is the Tune Review, established to look at NAA resources –which are inadequate, at least according to a statement on the NAA site in June. “Budget and staffing reductions are affecting our capacity to perform our fundamental role of securing, preserving, maintaining and making accessible the authentic and essential records of the decisions and actions of government, while providing high standards of service delivery that all Australians should expect from their National Archives,” (CMM June 20). Perhaps things are better – the link to this statement is now dead.

CMM asked where the Tune Review is and a spokesperson replied that it isn’t finalised. 

More rooms for their own at Uni Tas

The university wins Auditor Office approval for student accommodation plan

A year back the university was scrambling to find more student housing, especially in the expensive Hobart market (CMM December 12 2018). Management made it for this year and has a strategy in place to provide appropriate on-going accom. The state Audit Office says the university, via its out-sourcing services provider, delivers, to-standard quality accommodation, with maintenance meeting KPIs. Engagement with stakeholders regarding expanding accommodation (a big issue in Hobart) is “broadly satisfactory” and while student resident survey results, “were not encouraging” the response rate was low.

“Overall, the university has reacted well to changing and challenging circumstances in the Tasmanian accommodation markets, ensuring demand for student accommodation is met,” the Audit Office reports.

This is a good result. Community critics of the university’s expansion in the Hobart CBD and property developments in Launceston and Burnie have plenty to say. A critical AG report would have encouraged them to say more.

Adelaide. Great, different (just ask the uni)

Uni Adelaide is pitching to prospective students from India and China, with a social media message, “we are not Melbourne (for all the right reasons)” it isn’t Sydney either.

Not, you understand, that Uni Adelaide is having a go at the two giant Group of Eight unis named for the two towns.

“The university has taken an evidence-based approach to the campaign, understanding that the cities of Sydney and Melbourne naturally make up the bulk of awareness in each of these countries. However, our evidence shows that once students are aware of Adelaide and the University of Adelaide, they respond positively towards the world-class education they receive from our university within one of the world’s most liveable cities,” a spokesperson says.

So, what are the “right reasons” to which Uni Adelaide refers? One is “study at a top 1 per cent university. In the heart of the city of Adelaide,” another is “study in a city that offers an extra year of in-country post-study work,” (under the 485 visa).

“In many ways, this is a unique proposition in which the University of Adelaide compares favourably to our eastern states cities: a highly-ranked university with quality educational offerings, in a city that is known for its affordability, accessibility and lifestyle. The awareness campaign is simply that, helping some students to consider Adelaide as an alternative to Australia’s biggest cities as a study destination,” UA explains.

Good-o, but the “liveable city” comparison could be a bit of a stretch. On this year’s Economist Intelligence Unit list of world most liveable cities Adelaide is tenth, but Sydney is 3rd and Melbourne is 2nd.

Victoria U management and union tag-team for a deal

Enterprise bargaining at Victoria U did not run live on TV wrestling, but it was a long and painful process. Now both sides want it over

University management and the National Tertiary Education Union, agree on terms and both are keen for staff to sign-off.

The union provides staff with a comprehensive guide to  its wins and concessions.  Overall the deal is consistent with outcomes across the country on pay,  – and the response to some changes management pushed for are in-line with the federal union strategy. For example, while committee review of most disciplinary matters is gone, it is replaced with an independent person acceptable to the union. And sackable misconduct matters will still be reviewed by a committee including union representation.

University management wrote to staff Friday also making the case for the agreement, which it says, “will ensure VU continues to be a great place to work, study and grow.”

Both university and union point to a one-off $1000 signing-bonus (pro-rata for none FT staff), which alarms a Learned Reader who suggests it looks like vote-buying. It does but it isn’t, giving people cash up-front which management budgeted for but did not want to build into pay scales – VU is by no means alone in offering such.

In any case, VU voters make up their own minds. They twice rejected management proposed/union opposed bargaining offers in this round. But approval-ratings in a staff survey shows they have  bought-into the university’s transformative plans.

With strong support from union and management, adoption of the agreement seems likely (voting runs next Monday-Wednesday) But staff saying no again would be a smack-down for both VU and NTEU leaders – and one more painful than the TV wrestling kind.

UNSW’s top engineering outcome

The Times Higher engineering and tech discipline ranking has the university in the national top spot

UNSW rates first in Australia and 59th in the world. The other locals in the new global are 100 Uni Melbourne at 68th, Monash U – 70th, ANU – 81st, Uni Sydney – =86th, Uni Wollongong – 91st and Uni Queensland – =94th.

THE discipline rankings use the same methodology as for its all-of-university league tables.

Universities outside the golden century are presented alphabetically in bands;

101-125: Uni Adelaide, UTS

126-150: UWA

151-175: Curtin U, Edith Cowan U, QUT, Uni SA, Victoria U

176-200: Deakin U, Griffith U, RMIT, Swinburne U

201-250: Macquarie U

301-400: CQU, Uni Newcastle, USQ

401-500: James Cook U, U Tas, Western Sydney U

501-600: Murdoch U

WA adds VET grads to its skilled migration programme

The WA government has added international VET students studying in state to its Graduate Occupation List


The list was initially only available to international students studying at WA universities.

This is a big win for the state’s underperforming VET – which has lagged the national trend for some time.

WA passed on participating in the national regional scheme, which is now benefitting destinations SA, NT and TAS (CMM October 14). Instead, it developed a state sponsored scheme which now shows 23.1 per cent growth for higher education providers.

The extension of the program means WA has a pathway to state-nominated skilled migration under a wider list of occupations for international students who study at and graduate from universities and VET providers in Western Australia.

Word is there is more to come, with suggestions WA may sign-on to the national scheme.

Dirk Mulder is an international education business developer, strategist and market analyst. Contact him @ [email protected]


Quality counts

Rankings are what you make of them – or don’t

The CWTS Leiden research ranking is state of art, so why aren’t Uni SA and Griffith U trumpeting to the skies their achievement in maths and computer science publications? Ethics and accuracy probably.

Sure, they rate one and two in the world, ahead of Princeton and Stanford universities, for the proportion of publications staff wrote/collaborated on for 2014 -2017  that are in the top 10 per cent for the field.

But a Uni SA researcher (via Twitter) shows that Griffith U is in top spot for 35 top papers out of 154 publications, Uni SA for 39 from 172.  Good-o, but Princeton is just 1 per cent behind – with 141 top ten per cents from 647 papers and Stanford U has 203 from 949.

Appointments, achievements

The Australian Marketing Institute announces its 2019 awards, notably; CMO of the year: Fabian Marrone (Monash U).  Market and Consumer Research Insights: Bastion Insights and Deakin U (recruitment campaign for nutrition masters). Product/Service revitalisation: Destination Group and Francis Farrelly (RMIT)

Learned readers report the UNSW Council has extended David Gonski‘s term as chancellor to  2023.

 Ever-announcing Health Minister Greg Hunt, appoints the Primary Health Reform Steering Group. Members from the HE community include, Ewen McPhee (Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) and Claire Jackson (Uni Queensland).

In July Peter Yu will become director of the ANU’s National Centre for Indigenous Studies. He is chief executive officer of the Yawuru Corporate Group and a member of ANU’s council. He succeeds Mick Dodson who VC Brian Schmidt says, “made an extraordinary difference to ANU and the Indigenous research landscape.”