So that’s that fixed

Our vision for TAFE NSW is clear. It must be future-focused, industry responsive and flexible to help people get the jobs they want, grow the economy and secure a brighter future for NSW.” The state’s skills minister, Alister Henskens, via Twitter.

There’s more in the Mail         

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon on the new NTU research ranking.Australian university leaders are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the results from these subject rankings. Despite the criticisms that global rankings are irrelevant, pointless, and out of depth, these results reinforce subject areas of strength (and areas of relative weakness) across institutions,” he writes.

plus Paul Oslington (Alphacrucis University College) on five dysfunctions  of academic governance – and what to do about them, HERE

and,  while universities work on grand-plans there are three big things they can do now. Tim Winkler (Twig Marketing)s sets them out.

Expert Opinion with Mahsood Shah

Professor Shah (Swinburne U)  points to the scale and speed of course innovation in the global market and warns local regulators and accreditors must help Australian institutions keep up. It’s this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

CMM wanted to learn more and asked him on Expert Opinion. The interview is HERE.

Uni Southern Queensland sticks to a good thing in student recruitment

There’s another year of scholarships for high-ATAR achievers

They range from $6400 for school leavers with an ATAR of 84 and up, $20 000 for those with an ATAR of 88 and $29 000 (plus a study abroad option) for people with a 97 ATAR.

The offer applies to people who make Uni Southern Queensland their first choice with university admissions centres, (Queensland Tertiary Admission Centre apps just opened).

Acting VC Karen Nelson says the Academic Excellence Scholarships, are “a decisive move to keep students in the region and also attract students from metro areas to study at the University of Southern Queensland.”

“We want to build strong rural and regional communities, and we know that providing outstanding educational opportunities and careers right here in the region is the best way of doing just that.”

Which is pretty much what VC Geraldine MacKenzie said about the programme in 2020 (CMM May 26).

What is new is that the programme is now open to external/on-line students.

When, as Mortein, put it you’re on a good thing …

Worth hearing

Major General Mick Ryan will speak at the Deans of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences conference, September 29, on, “how HASS will always win against an authoritarian regime.”  CMM knows nothing more but Major General Ryan, astutely analyses the war in Ukraine in long Twitter threads

Uni SA returns to on-line learning. Adelaide and Flinders unis don’t

It’s back, “wherever possible” in  response to a “an expected peak” in COVID-19 infections

Masks are now required indoors on all campuses – including for this month’s Open Days.

“Wherever teaching or research activities can be conducted on-line, they should be delivered on-line,” VC David Lloyd tells the university community

And working from home is back for staff, with the university directing meetings be held on-line “where practical.”

Professor Lloyd states the moves is in response to “specific updated information for the higher education sector” from SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier.

“It’s regrettable that we find ourselves having to re-adopt these precautions, but they are our best lines of defence,” he says. Professor Lloyd also urges staff and students “to avail of full vaccination,” including a fourth dose, for those eligible.

The new requirements will remain, “until such time as SA case numbers significantly subside.”

Not at Uni Adelaide

Staff are reminded vaccination is important and while masks are encouraged they will not be mandated.

“The university monitors daily COVID infection rates of staff and students and actively considers the public health and safety of its community, along with mental health and wellbeing, and the needs of students to achieve their learning goals, ” the university states.

Nor Flinders U

The on-campus vaccination mandate continues, and “in light of the current wave of infections, while on campus you are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in shared spaces, to maintain physical distancing where possible and to maintain good hand hygiene practice,” says Deborah West, COVID taskforce head.

Ukraine President addresses Australians

Volodymyr Zelenskyy talks live to ANU students today from 4.50 (CMM Friday). The rest of us can listen at the university’s live-stream @ HERE .


Claire Field calls on HE and VET to do more to Close the Gap


They should also be active, visible supporters of First Nations people as the country moves towards fulfilling its future promise 

Last week the Prime Minister kickstarted the public conversation on a referendum on a Voice to Parliament. In the same week the latest Closing the Gap report was released and there seemed to be little discussion of it within the tertiary education sector. In a nutshell, both higher education and VET have a huge amount still to do.

While the higher education sector is to be congratulated on achieving a 10 per cent increase between 2016 and 2020 in the number of First Nations students enrolling in undergraduate degrees, completion rates remain a significant concern. In 2019, 22.8 per cent of First Nations students did not return in their second year, and fewer than half of the students who commenced in 2012 had completed by 2020.

In VET meanwhile there has been a decline in First Nations students aged 34 years and under commencing a qualification at Certificate III and above – 33 411 in 2020 down from 39 740 in 2016. And the Productivity Commission projects that fewer than four in ten qualifications commenced by First Nations students in this age group in 2019 will be complete in four years – despite most VET qualifications taking one year or less of full-time study.

While the Job-ready Graduates package included funding for a guaranteed place for every First Nations student from regional Australia, it is clear that even as higher education participation rates increase more needs to be done to improve completion rates, yet the Indigenous, Regional and Low SES Attainment Fund is not due to commence until 2024.

In VET it is deeply concerning that almost the only recommendations which the last government chose not to accept and implement from Steven Joyce’s Expert Review, were those encouraging more First Nations’ ownership of RTOs and more VET being taught in Indigenous languages in culturally appropriate settings.

Returning to the referendum – I am an educator not a lawyer – but as a migrant to Australia from another Commonwealth country, it is remarkable that in 2022 we could seriously be arguing about the need for and importance of a Voice to Parliament. The Voice is a critical first step if we are to properly acknowledge Australia’s history, provide redress, and embrace a confident, inclusive future.

The higher education and VET sectors need to do more to Close the Gap. They should also be active, visible supporters of First Nations people as the country moves towards fulfilling its future promise.

Claire Field is an advisor to the tertiary education sector

Time-out at Macquarie U

VC S Bruce Dowton announces two days off for all staff

“This small gesture from the university recognises the sustained pressures our dedicated staff have been working under on account of COVID-19, the serious cold and flu season, and the floods earlier this year,” he says

The “wellbeing days” are Friday September 23 and Monday November 7.


Jim Elliott is the new academic director of Uni Sydney’s Kolling Institute, “the longest running MRI in NSW.”

Helen Marshall (Uni Adelaide) is the inaugural clinical research director at the Women and Children’s Health Network.

Jerry Nockles joins Independent Higher Education Australia to manage membership services and government relations. Dr Nockles moves from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.