Just ducky!

“Perfect day on La Trobe’s Bundoora campus. More ducks than people at the moment.” Vice Chancellor John Dewar, via Twitter, first thing yesterday.  If only ducks counted for Commonwealth funded student places.

Omicrom arrived first

The Commonwealth has closed the borders to international arrivals for a fortnight, but the NSW Gov and unis plan for 250 international students to fly into Sydney next week will go ahead

What has changed is what will happen when they clear immigration. Fully vaccinated or not, the state has changed the rules so they will have now have to quarantine for 72 hours. Unless of course the state and/or Commonwealth governments change the rules again.

International students who want to come back will surely be wondering if it is worth the risk.  As federal health minister Greg Hunt said yesterday, “the national plan is always under constant review at this point in time.”

Swinburne U sky-high strategy

The university “joins Tech Council of Australia to solve the tech talent crisis,” announcement yesterday

Apparently, it is part of an alliance to rustle up the million tech jobs Australia will need by 2025.

But CMM suspects it is also more, part of VC Pascale Quester’s brand-plan.

“My vision for Swinburne is that we need to differentiate from the pack and that our DNA at Swinburne is fundamentally STEM and technology and preparing the human capital required to make it sing,” she said, (before she had started) (CMM July 9 2020).

And it also will help launch three of her 2025 “moon shots,” “every Swinburne learner gets a work experience, “every Swinburne graduate gets a job and “every Swinburne partner gets a tech solution,” (CMM April 30).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new international education strategy and what Australia can achieve.

Plus, Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education) on 2020 uni financials – the worst could be over.

With Lisa Andrewartha on how to help students who are also parents. Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

And Tim Winkler makes the case for uni brands and why they must be way more than marketing. It’s an issue for his (with a little help from CMM) conference starting today, on key issues in HE marketing, recruitment and identity.

Sign-up here.


Big issues for 2022

It’s day one of our Redefining Value for HE on-line conference on key issues in marketing, recruitment and identity

At 11am: What will bring international students back with, Angel Calderon (RMIT), Anushka Mukherjee (Council of International Students, Australia, Sebastian Raneskold (Flinders U) and Chris Ziguras (RMIT)

At noon: four VCs discuss building maintaining, enhancing university brands. Join Patricia Davidson (Uni Wollongong), Nick Klomp (CQU), Pascale Quester (Swinburne U) and Zlatko Skrbis (Australia Catholic U)

At 1pm: What students want to study and the skills employers need: can there be a fit? with Ben Hamer (Future of Work Lead, PWC Australia), Sarah Kruger (MD, Human Resources Accenture Australia) David Lloyd (VC Uni SA), Paddy Nixon (VC Uni Canberra) and Adam Shoemaker (VC Victoria U)

Times are AEDT

Register this morning up to 10am all, or some, sessions.

More for Moreton Bay study access

Uni Sunshine Coast plans to nearly double research, teaching and space for students at its Moreton Bay Campus by 2023

The campus opened last year, and is expected to grow to 10 000 students in nine years.

“Our main focus is to provide high quality face-to-face, interactive teaching … and this campus expansion will help us enhance our students’ experience of attending university,” VC Helen Bartlett says.

But presumably there will be no lecture-theatres, USC is replacing the old ex-cathedra arrangement with digitally delivered “learning materials” (CMM September 28).

Moreton Bay is a big achievement for the university, located to serve a growing community north of Brisbane. It is also a tribute to former VC Greg Hill, who recognised the need and kept at local government and ministers until they committed (CMM February 19 2020)

Claire Field sees “significant challenges” in the new international student strategy


There’s a proposal for government scrutiny, which could become interference

The new Australian Strategy for International Education 2021 – 2030 has received little public debate despite its potential to fundamentally change the international education sector in Australia.

Consider the second dot point of Action 3.1B , “the sector will support an optimal student mix in classrooms and communities for the benefit of both domestic and international students.”

This relates to, but goes well beyond, the reforms in Action 1.1A of the strategy which in summary are for the government to:

* identify the optimal make-up of international student cohorts

* publish a measure to improve diversity of international students at universities

* work with universities to develop diversification action plans, and

* develop a diversification index to drive transparency of cohort mixes.

Collectively these actions mean: no more courses dominated by international students from just one country and no more classes dominated by international students.

Reforms to balance the mix of domestic and international students in some disciplines (at some institutions) have merit, as do reforms to improve the mix of international students in Australia, as long as the measures recognise the size of the student populations in the world’s two key source countries (China and India).

The actions in the strategy though bring a remarkable level of government scrutiny, which could become interference to classroom level enrolments in universities and other providers. And it should be noted that almost all of the changes, including Action 3.1B, appear to apply to all providers.

Depending on the timeframe for these reforms to be enacted, they pose a significant challenge as the sector seeks to rebuild.

They also pose significant challenges for both TEQSA and ASQA – if the government intends that once these measures are bedded down, they will be monitored by the regulators.

In addition, TEQSA’s decision-making is under challenge by a leading international education group in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (the appeal is understood to relate to the application of the new Higher Education Provider Category Standards and TEQSA’s decisions not to approve two of the group’s providers as University Colleges).

2022 looms as quite the year for the sector.


Clear course info up-front

The Government wants transparent admissions information for aspiring local postgraduates and international students so they can assess and compare institutions

And so, the Higher Education Standard Panel has appointed experts to suggest how it can be done better. Kerri-Lee Krause (Avondale U) will chair an assembly of experts, (scroll down).

This builds on an undergrad admission info project five years back, in days when the inexplicalities of the ATAR exercised critics. Although, a big issue then still applies, HESP concluded universal info on standard templates was the go (CMM November 16 2016).

Uni SA snap announcement: lectures on-line next year

Academic Board decided on digital delivery Friday, with word now reaching lecturers

Admin staff are scrambling to update timetable information for the new year, with details of previously intended lecture locations being deleted.

Lecturers are being given the option of lecturing live on-line at scheduled days and times or for a note to appear in timetables that availability will be advised at the start of the relevant study period.

As per this year and last, “special case” lectures that need to be delivered live on campus will proceed.

The news has surprised some lecturers.

Word is that it is being explained as providing pandemic certainty, just like 2020 and this year.

Appointments, achievements

The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education names the ever-energetic and generous with time and ideas Michael Sankey (Charles Darwin U) its 2021 Community Fellow. Other achievers include, * Chiu-Lin Lai (National Taipei Uni of Education) and Ruofei Zhang (Education Uni of Hong Kong) – distinguished reviewers * Keith Heggart (UTS) – emerging scholar * Laura Tubino (Deakin U), Samantha Clarke and team (Uni Sydney) –  innovation awards * Michael Henderson (Monash U) – life member.

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) joins the hall of fame of the Australian division of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research. Yes, that Guthrie, the one who scrutinises university financials in CMM.

The Higher Education Standards Panel has a new advisory committee on admissions info for PG/international students. It is chaired by Kerri Lee Krause (Avondale U) with members, * Sarah Bux (La Trobe U) * Catriona Jackson (Unis Aus) * Alistair Maclean (TEQSA) * Connie Merlino (RMIT) * Stuart Mossman (Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres) * Arshad Omari (Edith Cowan U) * Natalie Simmons (International College of Hotel Management) * Kathryn von Treuer (Cairnmillar Institute) * Martin Westwell (SA Certificate of Education Board)

Nyadol Nyuon succeeds Kathy Laster as director of Victoria U’s Sir Zelman Cowen Centre (“legal education, training and research, with a particular focus on law and cultural diversity.”)