Print fit to screen

La Trobe U historian Clare Wright is talking at the Melbourne Writers Festival about women’s voting rights, with luck, she will also update her audience on turning a book into a script. CMM hears the first draft of the script for a TV pilot based on her book, The forgotten rebels of Eureka. is in final edit.  Producer Mark Ruse has met with television executives and talent agents and the project has an agent.

Last July LT U provided $200 000 from its Strategic Investment Fund for the project (CMM July 4 2018).

Case closed for ANU law training

ANU intends to close the School of Legal Practice and it looks like there is nothing that can stop it

The university says it will teach-out courses by 2021 and that all 29 academic jobs will go (CMM August 9). The National Tertiary Education Union deplores this saying, “it important to acknowledge that the degrees from the School of Legal Practice are highly regarded in the legal profession, and that this is due to the quality and professionalism of its staff.”

“You can graduate with an ANU law degree, but you will not be able to be qualified by the ANU to practise law,” the union’s Rachael Bahl, points out (via Twitter).

But it appears the ever-industrious union can find no flaw in the university’s process that would allow an industrial challenge, saying it will work with members to ensure management does everything according to the enterprise agreement.

Asking the class of teaching students

The Australian Council of Deans of Education wants to know why people doing teaching degrees decided to become teachers and why they think their peers didn’t  

So, it’s going to ask them. The deans and Swinburne U have created a site where initial teacher ed students can write up their ideas and experiences and suggest ways of addressing impediments.

The aim is “to effectively form a large on-line focus group,” ACDE says.

Back in April deans president Tania Aspland called for a national strategy to attract, “the best professional candidates” to teacher education (CMM April 17).

Uni Melbourne’s new India engagement strategy

The university announces a five-year plan, “to expand and deepen our relationships and activities with Indian partners.” That isn’t code for student recruitment

what: The university commits to research and engagement in health, water, law (creating an Indian equality law programme), arts and teaching and learning.  And it will develop blended learning and teaching with Indian institutions, building on a bachelor of science designed to prepare graduates for PG work. The university will also “establish a significant … presence in India,” with the Melbourne Academy for Blended Teaching and Learning.

“The academy in collaboration with partner institutions, will house engagement activities, short-term programmes, on-line education and host cohorts of Australian and Indian students.”

where: UniMelb will focus on Delhi and eight states where it is already active.

why: Peter Varghese’s 2018 report for the federal government on doing business with India, set out the vast opportunities for all sectors of Australian education but was also clear on the challenge. Uni Melbourne appears to be picking-up on Mr Varghese’s suggestions that Australian universities build JV PhD programmes and “boost research and teaching on issues of high priority to India.”

wise: This is a strategy for and by an elite institution, looking to build its brand over-time at the top-end of India’s education market. As Mr Varghese put it, “Getting education right is critical for India to maximise the potential of its demographic dividend by ensuring its millions of young people are equipped to enter the workforce and able to adjust to rapid technological change. … India will not have the capacity to meet this demand on its own.”

Who teaches and how much divides USC management and union  

A couple of weeks back a new enterprise agreement at the University of the Sunshine Coast looked imminent, but no deal is done

The problem is management wants changes on moving academics to teaching-only positions and the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union isn’t having it.

The union is keen to keep the term in the old-agreement, which states research active criteria, “will only be modified through agreement with the Joint Consultative Committee” (three management and three union reps).

The union says management want changes to academic roles to be based on “consultation”, rather than “agreement.”

The difference, the NTEU warns, would “force untold numbers of academics” into teaching-focused positions, “regardless of staff input to consultation.”

CMM asked the university what it thought about that but a representative declined to comment, “because it does not want to jeopardise negotiations.”

Lloyd warns end of demand driven funding risks viability of HE system

“the foundation of domestic investment in higher education has been incredibly and frankly, foolishly, eroded”

The “one size fits all” ending of demand driven funding in 2017, puts the viability of the Australian higher education sector at risk- and limits the potential of young South Australians in particular, Uni SA VC David Lloyd warned in an Adelaide speech yesterday.

The state would have reached the national target of 40 per cent of participation in HE in 2020 if the system had continued but without it, “we are unlikely to ever get beyond where we currently sit,” – which is 31 per cent.

“The rules were changed, unilaterally, with a blunt instrument – one size fits all. And as always, blunt instruments bring significant unintended consequences.”

Professor Lloyd set out unpalatable options for SA with a cap on domestic undergraduate places,

* “stop allowing equal and fair access to higher educationLloyd warns end of demand driven funding risks viability of HE system ” – not good given school leaver numbers will grow at twice the rate of total population growth 2022-25

* “game the system” over-enrol in law and accountancy, where students pay 83 per cent of the cost of their degree. “In a state with 6 per cent unemployment and identified skill shortages in areas which do not map to law or accounting that would be at the very least in social engineering terms, irresponsible.”

And he is scathing about arguments that international enrolments, “precariously balanced against geopolitical realities” mean universities “are awash with money.”

“That is nonsense. …  The foundation of domestic investment in higher education has been incredibly and frankly, foolishly, eroded, and gets covered with a fig-leaf sound-bite about rivers of gold.”

Professor Lloyd argues the problem, “which has been engineered through policy decisions,” is “fixable,” “but it requires clear articulation of the issue and a willingness to move on from ad hoc intervention to truly joined-up thinking. When a university makes a case for funding it is held up as self-serving. This is a matter of importance for the future competitiveness of this state.”

Charles Darwin U in deficit

The Northern Territory Auditor reports CDU incurred a $21.4m deficit last year on $258m revenue

The loss was up $7m on 2017, due in part to reduced revenue and expense increases. While three university-owned colleges in Cairns and one in Adelaide also made losses, the overall CDU group loss was marginally less than the university, ($19.1m, down from $19.6m).

Commonwealth grants and student fee income were down marginally as were staff expenses, but the university continued to rely on “financial assistance” from the territory government, $59m last year, ($60m) in 2017, largely for VET.

The NTG announced Friday a one-off $7m additional contribution to the university to support vocational education.

$94m for regional campus scholarships

Education Minister Dan Tehan announces $15 000 scholarships for 4700 students happy to get out of town

The scheme is open to domestic and international students, enrolled from Certificate IV to PhD and who will start at a regional campus next year.

Universities can apply for funding through a competitive grant process. There is also support for institutions administering and supporting the scheme.

Funding is not restricted to the Regional University Network, being open to all institutions with a campus anywhere that meets the Australian Bureau of Statistics classification of outside a major city. Hello La Trobe U and Group of Eight universities with ag schools.

Appointments, achievements

Felix Pirie joins the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia as policy and research director. He moves from director of education and equity at the Group of Eight.

Angus Buchanan (Curtin U) is president elect of the precisely titled International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. The association’s annual conference also recognised Christine Bigby (La Trobe U) with its Distinguished Achievement Award and elected Rhonda Faragher (Uni Queensland) a fellow.

Andrew Bowskill joins MTP Connect as director, Queensland stakeholder engagement. MTP Connect is the federal government’s Industry Growth Centre for med tech and pharma.

Joanna Gambetta (Charles Sturt U) and Mango Parker (Australian Wine Research Institute) are short-listed for the innovator-researcher category of the Australian Women in Wine awards.

Byron Barnes joins the University of Notre Dame Australia as director advancement for the Sydney campus. He moves down Broadway from UTS.