The more advertising changes …

The more it stays the same

Curtin U has a new brand campaign “change is here.”

It includes young people talking about the university’s achievement in changing the world for the better.

“If we truly want to make tomorrow better, we need big changes, now. With innovation at our heart, advanced facilities and a global community, Curtin University is committed to making positive change happen,” is the message.

Another excellent example of interchangeable uni advertising. Research-focused universities across the country could use it.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angela Brew on undergraduates as researchers. This week’s selection by Contributing Editor Sally Kift for her series on what we need now in teaching and learning

Angel Calderon wraps a great ranking year for Australia.

Luke Hesson feared leaving medical research – he found a new life when he did.

David Kellermann (UNSW) on creating a serious solution for on-line lecturing. Curated content from Microsoft.

Uni Sydney avoids international enrolment abyss

The feared collapse has not happened 

Second semester student census numbers are in and VC Michael Spence tells staff, “we are in a better position than anticipated and have come much closer to achieving the original budget, set prior to the pandemic, than we thought possible.”

Domestic enrolments are 2.4 per cent up on the original budget and international student numbers “are far more positive than we had anticipated.” Dr Spence reports international student numbers are down 3.6 per cent.

Overall student numbers for the year are 5.3 per cent lower on original budget, meaning the university is down $98m.

Dr Spence attributes the strong second semester to “the efforts of many colleagues … to provide greater certainty for students around the delivery of teaching and to re-engage those students who deferred or suspended from semester one.”

While this will not be the all of university loss, the university appears in way better shape than six months ago, when Dr Spence warned of a $470m deficit (CMM  April 29).

However, the VC is still careful about expectations.  “The impact of the continuing global pandemic on international student enrolments for 2021 remains difficult to predict, so while we welcome these results we must continue to prepare for a number of future possibilities,” he said yesterday.

One of which is unlikely to be compulsory redundancies. Last month Dr Spence proposed a voluntary redundancy round which he hoped would be the only “staff measure” required (CMM September 18).

The skinny on intel research

What the feds will fund is revealed

The Australian Research Council has carriage of the National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grant. Problem was when announced there was no public information on what would be funded, (CMM October 16.)

Now there is, with details up on the ARC website. There is funding for research in eight areas, ranging from “space-based challenges” through “data-driven and real-time analytical challenges” to something that sounds spy v spy, “covert collection challenges.”

For on-line to work ask the ed-tech experts

Higher education institutions were “sorely under-prepared” when the pandemic arrived

Kate Thompson (QUT) and Jason Lodge (Uni Queensland) argue policy and practise ensured that technology drove strategy as universities scrambled to get everything on-line.A distinct lack of funding of research and innovation to inform decisions about effective learning in higher education is one part of the reason why such a huge effort was required. The necessary research was ignored, non-existent or too difficult to translate into practice in a timely manner,” they write in a call for ed tech researchers to get into the policy game

Researchers and practitioners are in the best positions to lead, to build the capacity of our colleagues to be part of the rapidly expanding conversation about the use of technologies in education, to use the research to inform practise, to  ask  questions  about  what  works  and  why.”

The need, they warn, is urgent;

Unless there is change, the conversation will  continue  to  be  driven  by  economists  and  self-promoters, with  a  continued  decline in the perceived value and utility of research into educational technologies. In a year that seems destined to result in entirely new visions of the future, now is the time to imagine a better one. “

Uni Newcastle going where the students are

The university did not pick a great year for a new international student strategy (CMM February 24) – but it appears to have a plan for new markets

Uni Newcastle announces a “unique joint teaching programme” in business and commerce with BINUS U in Jakarta.  Students in Jakarta will complete a UoN degree there or transfer to the university’s Singapore or Newcastle campuses.

This seems similar to the approach announced last year, with an MOU between UoN and Chulabhorn Royal Academy in Thailand. The parties propose four-year medical innovation and engineering degrees, taught 18-months in Thailand, followed by two years at Newcastle (as in the city) and a final six months back at Chulabhorn RA (CMM July 17 2019.)

Two PVC positions into one at Murdoch U

Provost Romy Lawson proposes a single PVC

The university’s academic units are allocated to two colleges each led by a PVC.  But Professor Lawson proposes change this, with a single PVC Colleges, reporting to her.

The new position will be backed by another new role, director, business management colleges.

“The changes are designed to create greater consistency, efficiency and alignment in the way the colleges are managed and to simplify the reporting lines,” she tells staff.

Andrew Webster is now interim PVC of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences and Grant O’Nell interim PVC of Science, Health, Engineering and Education.

Professor Lawson says the new PVC job will be advertised internally and the business director will be recruited from “directly impacted staff.”

Claire Field on how TEQSA takes time and confuses on the way


Monday’s CMM included a brief item about TEQSA being closed last Friday for the Grand Final public holiday.  Given the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency is Melbourne-based that seems entirely reasonable. It was the next comment, about timeliness, which resonated. And to that I would add there is also confusion in how information is now being presented on the National Register.

Firstly timeliness. This is clearly an issue for providers (which will hopefully be addressed through TEQSA’s ‘regulatory smoothing’ initiative). It is also an issue for stakeholders, e.g. it routinely takes TEQSA a month to update the National Register following the conclusion of a re-registration audit.

The most recent example is the regulator’s re-registration of Murdoch University. While CMM reports that TEQSA is satisfied with Murdoch’s compliance with the Higher Education Standards, the summary report of the audit is yet to be uploaded to the National Register.

So what, some of you may ask?

TEQSA’s 2019 audit placed two conditions on the University of Tasmania’s registration, one of which relates to student performance reporting. This condition was subsequently imposed on at least one other institution and has now been formalised as a guidance note for the sector. It is therefore of interest to all institutions to understand if conditions have been imposed on Murdoch University and any wider implications these might have.

Stakeholders also have questions about an apparent change in how TEQSA reports a provider’s registration period. There are 10 institutions (eight NUHEPs and two universities) currently undergoing re-registration. Of these the National Register shows:

* six have an expired re-registration renewal date yet they are “registered”, while

* four show as “registered, ongoing pending renewal”.

Is there any meaningful difference between the two groups? And does it matter that TEQSA rejected the re-registration of one of these providers, now showing as “pending renewal” while the decision is appealed in the AAT?

Claire is an advisor to the tertiary education sector.

Appointments, achievements

The Forrest Research Foundation (as in Andrew and Nicola) announce Prospect Fellowships for Curtin U staff, Michael David Wilson (fatigue and wellbeing in safety-critical workplaces) and Georgia Hay (psychology of interdisciplinary healthcare teams).

 The International Water Association announces its 2020 fellows including; Distinguished Fellows: Jurg Keller (Uni Queensland), Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran (UTS). Kathryn Silvester (Sydney Water) becomes a Fellow.

Shitij Kapur is named president of King’s College London. Professor Kapur is now dean of medicine at Uni Melbourne.


The NSW Premier’s prizes for Science and Engineering are announced.

Uni Sydney virologist Edward Holmes is the NSW Scientist of the Year.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) is joint winner of the medical-biological science award.

Rachael Gallagher (Macquarie U) wins the ECR category for biological sciences.

Ewa Goldys (UNSW) wins the innovation award for research, on fluorescence (colour analysis of cells).

Zaiping Guo (Uni Wollongong) is joint winner of the engineering/ICT category.

David Hopkins (NSW Department of Primary Industries) takes the public sector prize.

Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina (UNSW) is the ECR winner for physical sciences.

Sue O’Reilly (Macquarie U) takes the award for in the maths, earth sciences chemistry, physics category.

Antoine van Oijen (Uni Wollongong) shares the medical-biology honour.

Sophie Poisel (Emanuel School) wins the STEM teaching award.

Ian Wright (Macquarie U) wins the biology category.


The US based Optical Society also announces new fellows, for 2021. Australia based researchers are, Igor Aharonovich UTS), Baohua Jia (Swinburne U), Ilya Shadrivov (ANU),