Rules Brittannia

Wonder what will be in the feds research translation plan? Perhaps this is a hint

“Juggling time differences to catch up with (UK science minister) Amanda Solloway. Interesting to hear more about the UK’s Grand Challenges programme and Catapult UK – how we might be able to apply similar thinking to our own research commercialisation agenda.” Education Minister Alan Tudge (via Twitter) yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

 Michael Tomlinson explains how TEQSA came up with its proposed fees. Providers set to be slugged, can keep the costs down, he suggests, by ensuring everything is squeaky-clean. “Quality should not only be done, it should be seen to be done, viewed from the perspective of the external observer (TEQSA.)


Jo Caldwell-Neilson (Deakin U) on eight essential elements of digital literacy. “Ultimately, it needs to be fit-for-purpose … it is a mind-set and an attitude, not just a skill set,” she argues. It’s Contributing Editor Sally’s Kift’s new selection for her CMM series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Donald Wlodkowic (RMIT) on teaching in virtual labs. Simulation technology make it possible to teach students advanced techniques, “too dangerous or too expensive to implement on campus.”


 It’s enterprise bargaining time!  Elizabeth Baré, Ian Marshman, Teresa Tjia and Janet Beard (Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Educationpresent six ways new agreements can make universities better places to work and learn.


Premier’s premiere

Steve Bracks was installed as Victoria U chancellor last night

He joins another former Labor premier of Victoria, John Brumby, who became chancellor of La Trobe U in March 2019.  So where will Daniel Andrews end up?

12 no lucky number for Uni Sydney management

Academic Board decides to stick with 13 teaching weeks in second semester

Management had proposed reducing contact weeks to 12, preceded by “a light introductory and course guidance week.”

DVC E Pip Pattison led the charge for change made the case in an oped in Uni Sydney’s student paper Honi Soit. She wrote that a trial last year showed, “students are able to have an effective learning experience and achieve good academic outcomes over a 12-contact week semester.” (Which is what a university representative told CMM, March 9).

But grass-roots campaigners (CMM April 20) and Academic Board were not convinced, and so semester two will have 13 weeks of classes. A proposal to clip a week also failed last year.

More things needed now

What we need now in teaching and learning is awareness and understanding of students’ mental health and wellbeing – which is why Sally Kift’s Needed Now conference includes an expert panel talking about what needs doing.

Join Ian Hickie (Uni Sydney), Ben Veness (CQU) Chi Bak (Uni Melbourne), Nicole Crawford  (Curtin U) and Rachael Field (Bond U). Details and bookings here.

For once its, TEQSA answering the questions

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency briefs peak bodies today on its proposed fees (as excellently explained by Michael Tomlinson in CMM, scroll up)

The university lobbies do not appear all that fussed – perhaps because their members are less exposed to fees, what their being self-accrediting for courses.

But private provider representatives aren’t entirely happy.

Independent Higher Education Australia warns the $18m in costs TEQSA intends to recover, will hurt “the sustainability of small and niche providers.”

And just as TEQSA regulates provider performance IHEA wants to know how the agency’s “costs are calculated and applied.”

“The TEQSA costing regime needs to be accompanied by stringent and transparent service obligations to ensure the regulator is meeting sector and community expectations.”

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia generously gives TEQSA time to prepare for curly questions, such as; “an initial review creates a question concerning the extent that the Australian Government’s cost recovery guidelines have been met – the robustness of some underpinning assumptions is an open question.”

ITECA also has specifics, including why the regulator wants to charge providers $17 000 to add or re-locate a delivery site for international students, which TEQSA has already approved for a domestic campus. “This seems unreasonable and unnecessary,” ITECA suggests.

However, ITECA is happy that the TEQSA integrity unit is not included in cost recovery and it welcomes a review of Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students fees and charge, given possible duplication of recovery actions by TEQSA and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.


Shorter but not as sweet at CQU

Learned readers report management wants a two-year enterprise agreement instead of the usual three

Others that could be discussed include no pay rises, five fewer university holidays, and an increase in the span of hours in which professional staff can work a regular shift.

CMM asked CQU about them and Barbara Miller (Director, People and Culture) replied in writing. “Given the current global outlook, a two-year agreement is a prudent approach, and allows us to revisit the agreement when more is known about the post-COVID operating context.”

But there was nothing specific about the other issues, “CQ University has long had one of the most generous enterprise agreements in the sector. While we are proud to be an employer of choice, we also have a duty to ensure the long-term sustainability of our institution. We’re currently working through a number of options with our union colleagues, to ensure the right balance between maintaining a sector-leading agreement and ensuring conditions are congruent with our fiscal responsibilities,” Ms Miller wrote.

She’s right about the old agreement being generous – it included a cumulative 10.5 per cent pay rise over five years (CMM August 24 2017).

Dirk Mulder counts-up where the VET growth is


Indian students at private providers in Victoria drove the February growth in VET enrolments, (CMM yesterday). This is what and where they selected to study

Their top-three choice of courses by narrow field of study were:

 Business and management: commencements nationally are up 621 (28.3 per cent) and overall enrolments up 1,954 (18.7 per cent). Victorian providers delivered all the 1,393 increase in enrolments.

 Food and Hospitality: commencements nationally are up 224 (13.7 per cent) and overall enrolments up 4,081 (55 per cent). Victoria accounting for 1,843 of the enrolments. In Victoria, TAFE numbers declined by 16 while non-government providers increased by 1859.

 Automotive Engineering and Technology: commencements nationally are up 79 (7.6 per cent), enrolments up 900 (16.9 per cent). Victoria accounting for 453 of the enrolments. In Victoria, TAFE enrolments declined by six while non-government enrolments increased by 459.

The big picture brush-off at Southern Cross U

Academics aren’t happy with the new workload model and wrote to the chancellor asking for help (CMM April 6 and 19)

But Nick Burton Taylor isn’t getting involved, responding that there are consultation processes in place and people’s concerns will be kept confidential. And he politely points out that while he recognises they have concerns, “council is responsible for all our staff members in addition to the numerous stakeholders that a regional university, such as ours, represents. It is this whole of Southern Cross University’s well-being that is Council’s focus and which is so challenged by the external circumstances that we continue to face.”

About as polite a brush-off as possible.



Suzanne Chambers becomes executive dean of health sciences at Australian Catholic U. She moves from UTS.