In breaking news

Pluto’s atmosphere is predicted to ultimately collapse and freeze over,” U Tasmania researchers report. You may wish to adjust travel plans.


Where the beef will be

At CQU if Labor wins the election

Labor promises $1.5m for infrastructure and upgrades at the Central Queensland Livestock Centre of Excellence, a partnership including CQU and the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges. The funding source is not identified but Labor has been making election-commitments from its proposed $300m fund for university infrastructure announced last year ( CMM, September 25). Presumably there is a spreadsheet somewhere (definitely not a whiteboard) with the cost of everything already announced added up – the campaign is still young.

Make your own app is MOOC of the morning

Applause for Curtin U’s Tristan Reed (he’s a mac) and David McMeekin (he’s mac-meekin)

The pair are launching a three-course MOOC on  how to build an app, using Apple’s Swift programming language, (via edX).  The first one, which goes live April 30 presents the basics, the second introduces augmented reality and working with the web and the third pulls everything together by building an app from idea to App store.

Yes, it is free and yes, it is a brilliant way for Curtin U to position itself as a great place to study IT.


Peter Ridd wins case against James Cook U

James Cook U actions found unlawful

Professor Ridd is critical of some colleagues’ research on the state of the Great Barrier Reef. The university says he was sacked for breaching the university’s code of conduct in stating his views while Professor Ridd responds he has a right to comment on research.

In the Federal Court yesterday, Judge Vasta stated that the university’s 17 findings against Professor Ridd, five confidentiality directions, a no-satire direction, a censure, final censure and termination of employment, “were all unlawful.”

Last night the university responded robustly; arguing that it dismissed Professor Ridd for the way he “communicated with others” and for repeated breaches of directions. “Dr Ridd at all times continued to engage publicly to promote his academic views and was never prevented by the university from doing so,” JCU Provost Chris Cocklin said.

Professor Cocklin added JCU is, “troubled by the fact,” that Judge Vasta, “fails to refer to any legal precedent or case law in Australia to support his interpretation of our enterprise agreement or academic freedom in Australian employment law.” Last night the university said it “was considering its options”.

Keep an eye on your elephant

ANU researcher warns the on-line black market in synthetic opiods is so developed that drugs such as Carfentanil, developed for elephants, are available as easily as buying books from Amazon. Your elephant spaced-out? Check its credit card.

Big CRC win for Uni Tasmania

There’s $329m to fund blue sky research about blue water

The University of Tasmania will host the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, “bringing together expertise in seafood, renewable energy and offshore engineering.”

U Tas VC Rufus Back calls the centre “blue sky thinking” (presumably blue water as well), “to answer one of our planet’s most critical questions: how can we sustainably feed and power ourselves from the world’s oceans.”

The centre was announced yesterday, the second new CRC in two days, presumably possible because Industry, Science and Technology minister Karen Andrews signed-off before caretaker conventions kicked-in. Ms Andrews certainly spoke at the University of South Australia’s satellite CRC announcement Monday and at yesterday’s event.

The Blue Economy centre will have $70m from the Federal Government, plus $259m in cash and kind from 37 partners in Australia and six other countries. Local universities involved include Griffith U, Uni Queensland, UWA and Macquarie U.

This is a huge win for Uni Tas, especially its Launceston campus, where the CRC will be based. It follows Monday’s announcement that a Labor Government will fund new infrastructure at the university’s Launceston-located Australian Maritime College.


Industrial clouds over Sunshine Coast

The union is not happy with enterprise bargaining so far

The Fair Work Commission has approved union members at Uni Sunshine Coast voting on industrial action, ranging from five-minute to indefinite stops works. The action is over enterprise bargaining negotiations which are not moving at a pace and direction the campus National Tertiary Education Union approves of. Just the thing to welcome new HR director Christina Turner. If approved, the industrial action will be next month.

SA Government goes the gourmet

There’s $60m on the dining table for food, hospitality and tourism training

The SA Government says it is scoping a $60m food, hospitality and tourism studies centre. Construction is to start next year at the Lot Fourteen precinct, next to the botanical gardens and convenient to the National Wine Centre.

Consultants will identify organisations and coursesbest suited to operate out of the school” but Premier Steven Marshall’s announcement includes the existing big three in the state’s good-time space, TAFE SA, the International College of Hotel Management and Le Cordon Bleu Australia.


The issues to argue about in teacher education

There’s more to teacher education than the ATAR but changing the debate takes effort

The teacher education industry wants bipartisan leadership for a national strategy to attract “the best possible candidates to the profession.”

“Ad hoc, unconnected, short-term efforts will not progress the issue enough. We need a much more collaborative strategy, which links longer-term actions,” Tania Aspland (Australian Catholic U), president of the Australian Council of Deans of Education says.

She nominates core issues to address, including; encouraging secondary school students and their influencers to consider teaching; pay and career structures; supporting early career teachers; ongoing professional development; lessening the administrative burden; and “trusting our dedicated teachers to teach.”

What to do about these and a bunch of other issues was explored at last month’s ACDE Melbourne industry forum, (reports here).

But it will all happen in a political context and Professor Aspland sets-out what the teacher education community needs do to set it, nominating;

* career trajectory, “an absolutely essential element for people within the profession to stay in the profession and to be attracted to the profession.”

* remuneration, “deans can’t do anything about that, but we can do it collectively”

* teachers as life-long learners

* preparing teachers to teach from day

And if the industry doesn’t; “we, as the stakeholders, need to give the politicians something to run with if we don’t want them to run with the ATAR figure.”

Appointments, achievements

Road cycling Olympian Patrick Jonker is named a fellow of the University of South Australia. They like lycra at UniSA, it’s a premier partner of the Santos Tour Down Under.  UniSA is also awarding an hon doc to child health epidemiologist and researcher, Fiona Stanley.

Alan Davison becomes dean of arts and social sciences at UTS. He has been deputy dean, then acting dean since 2017.

Uni Queensland announces its student sports awards. Swimmer Lakeisha Patterson is sportswoman of the year and touch footballer Justin Cridland, is sportsman. Ms Patterson won two golds at last year’s Comm Games. Mr Cridland represented Australia at the 2018 Trans-Tasman championship.

In the rush to make announcements before caretaker kicked in officials advised HE industry expert Kent Anderson’s reappointment to the Australian National Library’s council and reported he is ANU, which he has long left.