No count on secure jobs for academic causals at Macquarie U

At Macquarie U 48 casually employed professional staff qualify for conversion to continuing employment under the new Fair Work Act process.

But how many, if any, academics qualified? CMM asked.

Macquarie U replied “a substantial number of staff would have required significant changes to their duties and hours of work undertaken to warrant conversion to continuing full time or part time employment.” Which is undoubtedly true, but not what was asked.

All up the university employs 3150 casuals.

The full Ferris

Monday is a holiday in NSW – and CMM will take the day off to generally bueller about, (although twisting and shouting is unlikely).  Back Tuesday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on Deakin U annual reports and what they reveal.

plus Susan Blackley and Lisa Tee (both Curtin U) argue students like campus life and blended learning is not a complete substitute. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

with Angel Calderon (RMIT) on the new QS employability ranking – universities with industry-aligned missions shine.

and Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the true aim of a university education. Not every student has to be expert in everything but they have to be an expert in something.

What’s next on campus

Back to the way things were pre-Covid, or change?

Change for the lectured and the lecturer. Change in how universities teach and in the campus services they provide. Change in how unis work with communities.

CMM is going with change and has invited experts to talk about what might, and must, happen.

Experts like Helen Bartlett, Glyn Davis, Brian Schmidt and Deborah Terry who will discuss ideas for universities in communities.

They headline a new ZOOM conference from Sally Kift, Twig Marketing and CMM. Details here.

United front on campus vax

The National Tertiary Education Union calls for mandatory vax ex medical and “other legally recognised” exemptions

But the union’s leadership wants a national plan for universities based on public health orders, not individual employer decisions.

“On present settings, we are likely to have ad hoc arrangements determined by local university managers. A situation where some universities introduce a vaccination mandate and others don’t is inequitable, unwise, unsafe, and confusing,” the union announces.

The NTEU adds it will “pursue a consensus statement with Universities Australia” that “explicitly recognises the proven link between public health and economic security.”

And it calls on federal education minister Alan Tudge to convene representatives of unions, unis, students and state/territory governments, “tasked with expeditiously drafting a nationally consistent reopening plan for the nation’s universities.”

Fully vaccinated staff and students will return to Swinburne U when Victoria reaches the 80 per target.

And that’s everybody, “If you have a valid medical exemption from being vaccinated, we will work with you to identify practical options that may be available for you,” VC Pascale Quester tells staff.

The vax requirement may not challenge many Swinburners, the VC reports a staff survey showing 94 per cent have had one, or both jabs. A vaccination hub opens Monday at the university’s Swinburne U campus yesterday.

Swinburne U joins Monash U, and Uni Melbourne in making vaccination mandatory for returns to campus, La Trobe U proposes it for December.


STA ways to apply research

Science and Technology Australia gets the need for applied research – it has ideas on making it work

In a submission to a Senate inquiry, the peak body proposes appointing “brokers” to National Collaborative Research Facilities to, “engage with industries like manufacturing. And STA renews its regular call for a Research Translation Fund, to bring research science and technology to market, along the lines of the Medical Research Future Fund. The existing R&D Tax Incentive and the imminent Patent Box indirect incentives do not provide a path across the valley of death separating labs from sales, STA suggests.


Secure work: if acting globally won’t work, think locally

If a system-wide approach on casual cnversion won’t work it could be up to individual universities

At Western Sydney U no casual staff will be converted to continuing employment under the new Fair Work Act rules. But 71, out of 1100, have won job security under the university’s enterprise agreement.

With a new EA being negotiated, union leader David Burchell says insecure employment, is “the head of our log of claims and that “this is the right historic moment to address this historic ill.”

He isn’t alone in wanting change. VC Barney Glover points to universities present “very difficult financial position” but adds, “we do need, both at an institutional level and where possible across the sector, to develop new approaches to reduce high levels of casualisation.”

Micro-credentials: oversold and unexplained

The unmediated embrace of micro-credentials as pathways to employability must be challenged,” Sally Kift writes in an Australia-overview for a collection of assessments on the impact of COVID-19 on HE access and equity around the world

“How do we support all students, and particularly equity and first in-family students, to navigate the dizzying array of short courses on offer in the absence of a coherent, overarching lifelong learning narrative”, Professor Kift  asks.

Specific issues, she suggests, include;

* “unhelpful fragmentation of education”

* employers not being able to recognise MC

* “the untested promise of stackability”

Sally Kift is commissioning editor for the CMM series, Needed now in teaching and learning

Appointments, achievement

of the day

Rose Amal (UNSW) wins the Australian and New Zealand Federation of
Chemical Engineer’s Chemeca Medal for solar and chemical energy conversion applications, (treating water, purifying air, generating renewable hydrogen).

Anthony Pagès is confirmed as CEO of ANU Enterprises. He has acted since February.

Tony Weiss (Uni Sydney) wins the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Weickhardt Medal.

of the week 

The American Geophysical Union announces its 2021 Fellows, including; Andy Baker (UNSW), Stephen Rintoul (CSIRO) and Craig Simmons (Flinders U).

 Simon Biggs is announced as the next VC of James Cook U. He will move from UWA, where he is senior DVC.  Professor Briggs will start in February, replacing Sandra Harding, who has been VC since January 2007.

Caleb Ferguson is moving to Uni Wollongong to be an AsPro in nursing. He is now at Western Sydney U.

At RMIT, Kate Fox wins the STEM College’s Peter Coloe Medal.

Maree Meredith is confirmed as director of the Indigenous health Poche Centre SA and the Northern Territory, at Flinders U. AsPro Meredith has been acting since June 2020.

Murdoch U’s VCs awards were announced Wednesday, here.