Just 4 per cent of surveyed students say unis do enough to help victims of sexual assault on campus


Pay scales for the real world: the range of  what average university workers make


Plus computing power: the issues that alarm, intrigue, excite IT chiefs


and: Harry Potter and the goblet of GDP

Brush properly Mr Ed

“Survey reveals why WA horses are saddled with tooth decay,” University of Western Australia reported yesterday. A gift on the horses’ birthday

Navitas takes a hit

The private provider reports revenues down 5 per cent as two university partner colleges close and The Donald takes a toll

Education pathways provider Navitas reports 2017 financial revenues of $955m, down 5 per cent. The company attributes the decline to the final closure of the Curtin and Macquarie university joint ventures in Sydney. The universities division reported an $11m income decline.

Overall university partnership enrolments were up 5 per cent with fee income increasing 2.5 per cent. In Australia and New Zealand “underlying” enrolments grew by 16 per cent “following ongoing demand and a stable regulatgory environment.” However, US numbers dropped “followed continued uncertainty in response to the new administration.”

Sliding pay scales

What university workers make where

Level C academics and HEW six administrators at the University of Queensland are way down the pay scale. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has compiled nation-wide league tables that show its HEW six salaries are 27th out of 40 institutions and Level C scholars are 23rd.

The pay-spread for HEW six professional staff ranges from Victoria U at $72 113 to the University of Notre Dame, Sydney’s $84 502 and University of Sydney at $82 907. For Level C academics, Victoria U pays least, $108 956 and the horse most, $ 124 900.

Sexual abuse survey slams university managements

Students who are sexually assaulted or harassed “face a range of barriers” in seeking support


The problem Some 21 per cent of university students were sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016, according to a national survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission.  The survey of 30 000 plus students across all 39 universities also found 1.6% of students were sexually assaulted in a university setting (including while travelling to or from university) in 2015 or 2016.

According to the HRC; “the survey results indicated that only 6% of students thought that their university was currently doing enough to provide and promote clear and accessible information on sexual harassment procedures, policies and support services, and only 4% thought this was the case in relation to sexual assault.”

 The long-awaited study, commissioned by Universities Australia, released yesterday found that “the vast majority” of men and women who were sexually assaulted or harassed “face a range of barriers, both structural and attitudinal, to reporting or seeking support following sexual assault or sexual harassment. In addition, students who did report were often unsatisfied with the response of their university.”

“Primarily, they were dissatisfied with, a lack of action taken in response to their report; felt they were not believed or were blamed; a breach in confidentiality of the reporting procedures; an inappropriate response to their report; or a lack of support,” the HRC states.

No universities substantially exceed the national averages for assault however, the national report notes, “a relatively high prevalence rate of sexual assault and sexual harassment within residential colleges and university residences.” While 7 per cent of survey respondents lived in university owned/affiliated accommodation some, 34% of those sexually assaulted and 14 per cent of those harassed lived there. Although the HRC states incidents may not have occurred on-site “students living in university residential colleges or halls may be at a higher risk.”

The study defines “university settings,” where harassment and assaults occurred as: on campus, travelling to or from university, at an off-campus event organised by or endorsed by the university, and at university employment.

The response: The university system responded yesterday with a textbook example of how to deal with a reputational disaster, acknowledging problems and committing to address them. Within three hours  of the HRC report being published over half the system had released individual survey results and detailed what they are doing to deal with them.

But while just about all VCs issued statements by the end of the day not all universities put the report and their institutional response on their home pages. Something to consider, a learned reader suggests, for people looking where they should study next year this open day season.

Some university responses stood out: John Dewar from La Trobe U involved student leaders: making a joint statement with the presidents of the five campus student associations. They make a point too easily ignored among the understandable concern at what university managers have not done in the past. This isn’t just a campus problem it is a community one:

“as a community, we can all do better in treating each other with the respect and decency we each deserve. We hope this survey is a catalyst for a community conversation on how we should better interact with each other and set higher expectations for ourselves and each other.

Deakin VC Jane den Hollander made it clear that addressing the problem is a task for the entire university community.

Deakin students have been automatically enrolled – and all staff invited to participate – in an online training module, Consent Matters to learn how to seek sexual consent, recognise what consent looks like and identify situations where it can’t be given.”

ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt began talking about sexual assault and harassment on his campus weeks back, explaining to the university community what is expected of everybody and what ANU will do.  For a university with a big residential community on campus, which Professor Schmidt wants to grow, ANU needed an unequivocal response to the report.

“I pledge to the students and staff at ANU who are affected by sexual assault and harassment that we are acting, we will do more, and we will not cease until this stops happening in our community,” Professor Schmidt said.

A response he will be held to. As will all other VCs. As the HRC puts it;

“The example set by vice-chancellors in responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment will set the tone for the whole organisation – both staff and students. The message conveyed should be that these behaviours will not be tolerated, that clear pathways for providing support to students who experience sexual assault and sexual harassment will be developed and that bystanders will be empowered to take action. Accordingly, clear and consistent messaging from the top will also likely increase students’ confidence in reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment to their university.”

Regulator TEQSA also welcomed the report yesterday and was quick to point out that providing “a safe and secure environment” is a mandatory threshold standard for all providers. TEQSA does not say much but when it does wise university leaders listen.

Gail Kelly’s $1m gift

From Cape Town to Kensington (and the other way)

Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly has established a $1m fund to support a business student exchange between the University of Cape Town and UNSW. One undergraduate from each institution will take a semester at the other. The gift is expected to support the programme in perpetuity. Ms Kelly was born in South Africa

The big IT issues

University computing chiefs reveal their priorities

University IT directors are most focused on technologies that improve student outcomes – the same as last year when it was also number one on the Council of Australasian University Directors of IT top ten issues list. But times and technology change and this year site security and sustainability have rocketed up the ranking.

This year’s issues are (i) student success technologies (number one in 2016). (ii) digital strategy (also two in ’16). (iii) information security (three in ’16). (iv) delivering services “to achieve agility, scalability, cost effectiveness and effective analytics,” (up from 12 last year). (v) securing collaboration, “balancing agility, openness and collaboration with security, risk and privacy in a hybrid environment,” (22nd last year). (vi) business transformation (seven in 2016). (vii) education technology (down from four). (viii) workforce evolution (down from six in 2016). (ix) sustainability, “a sustainable approach to the organisation’s technology capability to meet changing needs,” (20th last year). (x) managing identity and access (stable at ten).

QUT honours its own

The university announces its alumni of the year

Outstanding alumnus and law alumnus: Darryl McDonough

Young alumnus: optometrist Kate Gifford

Innovation and Entrepreneurship award: Facebook’s engineering director, Joel Pobar

Young innovation and entrepreneurship award: avionics and computing analyst Michael Brett

Special excellence award: media creative Wayne Denning

Business alumni: Christine Corbett from Australia Post

Creative industries alumni: journalist Peter Greste

Education alumni: state minister for innovation and science Leeanne Enoch

Health alumni: clinical manager, DonateLife Queensland, Tina Coco

Science and engineering alumni: entrepreneur Michael Dempsey

 Harry Potter and the Goblet of GDP

STEM is being privileged as the key to economic growth

“The recent report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Innovation and Creativity  yet again reinforced the privileging of STEM subjects as the key to prosperous economic futures. However while rare, it is clear that creative ‘inventions’ such as the Harry Potter series can have enormous economic impacts as well as social, creative and cultural,” Susan Davis, deputy dean research in the education faculty at CQU writes for the Australian Association for Research in Education.