“We have a responsibility to be fearless” declares Jane den Hollander

From chief justice to chancellor: UWA appoints Robert French

Growing pains: bold new plan for agriculture research

QUT to do it all again: a second Brisbane boot camp for the MIT entrepreneur course

and: less is more fun (if you can get a coffee) says ANU’s Marnie Hughes Warrington

Just Dance

Edith Cowan U is well-placed to rate in the World Ranking of University Stunts* with news it officially holds the Guinness World Record for a marathon dance relay

Some 200 members of the ECU community collectively danced for 25 hours in December to celebrate the university’s 25th anniversary. VC Steve Chapman is also in the running to replace Uni of South Australia VC David Lloyd as leader on the Asian Pacific VC Gamest to have Go league table.** While Professor Lloyd copped a pie in the face for charity last winter, Professor Chapman wore a white suite and pink sunnies to the dance event.

* CMM just made that up ** CMM made this one up too

Griffith U promotes its own

Griffith University has appointed two of its own as business school deans

 Political scientist Anne Tiernan becomes dean (engagement) and accounting department head Fabrizio Carmignani becomes dean (academic). They both report to PVC Business David Grant. Carmignani replaces Linda Trenberth who is moving to become Vice Provost Academic and Equity at Victoria University of Wellington.

Swinburne’s architecture announcement  

Swinburne has announced courses for Australia’s brand new architecture programme (CMM May 23).

The university will offer a bachelor of design in architecture from next year, taught at the Hawthorne campus. A masters will be ready when the first undergraduate cohort completes. New head of design school Jane Burry says the courses will “focus on digital technology, sustainability, smart cities, social innovation and architecture that promotes or enhances health and wellbeing.”

“We want our architectural graduates to reclaim lost ground and take control of a project. We want our architectural graduates to be leaders.”

Doing it all again

In a big win for QUT, it will host the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s entrepreneur bootcamp a second time

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the 2018 event yesterday, as part of the state government’s Advance Queensland programme. This year’s bootcamp was on in March when participants from around the world were given a week to take an idea and build a ready to go business plan, a process that takes a year for MIT’s on-campus course (CMM March 30).

Next year’s camp will focus on “technology-enabled innovation” in “key sectors of the Queensland economy, agriculture, mining and environment management.

From chief justice to chancellor

The immediate past chief justice of the High Court will become UWA chancellor in December

Robert French will replace Michael Chaney who will stand down after 12 years. Justice French is a UWA graduate with degrees in physics and law. He received a UWA honorary doctorate in 2011. In May he  told law writer Michael Pelly that after the court he would not retire but engage with “writing, teaching and doing good works.”

Lions roar for UniMelbourne

The Made Possible by Melbourne outdoor research brand campaign for UniMelb has won agency McCann three silver lions at the Cannes advertising awards

The campaign presented 14 examples of University of Melbourne research and explained their community benefits on exhibits around the CBD, supported by advertising. Last week the campaign won Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s platinum award for best practise in communications and marketing (CMM June 16).

Good but not enough

Deakin U is increasing the proportion of women promoted to senior academic positions but even at the improved rate gender parity would take 30 years. VC Jane den Hollander is working on it

While Deakin U has made “good progress” in promoting women to senior positions, VC Jane den Hollander says they are “still under represented in senior positions.”

“There’s been considerable progress in gender equity, but there is still great inequity in wages and in the proportion of women in positions of influence … and women are still earning less than men for the same work,” she told the National Tertiary Education Women’s Conference.

Professor den Hollander outlined measures introduced at the university, including: the language used in job advertisements and PDs, reviewing bonuses and loadings, surveying issues “faced by those of diverse genders, sexualities and cultural backgrounds,” and including gender equity issues in senior manager’s KPIs.

“It is not easy, and reporting measures alone are not the answer. The factors leading to unequal outcomes for men and women are complex and varied and therefore difficult to change. It is a wicked problem but there is much we can and will do to advance gender equity,” she told staff in April, ( CMM April 5).

However, universities are especially obliged to act, having “a role not only as employers but as educators of students and of the wider community … we have a responsibility to be fearless and lead the way,” she said at the NTEU conference.

NTEU scholarships

The National Tertiary Education has two scholarships for members

One is for postgraduate research in feminist studies ($5000 pa for three years) in honour of the union’s 16-year federal president, the late Carolyn Allport. The other offers $5000 for postgraduate nursing research. It commemorates the late Joan Hardy.

Growing pains

There are enormous opportunities in agriculture science and student interest is finally responding but career paths for researchers need to improve via a $100m applied development fund

 The Australian Academy of Science reports a decade decline in ag enrolments, with starting students in degree courses dropping from just under 1800 in 2002 to half that ten years on. The figures for viticulture and ag business were equally awful, with the former dropping by two-thirds, to under 200 commencing students and the latter halving to under 100. The good news for graduates is that there are an estimated six jobs available for each of them.  The AAS suggests the drop was due “to the poor image of agriculture” but adds this has turned around.

“The world food crisis, the aspirations of the emerging Asian middle class and various free trade agreements have rekindled interest in food production in Australia. This is likely to remain at a high level for at least the coming decade, providing a degree of certainty to educational providers that demand for graduates will continue,” the Academy asserts.

But the news for starting researchers is not as good, with short term research contracts leading to “a highly unattractive option for those keen minds that we would want to entice into research careers.”

“Clearly designated funds need to be identified to ensure that there is an avenue for strategic and transformative research.”

The case for clear research paths is a key part of the Academy’s decadal plan for Australian agriculture, released yesterday.

The Academy calls for a national council controlling $100m over a decade agriculture research, translation and commercialisation fund in addition to the work of the  industry specific rural development corporations. “One option would be to establish an organisation that provides a central point of coordination for agricultural research and its applications,” the Academy suggests.

Acceleration expert

Elizabeth Eastland is UNSW’s new director of entrepreneurship

Dr Eastland joins from CSIRO where she had charge of innovation strategy. Prior to that she was at the University of Wollongong where she founded the iAccelerate innovation unit.

Master of the forest

Jamie Kirkpatrick from the University of Tasmania has won the Australian Heritage Council’s Sharon Sullivan Award

Professor Kirkpatrick is honoured for 40 years of research and “involvement” with forest and heritage conservation, notably in Tasmania, the Blue Mountains of NSW, the Australian Alps and Sub Antarctic.

ANU’s pop-up plaza

The ideals of teaching and learning are all very well, except when you can’t get a coffee

 Marnie Hughes Warrington is chronicling the construction of the new ANU and is watching the way the ephemeral delivers (in retail, not research, that is).

Space in the wrong place and too much of it can leave campus-life on support. The trick is pop-up services to scales of time and size, she suggests in her new essay on life as ANU builds a new services precinct.

“Being temporary allows you to test new offerings that you suspect will work well with your community. It also allows you to keep turning offerings over to encourage staff and students to come to campus and to engage inwards rather than just outwards.

Being small turns out to be even more important. Small means lower rent, and that means the possibility of lower prices for goods and services. Affordability is critical for students, and for staff. “

Low cost, quick-change retail artistry also means fun, which Professor Hughes Warrington says staff and students surveyed about the rebuild said they wanted, although they called it “vibrant.”

She’s right, CMM once commissioned a piece for another organ about campus life in Canberra which focused on how all the fun was had in Civic – the pop-ups now and the more human scale permanent services precinct when complete will enliven life on campus for “every staff member and student who wants to buy food or a cup of tea or coffee after 2pm.”

 At home @ Monash

Monash U has a new HR chief.

Bridgid Connors joins from Melbourne Health and has “skilfully managed numerous stakeholder groups within challenging environments.” She will feel right at home at Monash.