No chair for Dorothy the Dinosaur

Arts educators complain about engagement and impact metrics, with Clive Barstow (Edith Cowan U) from the Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts  warning against a “bums on seats mentality.” “If we were to apply this model to the current research impact agenda in Australia … then the four most prestigious and highly paid professors in Australia would be The Wiggles.” Not a chance, they would never take the pay cut.

How unis can help themselves by improving school math numbers

The ATAR is under attack again, with claims that senior school students drop top-maths to ensure a higher uni entry score. This means they start maths-based uni courses unprepared. That the NSW Universities Admission Centre says such gaming does not go on and would not work even if it did ( CMM April 24) is unlikely to quieten advocates of the ATAR’s end. And universities are not likely to speak up for it, lest they draw attention to a reason why school students veg out on low-level maths. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s new report on industry-school STEM partnerships points out;

“Only five of 37 Australian universities require intermediate or advanced mathematics for entry into a bachelor of science and only four of 31 universities for entry into a bachelor of commerce. Thirty-Four Australian universities offer engineering degrees. Currently, only one requires advanced mathematics, and at least two do not require any mathematics at all.”

The result, Geoff Prince, from the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, warns is;

“historic lows in student participation in higher level mathematics, a trend fuelled by a lack of university pre-requisites. If we don’t deal with these issues they will block the effectiveness of many of the report’s recommendations,”

MOOC of the morning

The UTas Wicking Centre’s  Preventing Dementia MOOC has reached 10 000 starters. It begins May 15.  CMM bangs on about the potential for MOOCs to help peope who need information and advice on all sorts of issues in their lives at a fraction of the cost and massive multiples of the impact of the money government spends on media campaigns. The Wicking Centre’s work makes the case.

Oldie but a goodie

“The new  Complete University Guide for 2019 yet again has Cambridge at the top of the pile – where it has been for well over 800 years now,” Paul Greatrix @ Registrarism yesterday on the first UK league table of the season. No faulting its methodology for consistency.

Fed U ahead of big-city stars

Federation Uni is pleased that its teaching grads “excelled” in the national numeracy and literacy tests. Insofar as “excelling” is defined as above average performance in tests to see new teachers are in the top third of the community. What Fed U was too polite to point out is that its grads’ literacy scores were above other Victorian institutions, La Trobe, RMIT, Monash, Swinburne and Victoria U. Fed U had a higher numeracy performance than Deakin, La Trobe RMIT, Swinburne and VU.

Flinders Q&A

The Flinders University branch executive of the National Tertiary Education Union wants to grill VC Colin Stirling on behalf of staff. “The NTEU has been inundated with staff requesting to see your decisions interrogated and questioned, but who fear repercussion if they speak out at town hall meetings,” the comrades say. The officials propose a 45-minute open meeting where they ask the VC about issues that staff members have raised; “staff morale, changes to management culture, and workload issues across the colleges.” The university is yet to respond.

Appointments and achievements

Swinburne U aspro Emma Sherry is the new president of Tennis Victoria. She researches the role of sport in community development.

Matthew Rockloff from CQU has $1m from the Victorian Government to research emerging gambling products and consumer behaviour.

They don’t call Hong Kong home

Hong Kong wants to attract the best and brightest among the children of people who emigrated to Australia. Officials will be spruiking talent admission schemes on May 1 and 2 at UoQ, UniMelb, Monash, the universities of Sydney and plus Macquarie U and UTS.

Private trainers begin the long crawl to credibility

The private training industry association has launched a review programme for members to establish which “are student centric.” “The Australian Council for Private Education and Training has committed to lifting standards across the industry. We recognise the tremendous damage that can be caused by poor behaviour and will be driving the initiative to rebuild confidence in tertiary education and training,” ACPET chief Rod Camm says.

“It is a fundamentally new platform upon which we will build protection for students, ethical providers, employers and government, to recognise our certified members as the very best of the industry.”

Given the enduring public memory of spivs and shonks exploiting people in the great VET FEE HELP catastrophe this is an understandable step – although one in a journey to a new image that will  surely take the legitimate training industry a decade. And ACPET knows it. Last year it asked members for ideas on a name change (which hasn’t happened yet), CMM July 11.