Socks for ARMs

The Australasian Research Management Society promotes ARMS socks, “at a low price of $8 per pair,” (via Twitter)

But why you ask, “this will be a chance to carry the ARMS brand when meeting in tradition spaces where shoes are not worn.” ARMs has great future in researching retail.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this week, Jessica Vanderlelie (La Trobe U) on the why and how of engaging with alumni. It’s a new contribution to commissioning editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Harvard by Sydney harbour

Harvard U’s Graduate School of Education is holding a Sydney summer school for principals

On in January, it’s “designed for “region-specific learning needs” (region being ANZ and surrounds). Participants “will engage with Harvard faculty” for four days at the University of Sydney Business School, “to explore research based techniques and best practices to assist in developing a leadership plan tailored to their home school settings.”

Standard cost is A$5 400, with scholarships for principals of disadvantaged regional/rural schools. It’s part of a Harvard push into the professional education market for Australian teachers, with another four short courses on offer this year and next. But while Harvard staff are focused on local needs, they might find Sydney weather in January a surprise –the original announcement of the principal course was headlined, “to launch in winter 2020.”

“The Australian education system favours shiny things from afar rather than local high-quality researchers,” a learned reader remarks.

Curtin U its own case study

The university announces a blockchain lab, to “research disruptive technologies”  

Perhaps like the university’s own fund-raising – it has a scholarship scheme for PhD researchers working on blockchains and crypto-currencies which accepts donations in Bitcoin (CMM July 24).

Off the research express at Uni Canberra  

Unhappy members of the Uni Canberra assistant professor scheme are able to opt out

The scheme was created to lift the university’s research standing, by giving members seven years to meet output targets that qualify them for continuing positions. While management liked it, some senior academics and assistant profs, plus the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union didn’t, warning of the workload and psychological pressure to publish it placed on participants.

Back in January Vice Chancellor Deep Saini agreed to review the scheme, which accounts for 20 per cent of the university’s academics. A report is expected at month end but while the review panel is said to be “still deliberating” on the review, an opt-out policy for those who don’t want to wait is in-place. The university says it option was developed in cooperation with the NTEU during enterprise bargaining.

This document gives eligible assistant professors until January to apply to exit the scheme and for appointment as continuing staff, with pay-grade, “subject to the nature of the role which the employee is appointed to.”

Uni Canberra states, “in developing this policy the university had regard to the provisions of section 40B(1)(b) of the Human Rights Act 2004.” For those whose minds it momentarily slips, this states; “it is unlawful for a public authority in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right.” CMM wonders whether this relates to an assistant professor in February lodging a workplace health and safety notification about the pressures the scheme placed on people.

The scheme review is expected to recommend it continue.

Fair and balanced

Just about all reporting of Andrew Norton and Ittima Cherastidtham’s last Grattan Institute report (CMM yesterday) went first with the authors’ conclusion that some young men with low ATARs have better employment outcomes with a VET qualification than university degrees.

Invariably, reports then added that most young women with lower school leaving scores did better with a degree (think teaching and nursing).

It was all fair enough but with the political pendulum swinging strong to training guess which bit will quoted in parliament.

Fine-tuning teaching times at UNSW

The university says the 3+ system is bedding down ok and wants  feed-back to bed it down even better

DVC E Merlin Crossley tells the university community that after two-terms of the new system, course satisfaction has dropped by one or two per cent in “some but not all courses” and satisfaction with teaching, “has improved slightly”.  The university now uses three 10-week teaching terms, and an optional 5-week summer term.

This may not convince students who participated in June’s library lawn-packing protest, but Professor Crossley is not for turning and is pushing-on with fine-tuning.

Student representatives on a review committee have made ten recommendations. Seven are set for future examination and three are now being considered,

* extending the “flexibility week” now in place in Law, Art and Design, and “several schools”. Under the replaced calendar there were four courses in 12 weeks. Now three can be done in nine, leaving one week “for consolidation”

* reducing the “assessment burden” on staff and students. Academic Board is reviewing timing and types of assessments across each term

* better explanation of “special consideration” rules

Professor Crossley says overall the 3+ system “has already delivered significant improvements.”

“We are now using our campus for more of the year meaning that we have freed up about 12 percent of our teaching space. This allows us to better accommodate our students and to schedule fewer early morning and evening lectures.”

Appointments, achievements

Belinda MacGill and Karen Sinclair (both Uni SA) are awarded the Menzies Australia Institute’ 2019 Aboriginal and Contemporary Australian Studies Fellowships. The fellowships are based at Kings College London. Dr McGill will focus on how colonisation shapes Australian understanding of visual art.  Dr Sinclair will work with students to, “collaboratively broaden understanding” of Aboriginal research methodologies and constructions of knowledge.

Monash U’s Centre for Scholarship in Health Education reports deputy director Claire Palermo is now a fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia.

Dr Kate Brooks joins MTP Connect as director, WA stakeholder engagement. Dr Brooks joins from WesFarmers where she is innovation manager for Wesfarmers Chemicals. MTP Connect is the federal government’s Industry Growth Centre for med tech and pharma.

Trade publication, Lawyers Weekly names UNSW’s Justine Nolan, academic of the year. Michael Jefferies from the University of the Sunshine Coast is law student of the year.