Rathjen resigns from Uni Adelaide

Chancellor Catherine Branson yesterday announced the vice chancellor’s departure, due to ill-health

Peter Rathjen has been on indefinite-leave since early May.

South Australia’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption,Bruce Lander stated then (May 7) he had, “commenced an investigation in respect of allegations of improper conduct by the vice chancellor of the University of Adelaide. I am also investigating the manner in which the university dealt with those allegations.”

Mr Lander added, “my investigation is in respect of potential issues of serious or systemic misconduct and maladministration, not corruption,” (the emphasis is Mr Landers).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

 Fernando Padró, Megan Yih Chyn A. Kek and Henk Huijser  on supporting students as consumers and learners. It’s this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift, in her series, needed on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Michael Baron argues unis need to keep industry practitioners in the classroom.

Merlin Crossley explains why researchers should stick to their knitting. “The grand challenges facing our world today are so complex that they will only be solved if academics work with people across society to translate new knowledge and implement solutions!”

Vin Massaro critically considers the report underpinning the new UG funding rates. “That such major and far-reaching decisions should have been made on such a narrow information base raises serious concerns about their sustainability.”

Working with what they’ve got in international ed

No faulting the optimism of SA international education booster Study Adelaide

It is running a social media campaign suggesting international students move there, “for a lower cost of living.”

Adelaide offers the perfect balance of learning and lifestyle in one of the world’s most liveable cities.”

With many courses in Adelaide resuming face-to-face learning on campus, experience the Australian education you came for.”

Good-o, although while small group classes are resuming, lectures are on-line at Uni Adelaide, (“with exceptions in very few cases”), at Uni SA and at Flinders U.  Torrens U is “focused on a blended on-line mode”.

And one of the two big markets isn’t available – even if the Victorian Government would let people out of Melbourne the SA Government will not let them into Adelaide.

As for students flying into Adelaide from overseas, the proposed pilot is off (CMM July 8).

And Charles Sturt U is discounting places for on-shore internationals

The university offers a 30 per cent fee cut for international applicants, “studying in internal mode” to start in July and next February.  Plus the cost of living in regional NSW will likely be way-lower than Adelaide.

Future-proofing Australia’s post pandemic student sell

The Commonwealth is making Australia attractive for international students for when things open up

Initiatives in yesterday’s announcement by Education Minister Dan Tehan and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge include;

* no charge for international students who need a further visa because COVID-19 prevented them completing studies

*  people with visas studying on-line outside Australia can count that towards requirements for a post-completion work visa

* additional time to submit English language test results

* visas will start being issued off-shore, (CMM, June 1 2020) believes this started some weeks back

“We have been guided by the principles that the health of Australians is key, but that international students should not be further disadvantaged by COVID-19,” the ministers state.

Which explains exactly what ministers can do. For all the warnings that the industry could disappear, no government is going to risk a spike in COVID-19 being attributed to international education arrivals.

And the industry appears to accept it – response across the sector yesterday was uniformly positive.

Eyes on Adelaide, beckoning Burnie

Angry about the Tehan package write a (specific) senator … 

The message from the National Tertiary Education Union is “fund university fairly: no hikes, no cuts” and it is set out in a template message for people to send senators, who will vote on the Tehan undergraduate funding model.

“We don’t want to go down the American road where only a few can get into university and the rest of us are saddled with a lifetime of debt. Dan Tehan’s package is a funding cut, a fee hike and will have unintended consequences for our universities and our community,” is the core of the campaign.

It’s the same approach, albeit without the pizazz of the “$100 000 degrees,” the union used so successfully against the Christopher Pyne deregulation package. But it is way snappier than the “education for all – stop fee hikes,” the union started with when Mr Tehan announced his plan, (CMM June 23).

The new message comes in versions for South Australia, Tasmania and the rest of the country. That’s because defeating the legislation will require Labor, the Greens, plus both three others. Given there is no Queensland version of the message it appears the union does not think Queenslander senators, Pauline Hanson and colleague Malcolm Roberts are likely to agree with the union.

And so Jacqui Lambie (Tasmania) and the two Centre Alliance senators, South Australians Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff, are less best than only bets. Senator Griff said last month he was “absolutely sure there will have to be a Senate inquiry on the pros and cons of what has been proposed” (CMM June 25).

Healthy growth in short courses

RMIT and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, plus partners, announce three on-line units in digital health

The six-week programmes are in technology enabled care, healthcare design and digital health strategy, prices range from $990 to $1660. The CRC is sponsoring 70 places.

It’s part of a pile-on in health and medicine short courses. In April Uni Melbourne announced a range of free COVID-19 short courses for clinicians (CMM April 6 and 28).

Murdoch U adjusts academics’ workloads

Staff wonder what the new (really new) teaching and research time allocations are

In May management told academics they would have to do way more teaching, up to 80 per cent of their time, at the expense of research due to the “significant financial pressure” the university faces. “Everyone is expected to make a significant contribution,” management stated (CMM May 6).

How this would work in terms of the income and publication targets set last year for research-active staff (CMM October 4) was not clear to all staff then. Still isn’t.

Grant O’Neill, PVC for arts, business, law and social sciences tells staff that those who had a research workload hour allocation in the first half of the year will now receive 45 per cent of what they would originally have received for July-December. The full earned research workload for June is reinstated.

This will “impact overall workloads for the remainder of 2020” Professor O’Neill says and will “change casual staff utilisation.”  Tough  for staff who scaled back on research in June and wonder if they will now have to catch-up and concerning for those who want to know what, if any, per centage of the October research targets are back in place.  And possibly confusing for staff who took on extra teaching commitments, starting next week.

There are discipline meetings in the next few days, where undoubtedly all will be made clear.