Kicking on to 2050

The word cup of robot soccer starts today in Sydney

There are 170 teams and 1200 participants, presumably human, from universities and research institutes in 30 countries.

They are competing in a tournament first played in 1997. The founders started with a goal – that a robot team will beat the human world cup winners by 2050.

By when the hacks covering the story will probably be AI.

Union intervenes in Charles Darwin U restructures

There are multiple change proposals from management

Rumours are especially rife about one in nursing and midwifery – where staff and students wonder what will happen.

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union told members last night that it had already met with members in three colleges, with two more to come and has now lodged an enterprise agreement dispute over the way the university is consulting and introducing change. There is a meeting with management this afternoon and until the dispute is resolved members should sit tight.

UWA academics debate a welcome for Ramsay Western Civ Centre

The Ramsay Western Civ Centre is talking to St George’s, “the premier residential college” at the University of Western Australia

UWA has been informed that St George’s College and The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation are in very early discussions about the possibility of St George’s hosting a summer school on the influences and impact of western civilisations, particularly in relation to Western Australia,” a UWA representative told CMM yesterday.

“St George’s has floated the idea of a partnership with UWA, and the chair of the university’s Academic Board arranged a meeting last night to discuss the matter. As this proposal is still in its early stages, there are no details of how such a course might be administered.”

Academic Board chair is finance professor Raymond da Silva Rosa.

Professor da Silva Rosa tells CMM he has “instigated” a series of “collegial conversations for board members” and “other UWA stakeholders”. The first of them was on Tuesday night and discussed the possibility of a summer school to be jointly run by St George’s and the Ramsay Centre. Professor da Silva Rosa points out that the college is free to run such an event independently but is interested in exploring potential engagement with the wider university.

“There was a lively discussion for two hours,” on Tuesday, with “vigorous engagement in the debate from the several students who also attended,” Professor da Silva Rossa adds.

Which is where the matter stands, for now. “The aim is to have a conversation that might lead to a decision or resolution debated at a future formal meeting of Academic Board,” Professor da Siva Rossa told board members in his invitation.

The possibility of which appears to be noted by the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union. “The (Ramsay) Centre’s ideological premise conflicts with the principle of independent critical inquiry at the heart of our universities,” branch president Sanna Peden says.

UWA’s chancellor is Robert French, author of the report on campus free speech which includes a model code covering visitors to campus, now being discussed at universities across the country.

Charles Sturt U’s brand new brand

Charles Sturt U has a new agency working on a new brand campaign for the 2020 recruitment season

The agency is BWM Dentsu, the campaign will build on the university’s new, “creating a world worth living in” position.

The university’s rebranding budget is $6.m, total marketing comms spend in 2018 was $6.4m.

UNSW on the Keypath

The university announces its first two programmes, “designed in partnership” with Keypath Education, a master of analytics and a master of data science

The US company claims “expertise in immersive online education experiences” and works with five other Australian universities.

While UNSW academics will design and teach the courses, Keypath handles the product research, student recruitment and support, “giving students a cohesive and consistent UNSW experience.”

This could be the start of something big. Last year UNSW said it would have over 600 blended delivery courses in five years, (although how many were to be Keypath partnered was not mentioned). The university has already created a new Moodle LMS theme for on-line courses, “a unified view to guide them through study.” And VC Ian Jacobs suggests more off-campus courses, “there is a mismatch between where the need and demand for higher education is globally, and where the expertise resides.”  UNSW is now offering MOOCs, via Future Learn, in India, through private provider Amity U (CMM June 18).

New Zealand exits Square Kilometre Array

The NZ Government announced it will not stay-on for the build of the world’s largest radio telescope

SKA will consist of thousands of receiving dishes in South Africa and 130 000 antennas, over 65km of remote WA – it is a very big deal indeed in astronomy with prospects of transforming knowledge of the universe.

But this does not convince the Kiwis who have had enough

“New Zealand originally joined this phase to support and develop our software industry through engaging with one the world’s largest science projects.  As a result of our participation, several of New Zealand’s universities and ICT companies have significantly developed their capability in dealing with ‘big data’, and these advances are already being applied to pursuing other commercial opportunities,” the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment stated yesterday.

International students not here to stay

Its course quality not migration that matters most

Migration expert Henry Sherrell has just left the Parliamentary Library to set up on his own – his final paper for the Library, with Hazel Ferguson, sets out the significance of international students to universities.

Between 2010 and 2017 overseas student revenue increased from 18 per cent of total uni revenue to 23 per cent, but it’s the share of revenue growth they provide which demonstrates how much they matter – from 28 per cent to 64 per cent over those years.

This makes it a market worth maintaining – which is, he explains, up to the unis ,which get no significant help from migration policy.

It’s a myth that “the median overseas student” is “motivated by permanent residency,” Mr Sherrell writes.

Some 16 per cent of all overseas students transitioned to permanent residency between 2001-14. “People can infer whatever they want from this but to me, it feels like Australian universities are responsible for both the successes and failures when it comes to attracting overseas students. Changes in visa policy are probably only responsible for very marginal effects.”


Jason Bainbridge is announced as executive dean of the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts and Design. He has most recently been at Swinburne U and he University of South Australia.