“Customers should have access to the information they need to make informed choices,” says Paul  Johnson

plus jobs to go at Sydney College of the Arts

and the pathways best travelled to university entry

As many as that!

UniMelb student mag Farrago sums up the Census, “Australian population 2011: 22,500,000. Australian population 2016: 50”

Thursday June 30

UWA opens up on the ATAR

In the lead-up to the university’s crucial Open Day on Sunday the University of Western Australia has announced it will publish details of Australian Tertiary Education Ranks. UWA will provide information by course, specifically median ATAR scores plus lower and upper quartiles as well as the percentage of students who were accepted to a course on the basis of their ranking. “Like any product or service, customers should have access to the information they need to make informed choices. In the case of higher education, we are providing a service in the form of education and our customers are our prospective students,” Vice Chancellor Paul Johnson says.

UWA’s move is in-line with the Group of Eight’s statement of principles on how the ATAR should be used CMM April 13. As a way of defending the ATAR, transparency is hard to beat.


Big deal for Uni Newcastle

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has accredited the University of Newcastle, following Curtin and Deakin, which were approved in April.

The AASCB accredits universities for business studies, and less commonly accounting. Some 14 Australian universities are accredited for business, with the University of Sydney holding the biz and accounting double.

HEPPP helps

Warren Bebbington has called on the government to reverse the budget move to cut funding for the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme. HEPPP is a more effective way of increasing university participation by people from disadvantaged backgrounds than demand driven funding, which has lifted enrolments by just 1.7 per cent, the University of Adelaide VC writes in a Group of Eight briefing. “The assumption was that simply removing enrolment limits in universities would draw in disadvantaged students. Clearly more than this is required to interest, prepare, attract and most importantly, retain the disadvantaged in a university,” he argues.

This is in-line with the Go8 position that demand driven funding has not improved equitable university access for capable students from low SES backgrounds and has diverted people better suited to training into higher education. And it certainly supports Professor Bebbington’s scepticism about making university entry easier. Thus he admires the ATAR, which “tells us a student can sit in a classroom for two years and do assessments satisfactorily. It’s a reasonable predictor of success at university,” (CMM January 21. Back in 2013 he and his fellow SA VCs also shut down bonus point schemes which could be gamed to increase students’ scores, supposedly to assist applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds qualify for university (CMM August 17 2015).

It is easy to suggest that a call for HEPP funding to continue is convenient cover for a push to restrict access to university. Easy, but wrong as Bebbington’s piece makes clear. His university uses a UK originated programme called Children’s University that brings 7-14 year olds onto campus. “Through this programme Adelaide is now reaching 4600 children a year from deprived schools in the state. The effect of a taste of university on their families, which range from Somalian refugees to third-generation welfare dependents who have never been near a university has been profound.” Yes, the programme is supported by HEPPP, but his policy point is much broader.


All that jazz

Kenneth Lampl has joined the ANU School of Music. The jazz sax player, composer (for 70 films) and teacher (including the Juliard) will work with students on composition, technology and audio engineering.

Drummer, composer and PhD student at the University of Sydney James McLean has won the  2016 Freedman Jazz Fellowship.

Healthy demand

Austrade reports “an aged care provider in Shanghai is seeking an Australian partner to deliver professional staff training programs in dementia care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.” This has got to be good news for TAFE and private providers looking to grow.

Preferred paths taken 

With open days on all over a learned reader wonders why universities appear to prefer TAFE courses in granting advanced standing. “The mechanics of the national training system mean that any Australian Qualification Framework award from any registered training organisation should be recognised by any higher education provider as equal to any other, whether for entry into a course and/or credit, but this is not always the case. … Those poor hapless people who have a qualification from a private RTO (good, bad or indifferent) may again be on the back foot.” This is not necessarily the result of reputational damage done to private sector training by the VET FEE HELP scandal, the reader suggests. It sure as hell didn’t help, CMM replies.

Not there yet

The University of Melbourne’s commitment “to preserve, defend and promote the traditional principles of academic freedom in the conduct of its affairs,” (CMM yesterday) does not go far enough, according to the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union. Yes, the union acknowledges, the university has dropped a clause that could restrict the right of scholars to speak out in the draft appropriate behaviours policy ( CMM August 1), out for consultation for another week. But the union says the right needs to be in the University Statute and enshrined in the next enterprise agreement.


Figures not in a landscape

The University of Sydney has announced job losses will accompany moving its Sydney College of the Arts from its present bayside location at Rozelle to the main campus. “The location of SCA at Rozelle is constraining choice and options for our students. The large Rozelle campus is not only costly to run, but flawed as a model for providing the best education to our SCA students,” VC Michael Spence said yesterday.

The news followed the failed attempt to pass the b to the University of New South Wales, abandoned after protests by staff plus past and present students (CMM July 29).

Dr Spence says there will now be changes to degrees and majors, although a new visual arts courses scheduled for 2018 will go ahead. But voluntary redundancies  “will be considered based on the staff expertise needed for the visual arts school on Camperdown campus and the transition phase.”

The university branch of the National Tertiary Education Union had already scheduled a protest over the move for next Thursday, which will now be bigger.

Ever optimistic

All five WA VCs appeared on a CEDA panel in Perth yesterday. Five of their NSW colleagues will show for one in Sydney today week. “With the Turnbull Government recently returned to office, and following a long period of policy malaise, higher education and potential policy reforms will again be in the spotlight,” the promotion for the Sydney meeting states. Optimists they are at the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia.


Simple stuff-up

No, yesterday’s email edition was not delayed by a denial of service attack; no CMM did not outsource sending to the Bureau of Stats. There was a tech fail that took a while to fix.