Plus the NTEU’s jolly-ish jeremiad

Tassie Tardis

‘Visitors to Agfest will be able to travel through space and time when they visit the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture’s display this week,” the TIA announced yesterday. But where will visitors go, and will they come back?

Bradley backs her judgement

As a former VC of the University of South Australia and the intellectual architect of demand driven funding it is hard to imagine anybody with a better sense of trends in higher education delivery than Denise Bradley. So CMM was interested to come across a report to the ASX showing she had bought 2300 SEEK shares late last year. Professor Bradley is a director of the online education and employment site and the purchases took her holding to 7 500 shares, worth $121 000 at yesterday’s price.


Jolly-ish jeremiad

The National Tertiary Education Union has issued its budget predictions and from the comrades’ perspective the news is not too bad.

“We think that the minister will avoid the very significant mistakes he made with last year’s budget and not risk announcing any other major policy change (such as Professor Chapman’s proposed tax on fee increases) without extensive modelling and broad sector support and therefore do not think this will be part of this year’s budget,” the union predicts.

But there will still be wickedness, with research programme cuts that do not have to pass parliament, to fund the promised extension of NCRIS – but as the union demonstrates, doing this would involve substantial reductions.

While the NTEU is ever-gracious there is a sense in their predictions that deregulation is defeated.

Meaning impossible

The University of Western Australia has what is called “a new branding logo”. It’s the existing crest, but with the black swan’s legs amputated, plus the words, “pursue impossible.” An admission of defeat, a recognition that not even UWA can accomplish the unachievable? I doubt it, it’s probably just the blather that universities think says positive things about them. Yesterday the university was selling merchandise in the new livery “at wholesale price”! That’s what one needs, a legless swan logo on a cap. And yes, there is a TV campaign coming.  Cue spy-movie music.

TAFE budget boost

The Victorian Government is not waiting for the report of its VET funding review to demonstrate its commitment to TAFE. Yesterday’s budget promised $300m “to rebuild Victoria’s struggling TAFE and training system, “so all Victorians can get the skills they need to get the jobs they want.” There is $100m for capital works and $200m over four years “supporting TAFEs to deliver additional services that benefit the community.” The detail is a little dark, but what is in the spotlight is the government’s distaste for the previous free market model (created by the last Labor government), which was gamed by private voced providers. The government  announced a Victorian Skills Commissioner, who will, “focus on better meeting the skills needs of the Victorian economy.”

The budget also allocated $2m towards constructing a case for a proton beam cancer therapy facility. The grant is for the University of Melbourne and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

ANU new 3

Poetic heroism

Entries close at month’s end for the second annual University of Canberra poetry prize. There is a $20 entry fee but a $15 000 first prize makes that an excellent return on investment. But what to write? An epic poem about a valiant vice chancellor, somebody like UoC‘s Stephen Parker, standing firm against the deregulatory hordes has to be a good idea – but only if it can be done in the maximum 50 lines.

Healthy growth at ACU

There is now no prospect of ACU nursing students having to do compulsory pracs offshore, including Uganda (CMM last week), unless they want to. The university advised last night that all students who need to spend time on hospital wards to pass subjects will be offered Australian placements in the relevant semester. So well done ACU for getting everybody a spot, given the way its overall health enrolments have grown. Department of Education and Training figures show that back in 2003 the university had 2285 health (domestic and international) students. Ten years on it was 9 170. Enrolments increased by 24 per cent between 2011 and 2013.

Sporting chance

Back in March CMM reported that UTS is establishing a sports science facility at Moore Park, in the Sydney Cricket GroundSydney Football Stadium precinct. It all sounded a bit rushed, but our announcement analyser was in for service so we did not investigate. We should have – it seems there is an enormous blue over where major new sport facilities should be built, there or at Olympic Park, aways out west. Doubtless UTS will deliver excellent teaching and research in  the shadow of the SCG, but with the state government yet to decide where development money will go we are yet to discover if the announcement helped the cricket ground cause.

Sooner rather than later

They do not muck around at Macquarie U when it is time to replace people. When Dean of Human Sciences Janet Greeley announced she was off, “new adventures call,” a couple of months back her job was advertised within days, with applications closing after a bare three weeks (CMM February 18). And now an appointment is announced, Simon Handley, present head of psychology plus associate dean, at the University of Plymouth. He will start work “later in the year” which on Macquarie time probably does not mean December.