Mixed messages

There’s an auto-served advertisement above yesterday’s story in The Age on the La Trobe U job cuts. It’s for an LT U MBA and copy reads – “lead sustainable change.”  Great timing.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Kirsty Abbott and Amanda-Jane George (both CQU) explain what’s in the government’s new patent box for university researchers. Perhaps not a lot, ‘The general conclusion from existing research,” they warn, “is that similar schemes often do not achieve their desired effects of encouraging innovation or local research and development,” they suggest.

Plus, James Guthrie (Macquarie U) crunches the numbers on Uni Wollongong’s tough 2020 – a financial loss and jobs gone.

And, Matt Bower (Macquarie U) and Penny Van Bergen warn the Federal Government has abandoned innovation in learning and teaching.

Major marketplace for micro quals

The ever-innovative Universities Admission Centre (in NSW) announces it has federal funding to build a microcredentials marketplace

This sounds like not an especially big-deal, albeit a complex one to build and maintain – if it is a comparison site for HE provider short-courses. But it will be more complicated if it includes courses from ASQA accredited private providers. And if there is room for corporates offering training and certification, Cisco, Google, Amazon et al, it would be less marketplace, more mega-mall.

Whatever, if Australia is to avoid accreditation anarchy, with no national system of recognition of all certifications this has to happen.

UAC has $2.12m from the feds over three years, which would be a bargain price for an enormous project. Still if any organisations can UAC can. It has just announced a Uni Victoria pilot of programme to manage recognition of prior learning in university applications, which would be complicated indeed.

UAC is way beyond explaining the ATAR.

Cities of (southern) Light

U Tas has a case of the haussmanns

Uni Tasmania has commissioned a $6.8m urban redesign at the Inveresk campus in Launceston. It will be nice for sacked Australian Maritime College professors with time to stroll over from Newnham and sit in the new community garden (CMM July 13) and  (Launceston) Examiner, July 12)

The university also has plans to remake its now main campus at Sandy Bay in Hobart as well as to spend $500m in the CBD, “to blend university and city life,” CMM May 18).

“Since when,” a learned reader asks, “did urban design become core university business?”


VC sets out new La Trobe U structure

It replaces one from seven years back

La Trobe U revenue will be down $165m on 2019 income by 2022 and “may not reach” the ’19 figure until 2028, Vice Chancellor John Dewar told staff yesterday.

But the university has a proposal – and it goes way beyond cutting costs.

Core changes include,

* abolishing the two colleges (created in the 2014 restructure) with the ten schools reporting to a provost

* abolishing the School of Molecular Science with its three departments reallocated

* “staffing levels across all schools aligned to teaching and research engagements

* centralising of student administration and engagement, learning/teaching support and industry engagement

* schools to be led by deans, with three associate dean positions.

They have been here before

In 2014, a previous Dewar restructure removed 350 jobs, created the two colleges, now to go and reduced then 15 schools to 11. The savings target then was $65m (CMM June 24 2014).

This led to an almighty brawl with the National Tertiary Education Union, which fought the proposal long and hard and then for a change, hard and long. Five months after the announcement the matter was still in the legal system (CMM November 21 and 24 2014) but in the end the restructure happened.

What happens now

While there will be new jobs under the proposed plan, LT U is already on the record that 200 FTE mainly professional staff positions (positions, not people) will go. Staff in scope will be able to apply for the new jobs they qualify for- which may, or may not, be at present pay grades – it looks to some like a (by many) despised spill and fill.

People who know their HEIMS from their HESA

The HE policy deep state convened in Carlton the other night

Labor senator Kim Carr was there, plus his former upper house colleague Trish Crossin. So was wonk of the wonks Andrew Norton, and a pair of former presidents of the national postgraduate association, and education union policy veterans. They were there to celebrate QUT government relations director John Byron’s new thriller. No. it is not about a plot against the Higher Education Threshold Standards.

Appointments, achievements

Rosalind Archer is in-coming head of Engineering and Built Environment at Griffith U.  She moves from Uni Auckland and will start in December.

Peter Bellwood (emeritus professor, ANU) receives the 40 million Yen (A$485 000) 2021 International Cosmos Prize, from Japan’s Expo90 Foundation. The award is for research that contributes to understanding harmonious relationships between nature and humanity.

Lisa Farrar is confirmed as Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute.

Consultants Nous report two appointments. Barbara Messerle (ex Uni Sydney provost and Macquarie U science dean) joins as a senior adviser. International ed expert at ANU and in the federal department, Anne Baly becomes a principal.

At Charles Darwin U, Ian Wronski becomes the inaugural DVC for Northern Australia Medical and Health Development. He moves from James Cook U.