Another scam targeting students

ANU international students are being threatened by scammers pretending to be government officials and threatening arrest and deportation unless they pay up

It’s part of a con targeting universities across Australia and overseas.

In a message to Internationals DVC Sally Wheeler tells them to hang up and call the cops.

“I want to reassure the community that you can trust ANU staff and Australian authorities when you report these types of incidents.” She diplomatically does not add an  “unlike in ….” reference to some students home countries

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

“The pandemic provided the opportunity to develop new, innovative and inclusive on-line work integrated learning experiences”– the Australian Collaborative Education Network sets the scene for a series in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s “Needed now in learning and teaching”

plus Ginny Barbour (Open Access Australasia) on the White House’s big move on research open access. It’s a global game-changer, she explains.


The QILT results are out. Sarah Crossing and Jack Goodman from Studiosity discuss what they reveal for learner engagement (it goes down, cheating goes up), friction between teaching and research rankings and why international students are way less happy than locals. A stand-out discussion on the most important student opinion measure of the year, (Expert Opinion ep 12  HERE.)

plus: Sven Rogge (Australian Institute of Physics) on the ARC and pre-prints, research translation and why medicine so much money, (Expert Opinion ep, 11 HERE).

Chancellors should impose VC pay code

In Features this morning James Guthrie (emeritus professor, Macquarie U) argues the University Chancellors Council should impose its now voluntary VC and senior staff remuneration code.

“In examining the public university annual reports for 2021, there are no disclosures per the voluntary code,” Professor Guthrie writes.

“If universities are indeed publicly owned and operate in the public interest, then greater transparency and accountability about vice-chancellors’ salaries are necessary.”

Professor Guthrie also updates his report on VC pay, from information in university annual reports and financial statements.

No deal at Australian Catholic U

Union members have upped the ante on enterprise bargaining negotiations

The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union is applying to the Fair Work Commission for a protected ballot on taking industrial action.

This follows a broad-offer  by management for the unions (NTEU and CPSU) to reach a Heads of Agreement on big issues and then hammer out details. That proposal included a breakthrough in employment for academic casuals, a commitment to creating 85 continuing jobs (CMM August 19)

However, the NTEU response is nothing doing. ACU branch president Leah Kaufmann points to “a range of issues” where management’s offer, “falls short or is silent,” including various forms of leave and flexible working arrangements, which “will set up inconsistencies between staff whose supervisors are happy with them to work from home, and those staff whose supervisors are not, without any proper justification.”

But the big one is bucks. Dr Kaufmann says management’s most recent pay offer is short of the June quarter CPI which annualises inflation at 6.1 per cent.

Last week Chief Operating Officer Stephen Weller told staff, “ACU management cannot in good conscience agree to provisions which will constrain us from operating effectively and sustainably.”

Observers suggest management will continue to sit tight, calling on the union to continue to negotiate and making it clear no upped offer is imminent.

Delivering more nurses

The Victorian Government will fund nursing and midwifery UG study for 10 000 students, plus scholarships up to $16 500

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the policy Sunday. There are also $10 000 – $12 0000 scholarships for nurses to upskill. Presumably there will also be funding for enough student placements.

The programme appears to build on a May announcement, where the state government committed to provide $25 000 to diploma qualified childcare teachers doing a degree in field at Victoria U, (CMM May 18).

VET in spotlight, unis in shade

Higher education groups are keen to be covered by the government’s new Jobs and Skills Australia agency – very wise, they will need to be where the action is

In a major statement of support for a national focus on training, the peak union council and major business groups have called for VET to be “a core part of our workforce development strategy and properly integrated into our overall tertiary education and training system.”

Ahead of the government’s Jobs and Skills summit, the ACTU, with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group and Business Council of Australia state, “VET is at the foundation of our broader skills system and needs to be a core part of our workforce development strategy and properly integrated into our overall tertiary education and training system.”

They call for apprenticeships and “other on-the-job training, to be “reinvigorated, expanded, adapted and supported to meet workforce needs now and into the future, including in digital skills.”

They also urge “a real and sustained funding increase” for VET and apprenticeships and traineeships, a life-long learning strategy, including digital skills and they join the chorus of acclamation for JSA to be established.

Universities are not mentioned.

Uni Tas big CBD sell

Chancellor Alison Watkins is fronting a multi-media campaign for the move into town

The campaign will roll in print, broadcast and social media. “Say yes to the Uni city move – let’s make Hobart an even better place to live, learn and work,” is the pitch.

The long-controversial plan involves the university selling off much of its suburban Sandy Bay campus and moving into flash new digs across the city-centre.

In a message to staff, Chancellor Watkins urges them to back the move, which, “will deliver contemporary facilities, improve access to higher education for Tasmanians, unify our southern campus, help secure the university’s financial future and provide significant benefits to the Hobart CBD.”

However opponents, including Sandy Bay residents, city businesses and university staff respond that the way things are now works and should remain.

After years of dispute university management looked to have finally won sufficient support, until May when Hobart City Council called on the university to consult some more.

An 80-member community panel will consider the plan through to year end (umpteen CMM stories but July 15 2022 sets the context).

Brisbane battles in enterprise bargaining

“Everyone is still ‘doing more with less’. All three universities are posting surpluses and building war chests while staff are feeling overworked and unrewarded” says National Tertiary Education Union’s Michael McNally

At Griffith U, National Tertiary Education Union members are voting through until today week on taking industrial action.

At QUT, the Fair Work Commission has approved a vote (to occur next week).

And Uni Queensland  NTEU members have voted, as per the Fair Work Act, to take industrial action.

The claims at all three involve, “ secure work, reasonable workloads and a decent pay rise,” Mr McNally says.

Biden Admin directs immediate open access to research

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced two major policy changes, Friday

ending the 12-month optional embargo on federally funded peer reviewed research articles  “This provision has limited immediate equitable access of federally funded research results to only those able to pay for it or have privileged access through libraries or other institutions. Financial means and privileged access must never be the pre-requisite to realizing the benefits of federally funded research that all Americans deserve”

data in peer reviewed research to be immediately available on publication (with privacy/security protections)

“Providing the data that support findings in scientific papers improves transparency and the ability of others to replicate, and build on, the primary research findings.  Public access to federally funded research data also helps to level the playing field across a highly uneven funding landscape between academic disciplines – providing possibilities to scholars, students, and the public for secondary use of data that would otherwise be unavailable.”

the policies are supported by, “support for more vulnerable members of the research ecosystem unable to pay rising costs associated with publishing open access articles”

and researchers including publication and research data costs in budget proposals.

reaction For-profit journal giant Elsevier responded that it, “welcomes collaborative approach and acknowledgement of publishers value but warns the work isn’t done yet as ‘the devil is in the details’ “

what it all means: Ginny Barbour (Open Access Australasia) explains in Features, this morning.

Appointments, achievements

Dane McCamey is appointed UNSW PVC Research for 12 months, from October. He is now a deputy dean in the university’s science faculty. The appointment follows former PVC R Sven Rogge becoming UNSW’s dean of science. The university will recruit a permanent replacement.

Kristy Muir is confirmed as CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, she has acted since Glyn Davis moved to head Prime Minister and Cabinet after the election. This is the Ramsay Foundation that funds projects to “break cycles of disadvantage” (not the one keen on the teaching of western civ). Before the Foundation Professor Muir led the Centre for Social Impact, a collaboration of Flinders U, Swinburne U, UNSW and UWA.

Colin Taylor joins Uni SA in the new position of Chief Advancement Officer. He moves from consultancy Global Philanthropic, prior to which he headed advancement at ANU.

Clare Wright (La Trobe U) is a member of the advisory group on a new Commonwealth cultural policy.