Colombian connection

Meet Australia’s leading universities in Bogota,” the universities of Sydney, Melbourne and UNSW suggest.  CMM had no idea that they, and apparently other less leading ones, had campuses in Colombia.

The trio are also touring, with recruiting events in Santiago on Saturday and Mexico City on November 11.

With ERA imminent every little report counts

Research offices are anxious they make the most of everything that could be covered by the Australian Research Council’s new engagement and impact metric metrics, which are supposed to roll out as part of Excellence for Research in Australia ‘18.

At Macquarie U business and economics staff are told to ensure their publication record includes “written research output” commissioned by government or industry, which rate as “non-traditional research outputs”.

Another engagement announcement

Engineering at the University of Sydney has created a new engagement role with robotics professor Salah Sukkarieh appointed associate dean industry and innovation.

Dawkins moves to keep the peace at Victoria U

Victoria U VC Peter Dawkins has assured all staff that union officials are not being-singled out for redundancy. And in a move intended to set the tone for enterprise bargaining he appears to have disavowed the Murdoch U strategy of cancelling the application of the soon to expire enterprise agreement.

Professor Dawkins repeated yesterday the university’s rejection of claims that staff members are targeted for redundancy because they are campus officials of the National Tertiary Education Union.

“These allegations are totally unfounded,” Professor Dawkins emailed staff.

The three officials involved “along with many other employees in our workforce, have been impacted by one of the current change programmes,” he said.

“It is important to acknowledge that they have been treated in exactly the same manner as all others affected by the various processes to position Victoria University as an open, excellent and financially sustainable university.”

The campus branch of the NTEU suggested in early October that branch president Paul Adams, secretary David Garland and vice president (professional staff) Stuart Martin are “targeted in the redundancy process” as enterprise bargaining begins. The university previously responded that the allegations are “completely false.” CMM October 17. However last week the VU union stood by its claim.

Yesterday Professor Dawkins also outlined management’s bargaining approach for an enterprise agreement to replace the existing one, which expires on December 31. Lorraine Ling leads a team consulting with staff and reporting to the VC, DVC Rhonda Hawkins and people and culture head Shaun Eltham.

Professor Dawkins also assured staff that the university will not seek to cancel conditions under the old agreement if a new deal is not done before it expires. “As is standard practice, the existing agreement will continue to operate after its expiry date, until it is replaced by a new agreement,” he said.

This is a direct rejection of the strategy used by Murdoch U, which convinced the Fair Work Commission to cancel the application of wages and conditions under an expired agreement, giving Murdoch management the capacity to bargain for worse pay and conditions than previously existed. While Murdoch U used its parlous financial position to convince the FWC, Professor Dawkins is apparently indicating that despite VU’s similar circumstances he will leave existing arrangements intact until a new agreement is reached.

Time for teached ed to improve

Deans of Education got off lightly in the Productivity Commission’s five-year review last week, at least compared to university managements which got a stiff talking-to. The PC pointed to commonwealth and state government efforts to lift the quality of teachers but largely left teacher-education alone, for now. “It is critical that efforts by governments to improve teacher quality continue to be monitored and rigorously assessed for outcomes, the PC advised. But deans be warned; “tangible outcomes could be assessed in the next five years, possibly in the next Productivity Review.” You have five years.

Halloween horrors: culture war lost sugar struggle continues

Halloween used to be denounced as a US imposition of crass consumerism. But it seems that battle is lost, with Paul Harrison from the Deakin U business school saying Halloween is “simply yet another example of our country adopting an imported cultural ritual.” It’s all-good, as long as it does not become commercialised to the extent that low-income families feel excluded.

The Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA at Curtin U now sees Halloween in terms of damage, specifically sugar, control. “ Indulging in a treat every now and then is ok, but consider the stash your kids will bring home after trick or treating.”

Next steps for UTS union

The National Tertiary Education Union at UTS is asking members if they want to up enterprise bargaining pressure. Members will meet today to consider marking bans and protests at the university prospective student information day on December 16. Union members went out for 24 hours a fortnight ago. There are just two each bargaining meetings for academic and professional staff scheduled for the rest of the year.

The union’s log of claims reflects NTEU national agenda but is there a local emphasis on improved conditions for casual staff. According to the union 75 per cent of the university’s workforce are variously casuals or on fixed-term contracts.

The comrades at UTS still hold the best slogan of the EB round, “there’s no UTS without US.”

Two-way trade

Labor’s Jason Clare says that in government the party will “pursue an agreement” with China to establish six-month internships there, “to help build the Asian business capability of young Australian professionals.” Trade spokesman Clare says the French have had a reciprocal internship deal for two years. Good idea, one that universities would monetise into masters degrees, within weeks of a Labor win.

For global students think international, go Gloca

Graduate employment is the emerging image-issue for universities. Rebekha Sharkie pointed to it when announcing the Nick Xenophon Team would block the government’s higher education package. Astute universities are throwing resources at teaching employment skills, internships and placement programme. And extra effort is essential to help international students, who really do make an investment in education they need to pay a dividend. Which makes the case for going Glocal.

The Innovative Research Universities excellent case studies  resource National Innovation Case Study Collection provides a Flinders University report on Glocal, created at Malmo University in Sweden. “International programs face challenges in providing affordable work-placements that can effectively develop students’ soft skills and life experience, as well as foster global employability skill sets appropriate to students’ intended careers in an international context,”

Malmo, partnering with Swinburne University, created a six-hour simulation replicating an international workplace where teams of students “collaborate across digital domains, challenging online and on-campus students to grapple with digital communication technologies and time differences while maintaining active collaboration.”