Headline of the month

Yes, it is only early October but, “Unlocking the potential of the lentil” will be hard to beat. Props for Charles Sturt U for the big news.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning, David Myton looks at new guidelines aimed at boosting engagement between student researchers and industry

Recognition for VU’s new teaching model

Victoria U has won this year’s innovation award from the International Education Association of Australia. The acknowledgement is for its widely-observed first year college and block teaching model.

The new teaching structure was originally designed to assist people new to study, completing one unit at a time, with support from teaching-specialists, rather than taking semester long subjects. Introduced this year, the university now plans to roll-out block teaching for all UG years and PG course work programmes in 2020 (CMM May 30)

“The model has significant benefits for international students by fostering inclusion and a deeper sense of belonging from the moment they begin their VU journey,” the IEAA says.

This is important recognition for the VU model. Teaching and learning leaders at universities across the country are watching to see whether it works, and if so how long they will have to wait before adopting and adapting it.

On-line growth under QUT control says VC  

There is disquiet at QUT among staff whose courses may become part of the JV with Online Education Services, ( CMM September 14).  Staff are said to worry about design work to take courses online being outsourced and what this might mean for standards.

However QUT VC Margaret Sheil says, “QUT’s move to on-line courses is about growing our market and building capability rapidly and at scale, and not about outsourcing.  Over 300 staff have attended fora on QUT Online.  Concerns have been confined to a small group.”

Big tick for new Colombo Plan

The Abbott Government’s New Colombo Plan and predecessor schemes from the Rudd and Gillard governments have “potential to offer enormous benefits to Australian students, universities and communities,” according to new research for the International Education Association of Australia by Ly Thi Tran and Mark Rahimi from Deakin U.

The international study and internships scheme, “embraces the government’s commitment for young Australians to be exposed to, enrich their understandings of, and learn from IndoPacific neighbours,” they write.

The authors cite NCP achievements including;

* it has “significantly diversified student mobility options for Australian universities”

* has “broadened destination options for Australian students to the Indo-Pacific, a region critical to Australia’s economic and political development”

* it “plays a crucial role in strengthening Australia’s position in the region through people-to-people, university-to-university, university-to-enterprise and government-to-government connections”

* contributes “to diversifying, enriching and reinforcing Australian universities’ partnerships with universities and organisations in the Indo-Pacific”

However, Tran and Rahimi say the NCP needs to improve access for disadvantaged students and  “develop a more structured and coherent approach to learning abroad.”
Good-o, but even with the NCP expanding the number of Australian students off-shore, two of the five most popular destinations, the UK and Italy, hardly encourage understanding of the IndoPacific region. The US is number one, presumably NCP students go to its five Pacific-coast states.

Fun and games at UniNewcastle

A learned reader reports student engagement week activities in the University of Newcastle’s architecture and built environment school include a petting zoo and a jumping castle. They have to keep the professors happy somehow.

Bid for Navitas

In a big vote of confidence in the international education business,  Navitas founder Rod Jones wants to take the HE services provider private. He has joined with BGH Capital and Australian Superannuation in a bid for the company.  Aus Super now holds 5 per cent of Navitas and Mr Jones 12.5 per cent. The offer is  $5.50 cash per share, a 26 premium on the closing price before the offer was made, or a combination of cash and shares in a new company.  Navitas revenues were $930m in 2017-18, down from $955m and $1010m in the two preceding years. The Navitas Board says it is reviewing the bid.

Googling good

The Google Impact Challenge is looking to reward, “innovative ideas for change (that) are making an impact locally and globally.” There are two university projects among the ten short-listed. A Murdoch U team wants to use drones to track dugongs, to map marine ecosystems. People at the University of Sydney want to engage high school students in STEM through open-source drug discovery, (a 2016 pilot recreated a hugely priced proprietary drug for “just a few dollars”). Winning projects receive $1m each, with six runners-up scoring $250 000.  There is a people’s choice prize to vote for here.  No, you can’t google who won yet.

The price of free speech

Is $295. This is what Campus Review Weekly (which has no, none, nil connection to CMM) is charging for a day of presentations on free speech on campus.

Appointment, achievements

The proposed future battery Cooperative Research Centre has a CEO – Stedman Ellis, now WA COO of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. The bid is short-listed for Round 19 funding and Mr Ellis is clearly keen on winning. Bid participant Curtin U reports he leaves APPEA Friday and starts with the proposed CRC next Monday.

The International Education Association of Australia has announced its annual excellence awards, including; Gary Lee, City of Melbourne international student officer, David Riordan from the National Council for International Education, Anna Ciccarelli for career-long achievements, Amanda Muller (FlindersU), for a professional language development programme in nursing, Anton Crace, professional commentary, Daniel Toohey outstanding postgraduate thesis.