University freedom depends on independent funding
Financial risks of key universities in international student markets
Research funding crisis: imminent and enormous
But wait there’s more from Coventry and Deakin U!
The two combine to offer a grad cert in entrepreneurship
“Designed by two world-class universities, this degree will challenge the way you think and approach entrepreneurship, enterprise, innovation, and leadership,” Coursera blurbs the on-line programme.
Plus, “pay for one unit of study and receive the second unit of study for free.” A case of practise what you teach.
There’s more in the Mail
In Features this morning
Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the leaderless life of the lab head, “many researchers are well-informed about everyone on the grant committees and their priorities, but are ignorant of the name of their dean or vice-chancellor.”
Gary Carnegie (RMIT) and James Guthrie (Macquarie U) read Queensland uni annual reports. Uni Queensland saw COVID-19 coming but state’s other unis not so much.
Darci Taylor (Deakin U) tips a hat to uni teachers who are meeting the on-line challenge. This week’s story in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what’s needed now in teaching and learning.
How Flinders U uses Microsoft platforms to keep its community informed on COVID-19 @ https://bit.ly/2Tja1uH
Griffith U says no to cuts for jobs accord
The university will negotiate savings with the local union
Griffith U will not participate in the accord to protect jobs by temporarily cutting wages and conditions negotiated by the NTEU and four vice chancellors.
Vice Chancellor Carolyn Evan’s considered and courteous message to staff yesterday thanked the authors of the accord for their work, but stated, “it it is not best suited to Griffith’s situation.”
The vice chancellor said “very few” of the proposed cuts to wages and conditions proposed, were “relevant to Griffith U’s circumstances,” and would only apply to mid 2021, before the university’s anticipated greatest need. The “delegation of power” to a national panel, included in the arrangement,” would be incongruent with the role of council,” she added.
However, Professor Evans warned the university faces significant losses, $100m this year, and next year “is likely to be worse.”
And so, “we may need to consider a simple variation to our enterprise agreement to be able to determine a sustainable response to the ongoing financial impact of COVID-19 and to protect jobs.”
Professor Evans committed to working within the university’s existing industrial framework. “Any change to our enterprise agreement would still require full consultation and for the majority of university staff to accept it. We intend to continue to consult with staff and work with union representatives to develop an appropriate response for Griffith U.”
Virus puts STEM women careers at risk
Women are under-represented in STEM research. COVID-19 will reduce their opportunities
Jobs for women in professional, scientific and technical services were down 6.3 per cent in the month from mid-March, according to ABS numbers. This was way worse than for blokes (4.8 per cent) and the outcome for women in STEM will deteriorate, according to research by lead-author Emma Johnston (UNSW) and colleagues, in a report for Industry, Science and Technology Minister, Karen Andrews.
“The pandemic appears to be compounding pre-existing gender disparity; women are under-represented across the STEM workforce, and weighted in roles that are typically less senior and less secure, the report for the multi-agency Rapid Response Multi Agency Forum warns. The report points to the prevalence of casual employment for women in university STEM employment –64 per cent in maths.
It also suggests that women working from home will take-up more family-care and more of the tasks for on-line teaching preparation at work. If so, this will reduce research-time, leading to lower publication rates, which drive funding applications and in the longer term, promotions.
“A reduction in the quality or quantity of women’s research publications is likely to harm job and funding prospects now and for years to come,” the report states.
Union delays member vote
The National Tertiary Education Union was planning to put the heads of agreement on the proposed wage cuts for jobs accord to all members in a national ballot Monday. It isn’t happening
Word is the text is not ready and the plan is for members to have time to consider the proposal before they vote. There is talk of a vote at the end of next week.
NTEU critics of the deal have always said all members should have time to consider the pros and cons of the proposal before they vote, but this delay does not appear to be a concession by the leadership. Observers suggest the executive has the support of 80 per cent of the union’s federal council.
International students: talking isn’t arriving
by DIRK MULDER
There’s not much point allowing them into the country if classrooms aren’t open
International education advocates talk-up how students could soon arrive (and start paying fees). But advocacy will not overcome practical problems.
arrivals – state and federal ministers understand the importance of international education and all sorts of options are on the agenda. But before students can arrive there are two essential approvals.
* states agreeing to accept international arrivals, with the Commonwealth’s chief medical officer concurring
* the Commonwealth either opening the national border or premiers setting terms for student exemptions. With state leaders arguing about interstate travel, this seems unlikely anytime soon.
campuses open – universities want students back on campus but whereabouts vary. Some universities are opening libraries and labs and planning some second semester in-person classes, all under existing social distancing rules. But no institution is planning face to face lectures and tutorials for all students – which means international students here would largely learn in the same way they do from home now, – on-line. This may not strike all an especially good deal.
what about welcomes – even if they are allowed in and educated in-person, many students will need jobs to support study. Unless the economy snaps-back sharpish, part-time work is not going to be easily found. And what sort of community experience will international students have?
So, if not soon, when? – National cabinet guidelines for lifting restrictions say international students may be able to return once the nation reaches the third stage of opening-up-, anticipated in July. The emphasis is on “may.”
As Monash VC Margaret Gardener told a Victorian parliamentary inquiry earlier in the week, “it is difficult to see international students entering the country before 2021.”
Talking- up early arrivals in the hope that optimism can make it so does no good. What international education needs now is cool headed pragmatic-problem solving that puts students at the centre of the decision-making process.
Dirk Mulder is Campus Morning Mail’s international education correspondent
“Time running out” to help internationals: professors warn
The Association of Australian University Professors calls on all vice chancellors to assist international students, “one of the most vulnerable groups in our society”
“While some universities have set up limited hardship funds, we now call on every vice-chancellor to put their hand in their pocket and mobilise their administration to reach out to those stranded international students and support them now,” the AAUP states.
With their jobs in hospitality, retail and tourism gone and with no access to public assistance, “time is running out” for international students who are unemployed and unable to return home.”
RUN picks up the pace in calls for cash
The Regional Universities Network calls for a doubling of the $78m federal fund for country campuses
“Job losses from regional universities have a significant impact on regional communities when there are few alternatives for professional employment locally. It is of critical importance to retain university staff in the regions to train the next generation of professionals to work in regional Australia, including in health care, teaching and agriculture,” says RUN chair Helen Bartlett (now VC Federation U, VC Uni Sunshine Coast as of August).
She made the pitch to a hearing of the House of Representatives select committee on regions.
Appointments, achievements of the week
Annabelle Bennett has a second term as Bond U chancellor
Julia Gillard is the next chair of UK health and medical research foundation Wellcome, starting April 2021.
Juanita Sherwood joins Charles Sturt U as inaugural PVC (Indigenous Engagement). She joins from Uni Sydney.
John Stanhope has a second five-year term as chancellor of Deakin University, commencing January.