Every market matters

“Very excited to receive copies of How brands grow published in Hungarian” Uni SA’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, promotes its own Byron Sharp’s famous book, via Twitter yesterday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Stephen Colbran, Colin Beer and Michael Cowling (all CQU) set out the ChatGPT challenge – regulate or liberate.

plus Anthony Weber, Robert Vanderburg, and Amy McIlwraith on how CQU empowers students to reduce academic misconduct, with Angela Brew previews this week’s Australasian Council for Undergraduate Research conference. Both are selections by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series Needed now in learning and teaching.

and Merlin Crossley asked ChatGPT for a blog on issues facing Australian universities (don’t use it for an O’Kane Review submission)

Western Sydney U delivers on precedent-setting job promise

WSU opens recruitment for casual academics who want ongoing jobs

The 30 positions are the first of 150, agreed by management and the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, as part of the new enterprise agreement for the university (CMM July 26 2022). They are for junior continuing positions and open to eligible WSU casuals.

This is a big deal indeed, a practical measure by a big university to create career options for generally young academics now imprisoned in the precariat.

Good for WSU VC Barney Glover and NTEU branch president David Burchell.


More for the same as us: the CRC lobby makes case for applied research funding

Cooperative Research Centres got a big tick in a recent performance review (CMM January 23) – great timing for their lobby’s budget bid

Cooperative Research Australia calls on the government to “grow” the programme, by “restoring” annual investment to the level of 2008 (around $240m) and “where there is a critical and urgent need … deliver economic growth and enhance sovereign capability,” through “ad-hoc special purpose rounds.”

And it argues the CRC model should extend to other agencies, pointing to existing examples – the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs, the Trailblazer programme in universities and the two CRCs funded by the Department of Defence.

CRA’s bid also invokes the tax reform plan that will not die, the celebrated Three Fs review of the Research and Development Tax Incentive (CMM July 7 2016 and umpteen subsequent stories)  – repeating its proposal for a 20 per cent collaboration premium, to foster industry-research collaboration.

“The potential benefit of collaborative research and translation driving innovation in the Australian economy cannot be understated,” CRA argues.

Yet more money for research with markets in mind

Australia’s “first university-specific large scale venture capital fund” has reached its $100m target

Tin Alley Ventures,  a JV between University of Melbourne and Tanarra Capital “will invest in and support the rapid development of new startups and ventures affiliated with UoM.”

VC Duncan Maskell says it will create “significant entrepreneurial opportunities” for the university’s researchers, students and alumni” and MRIs and hospitals affiliated with the university. The fund will provide support from seed stage through to initial public offering.

The fund will raise more money from mid-year.

The Medical Research Future Fund announces $700m over ten years to “pursue big ideas”

The Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative will, “create opportunities to explore bold and innovative ideas, make discoveries of great potential, and to support the translation and commercialisation of these discoveries.”

The target is for, “novel and meaningful solutions to intractable health issues.”

Claire Field on the ChatGPT challenge: way worse for VET


and after worrying about that, consider classes on YouTube

When I wrote about ChatGPT (CMM December 7), the technology was a week old (albeit older versions had been available for some time). Even as I was grappling to understand “how” it worked, it was evident that assessment in higher education would never be the same, likewise the teaching of coding.

Since then the higher education sector’s response has veered from re-embracing ‘pencil and paper testing,’ individual academics developing ‘GPT detection software’ (albeit with conversations still to be had about the related privacy and ethical issues in using them), through to the full embrace of Chat GPT in lesson planning and delivery. And of course in the schools’ sector a number of jurisdictions have banned ChatGPT in classrooms.

Two of the most useful resources I have seen in the last few weeks to assist educators deal with the implications of ChatGPT, are Swiecki et al’s ‘Assessment in the age of artificial intelligence’ and this suite of resources for teachers and students compiled by Danny Liu and colleagues at the University of Sydney.

As I noted last year, with written assessments being relatively rare in VET the impact of ChatGPT on teaching, learning and assessment are less immediate for most VET teachers. But the increased prevalence of AI will ultimately create much greater problems for VET than higher education.

That is because universities’ self-accrediting powers mean that as occupations change through the incorporation of different forms of AI, universities can readily amend their course content. Not so in VET where even if the new Jobs and Skills Councils prove more efficient than the predecessor bodies, the sector’s standardised processes for making and approving changes to national Training Packages mean VET providers will ultimately fall behind in terms of the relevance of what they are teaching.

Here are just some of the occupations/job roles already heavily reliant on AI:

* architects, furniture and interior designers * business and government data collection and processing * coding * customer service agents * developing fitness plans *editing * game creation * journalism 8 language translation * lawyers/paralegals * marketing, digital marketing * on-line coaching 8 teaching (developing lesson plans)

If that innovation was not enough, YouTube has now moved into the MOOC space. The Vlogbrothers (3.5 million YouTube subscribers) have launched Study Hall where users can take classes and gain credit for study at Arizona State University and the hundreds of US colleges which recognise ASU’s programs.

Claire Field is an advisor to the tertiary education sector


NSW unis have a standby flight plan

They are not sweating on all 40 000 students  from China getting here for the start of semester (CMM Monday and yesterday).

Western Sydney U VC Barney Glover, wearing his hat as NSW VC Committee Chair says, “we don’t have plans to restart charter flights although we are investigating the viability and costs in case it becomes necessary.”

The VCs already know how to do this, having organised charter-flight returns in the depth of the pandemic, (Dirk Mulder in CMM, September 28 2021).

And Universities Australia chief, Catriona Jackson points out the Chinese Government has “displayed quite substantial flexibility around (students) having to be here on the first day.”

But what does concern NSW VC is the availability and affordability of student accommodation, “an increasingly critical concern particularly given the very robust rebound this year of inbound international student numbers.”


Appointments, achievements

Penny Jane Burke (Uni Newcastle) becomes a UNESCO global chair, in equity, social justice and HE, leading cooperative programmes with Ghana.

 The Cancer Institute of NSW announces 2023 research grants. Career development fellowships go to: * Amelia Parker (UNSW) * Sean Porazinski (UNSW) * Han Shen (Uni Sydney) * Julia Steinberg (Uni Sydney). Early career development fellowships are for:  * Ziba Gandomkar (Uni Sydney) * Arnab Ghosh (Uni Newcastle) * Nunki Hassan (Uni Sydney) * Emily Hewson (Uni Sydney)  * Holly Holliday (UNSW) * Tong Li (Uni Sydney) * Noushin Nasiri (Macquarie U) * Rebekah Laidsaar-Powell (Uni Sydney) * Sirisha Tadimalla (Uni Sydney) * Guoying Wang (Macquarie U) * Mahdi Zeraati (UNSW)

Sunny Yang leaves Monash U to become PVC Global Partnerships at Uni Newcastle.