Textbook case of open access

California is allocating US $115m for community colleges to “develop zero-textbook-cost degrees using open educational resources … to reduce the overall cost of education for students.”

No, the funding does not cover photocopying existing texts.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Angel Calderon (RMIT) on this year’s Good Universities Guide ranking – the institutions that do well, the way the metrics work and the GUG’s enduring achievement.

Plus, James Guthrie (Macquarie U) digs into the UTS annual report to discover how the big building programme was funded – but not how many jobs COVID-19 has cost,

And Merlin Crossley (UNSW) explains how science would have found other ways to fight COVID-19 without vaccines. It is what a “high-quality knowledge agenda” makes possible.

As well as a timely oped that bunch of uni marketers promoting GUG outcomes need to read, With Jason Brown and Peter McIlveen who suggest  measuring student and graduate experience of study is important to quality assurance but are no measure of employment outcomes.

What ANU wants to do

By 2025 the university “will create at least one major transformational societal outcome that has its origins in our academic work”

The ambitious, albeit unquantified aspiration is in the new strategy announced yesterday.

Other objectives include,

* “be the nation’s preferred university for students, offering an outstanding campus life and residential experience in the heart of the national capital”

* “be the leading Australian research-intensive university measured by recruitment and support of students from Indigenous, rural and low-SES backgrounds”

* be recognised for support and opportunities provided to early and mid-career academic staff

* “pioneer a new approach to engineering and technology design, development,

adoption and regulation that combines technological, human and ecological

systems for a better world”

* “challenge and encourage students to explore their potential in a safe, welcoming community enriched by unique academic, social and cultural opportunities”

As to how these and many other objectives will be achieved, “this document will be supported by capabilities, structures, and operational and thematic plans”

The new strategy appears largely in-line with VC Brian Schmidt’s 2016 ten-year plan (CMM August 2 2016).


Uni SA recruits chief information security officer

Reason is “to ensure the university’s information assets are protected in what is a complex and rapidly changing operating environment

Which presumably changed quite a bit in May when email went down, and stayed down for days. Management said less than not much about what happened beyond there were “no data breaches identified.” Observers suggest the uni copped a file-encrypting ransomware attack (CMM May 19, 20).

ARC acknowledges the obvious

New stats show women are way under-represented on research funding

In 2011 women accounted for 26 per cent of team members on Discovery and Linkage projects, which increased to 30 per cent last year. For lead researchers the increase was larger, 27 per cent to 34 per cent.

As for success rates for women, the average across the decade was 23 per cent. “Encouragingly, this is comparable to, or exceeds, the success rate for men across the same period,” the council states.  (With three out of four researchers missing out, it is hard to see much to be encouraged about).

“ The ARC acknowledges that underrepresentation of women in the Australian research sector is reflected in the NCGP participation rates,” it adds. Bit hard not to.

The data is searchable by institution.

One out of four for U Tas bized

Business and Economics at Uni Tasmania announces it is accredited for teaching business by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, one of the big-four bized rankings . It joins 19 Australian universities that are AASCB business accredited (none have the much rarer AACSB accounting approval).

U Tas is not accredited by the Association of MBAs (only Macquarie, Monash, QUT and Uni Sydney are) and while it is a member of the European Foundation for Management Development, it is not credentialed by EFMD‘s  European Quality Improvement System.


Connect with cash at Uni Melbourne  

The Victorian Government is kicking in $15m for new project at Uni Melbourne’s flash new innovation precinct

The funding is for a zero-emissions energy lab, a digital twin data visualisation lab and the Digital Health Validtron – no it’s not the name of an omniscient AI, it’s a lab to replicate operational environments for medical devices.

Melbourne Connect, “connecting people, places and possibilities” opened in April (CMM April 14). It dates from the days of Glyn the Magnificent, who was very keen on embedding the university in the community, at least the highly hip-tech bits (CMM November 21 2017).

The money presumably is from the $350m university investment fund announced in the state budget. The Victorian Government has recently allocated $10m for an “agriculture production platform” and $17m for digital innovation and bio-innovation hubs at La Trobe U (CMM June 29)


The work block teaching takes   

Victoria’s U block teaching model had an ovation from an independent assessment last month – but there was a warning on resourcing

Curriculum experts Denise ChalmersElizabeth Deane and Alfred Lizzio liked VU’s block teaching approach a lot, but they warned management had to assesses its workload impact on staff (CMM July 6).

And so says the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, which warns that the model relies on staff working longer hours to teach, mark and provide student support.

The risk of teaching staff ‘burnout’ is well documented in the literature on intensive teaching modes. VU has perhaps the most intensive teaching model of any university in Australia.”

The union presents a bunch of questions and “looks forward to working with the University to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff, and ensure the sustainability of the university.”

Appointments, achievements

John Clout becomes a professor of practice at Curtin U’s WA School of Mines. He will work on renewable energy and green hydrogen sources in metal production.

Bernard Lanskey is the in-coming director of Griffith U’s Queensland Conservatorium of Music. But that is as much as the university reveals, other than name and title there was no other information  yesterday on his university www page.

Dolt of the day is CMM – who added a c to Anna Nowak’s  (UWA) surname yesterday.

Craig Robertson is the inaugural CEO of the new Victorian Skills Authority. He now leads TAFE Directors Australia.

Jennie Shaw becomes DVC A of Uni Adelaide. She has acted in the role since June 2020, while also being ED of the arts faculty.

Kate Torney, CEO of the State Library of Victoria will leave to head the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.