One less thing for Rufus to worry about

The Australian National Audit Office has politely declined to have a look at the relocation of University Tasmania in Hobart from  Sandy Bay to the CBD.

Former Liberal senator for the state, Eric Abetz had asked the ANAO and present one Jonno Duniam followed up.

This leaves VC Rufus Black and colleagues facing a Legislative Council inquiry into pretty much anything about the university, the terms of reference being broad in scope.

There’s more in the Mail


The British Academy is allocating small grants via lottery (CMM Friday). Adrian Barnett from QUT advised the Brits on the scheme and makes the case for random selection of qualified apps. “When you have a highly competitive system, with lots of excellent applicants and not enough money … it’s like choosing your favourite shade of blue,” new in Expert Opinion, ep 15 HERE


James Guthrie (Macquarie U) on WA public universities 2021 financials, particularly UWA’s

plus For work integrated learning to work it needs collaborative curriculum design. The Board of the Australian Collaborative Education Network makes the case in a contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and Tim Winkler on the great Uni Tasmania debate – people are arguing about the wrong issues 

What teacher ed can deliver

The Productivity Commission report on the National School Reform Agreement finds governments have reached milestones on final year performance assessments in initial teacher education courses  but the PC adds it is “seeking further information” on options for increasing their “quality and consistency.”

Which matters – the PC concludes that “a highly-effective teacher” with a class of 15 can increase individual lifetime earnings by $35 000 a year.

Not many new ARC Future Fellows

Yesterday’s grant announcements were in-line with recent years, but that will be scant comfort to the vast majority of applicants

Geography: NSW (40) Vic (31) and the ACT (six) accounted for three quarters of awards. WA had two (both Curtin U), less than U Tasmania (three)

Fields of research: Awards to engineering made up a fraction less of 20 per cent of all grants (19), followed by biology(15) and physical sciences (ten), with chemistry (eight) – hard sciences had over half the awards. At the end, Indigenous Studies, creative arts, economics, education and law had fine between them

Success rate: Just 16 per cent of applications are funded. Maybe the others should pal up with industry partners. The success rate for the most recent Linkage round was 29 per cent.

The ever-advancing Tim Dolan delivers

The University of Hawaii has had a $165m record year for fundraising – which the VP Advancement Tim Dolan likely had  bunch to do with.

He knows a bit about this stuff does Dolan. When he left  Uni Sydney for the Aloha State his Inspired Campaign (that’s the name not a description) had raised $955m in five years (CMM November 30 2018).

What the pandemic wrought: weird ideas in ed tech

“The amount of money globally that is invested in educational technologies would certainly provide motivation for bad actors to leverage a crisis and  use  the allure  of  a  simple solution  to  a  complex situation  to  make  a  buck  (or  several  million)”

Jason Lodge, Kate Thompson and Linda Corrin have had it with people peddling ed tech ideas that are not evidence-based and/or just plain “weird.” Writing in the Australasian Journal of Ed Tech they worry that the emergency switch to on-line learning is being sold as the new normal, when it did not “reflect high quality digitally-mediated learning any more than a life raft resembles a luxury cruise liner.”

“The combination of an apparent paradigm shift in combination with misguided ideas has grave possible implications for the future of higher education. Observations reinforce intuitive but incorrect notions, which, in turn, provide a shaky foundation for decision-making,” they warn.

So what is to be done?  “Until  there  is  more  of  an  appreciation  of  the different evidence and expertise that people across the tribes and territories bring, it is fair to suggest that there  is  much  more  to  be  done  to  understand  and  effectively  use  educational  technologies,” they propose.

And if not, “A veritable armada of dust-covered electronic whiteboards within educational institutions around the world serve as a constant warning about the risks of getting carried away with new technologies before we really understand how they can be used effectively (or not).”

Appointments, achievements

The Australasian Research Management Society’s 2022 awards include: Moira Clay (Moira Clay Consulting) for Distinguished Service. Connie Killey (Deakin U) becomes an ARMS Fellow. Research Management awards go to Uni Melbourne’s Faculty Research Support Team  and Research Outputs Team, Uni Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health R&D Team and Narmon Tulsi (Flinders U).

Deborah Bunker starts as Chief Science Officer at the Natural Hazards Research Australia. She moves from Uni Sydney.

Lesley Hughes (ex Macquarie U as of end August) and Virginia Marshall (ANU) are appointed to the board of the Commonwealth’s Climate Change Authority