What’s next for researchers. CMM asks experts with ideas

People get research can help everybody – the pandemic proved that

But popularity does not set priorities and researchers face new challenges of purpose and priorities. Join policy experts and opinion shapers at CMM-Twig Marketing’s on-line conference next week, “What’s next for the people who can save the world.”  Details HERE.

La Trobe U says casuals’ pay is sorted

in recent times some universities have failed to pay their casual staff properly – something that clearly should not have happened and which all universities must address as a matter of urgency. We can do better. We will,” Unis Aus chair and La Trobe U VC John Dewar, National Press Club yesterday.

They have certainly been addressing it at LT U – since December 2020 when management asked casuals about possible underpayment. The university was still working on it in April, (yes, April just passed, CMM April 29). But now questions of what casual academics at LT U are paid for marking look nearly sorted.  Any amounts owing will be paid by the end of the month and guidelines will be in place so that future payments are “accurate and consistent,” LT U yesterday told CMM, who sort of guessed that things must have been finally fixed when Professor Dewar spoke.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Frank Larkins on NSW university financials last year: the best may have already happened,  HERE.

he joins James Guthrie, who considers what NSW annual reports reveal and don’t, HERE.

plus Verity Firth (UTS) on the Carnegie Commission on community service standards expanding in Australia, HERE.

with, Angela Carbone and Kerryn Butler-Henderson (both RMIT) who warn that significant barriers to women achieving leadership in higher education teaching and learning remain. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching. HERE .

Who should brace for how much research impact

The NHMRC is considering changes to the risk-benefit section of its human research statement. Adrian Barnett (QUT) is alarmed

The National Health and Medical Research Council has a draft out for comment, with responses due August 1.

Complicated stuff for research participants, researchers – and the people who approve projects. As the council puts it, “for ethics review bodies, there can be a profound tension between the obligations to give maximum scope to participants’ freedom to accept risk and to see that research is conducted in a way that is of benefit.”

Good o, except there is a proposed change in the draft, to extend the policy to cover the “impact of research,” which Professor Barnett worries, “is a possibly enormous change to health and medical research, greatly increasing the scope of potential harms that researchers and ethics committees will have to consider.”

He sets out his issues in CMM this morning, HERE.

What universities want from the new government

Unis Aus chair and La Trobe U VC John Dewar, set out the three big issues yesterday

More undergrad places: 46 000 more by 2007. They are needed to “maintain the supply of graduates at the level Australia needs”

“A surge of young people is coming through while we have an urgent skills crisis. The answer is a no-brainer: pair them to the skills shortages and the problem is potentially solved,” Professor Dewar said.

More basic research funding: Professor Dewar pointed to decline in research funding as a per centage of GDP but specifically spoke to the importance of discovery research. “Right now, Australia spends $35.9b dollars on all types of research but only $2.83b dollars on pure basic research. Without pure basic research we are stopping the supply of new ideas to translate into new products, applications and services. This makes us dependant on others to supply those ideas. That’s not a place Australia should be.”

More money for teaching: The previous government’s Job Ready Graduates package got a mention, but not the condemnation humanities lobbies want, for what their students now have to pay. Rather, Professor Dewar focused on changes to funding per Commonwealth supported place, which he says JRG reduced by 6 per cent on average. “It’s too soon to gauge the full impact of Job Ready Graduates. The package is a big and complicated one. Conditions have changed. It’s likely that changes to the policy framework will be needed to enable universities to keep delivering what students, employers and the nation need.”

The team working on the Government’s proposed universities accord will have taken notes.

Super star

Union veteran Grahame McCulloch becomes deputy chair of Uni Super

The former general secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union has long occupied a union position on the fund’s board.

There used to be but one position for a union rep but that changed in 2016 following a long campaign (CMM August 9 2013, April 28 2016).

The CPSU, which represents university staff used to have the other union spot. But when the CPSU rep resigned Uni Super’s board gave it to the NTEU nominee – which the CPSU went to court to block, and lost (CMM December 10 2020).  Sarah Roberts, an NTEU Victorian branch official is the other union rep.

A split-screen a teleporter and a time machine

People interested in voc ed, higher ed and teaching and learning had a bunch of places to be yesterday

They would have wanted to be at Universities Australia physical conference in Canberra. And they would have been keen to be at the estimable National Centre for Vocational Education Research’s on-line conference. Also on was the unmissable, “Responsive, Reciprocal and Radical Conversations Around Research and Practice” from the Australian Teacher Education Conference.

All worth it for the chance to visit the future.  UA is clearly not temporally bound, what with its conference title being, “rebuilding Australia’s future.” Nor is NCVER, which is keen to change what has not happened yet at its “VET’s role in transforming the future” event.

It’s Time for a reset in govt – uni relations: Clare sets out objectives

In a speech quoting Labor icons John Curtin and Paul Keating, Education Minister Jason Clare called for expanding access to education and for job generating research

In his first major address to the higher education community Mr Clare set a national goal of increasing the HE participation rate of low SES Australians to 20 per cent. While the 2008 Bradley Review target of 40 per cent of 18-34 year olds with an UG degree was long met the 20 per cent goal has not been.

“Where you live, how much your parents earn, whether you are Indigenous or not, is still a major factor in whether you are a student or a graduate of an Australian university,” he said.

I don’t want us to be a country where your chances in life depend on your postcode, your parents, or the colour of your skin.  None of us want that. But that’s where we are today,” Mr Clare told the Universities Australia conference last night.

Mr Clare proposed this as part of the government’s long-promised Australian Universities Accord, “looking at everything from funding and access, to affordability, transparency, regulation, employment conditions and also how universities and TAFEs and other higher education and vocational education providers and training institutions work together.”

He said engagement on terms of reference for work on the accord  will start “soon” with appointment of a “small group of eminent Australians” to lead the work.

In an apparent rebuke to the previous government’s interventionist oversight of Australian Research Council funding recommendations Mr Clare also announced an independent review of its governance and reporting.

However he acknowledged  “the former government did some good things to encourage translation and boost commercialisation.”

“I think there is more we can do together here to turn Australian ideas and discoveries into Australian jobs,” he said.

Appointments, achievements

Natalie Edwards tweets she is leaving Uni Adelaide to become head of modern languages at the University of Bristol

Uni Adelaide announces Ashley Hurrell as inaugural ED of the university’s integrity unit. She moves from Victoria’s Department of Education and Training. “Her experiences have given her a particular interest in ensuring investigative processes minimise the psychological impact on victim-survivors, witnesses and respondents,” VC  Peter Høj and Katrina Falkner, chair of the Transforming Culture programme state.

Studiosity announces the short list for its 2022 Tracey Bretag Prize for academic integrity initiatives, * Danielle Logan-Fleming and Popi Sotiriadou (Griffith U) * Rick Somers, Sam Cunningham, Sarah Dart, Sheona Thomson, Caslon Chua, Edmund Pickering, (QUT) * Jasmine Thomas with Rian Roux, Renee Desmarchellier, Luke Drury and Daniel Chalker (Uni Southern Queensland) *

The short list for the WA Premier’s science awards is out. Curtin U has nine and UWA 12 of 29 entrants in the six categories