There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning David Myton talks to Western Sydney University VC, Barney Glover about the uni’s plans to navigate massive transformative demographic and infrastructure developments in the region.

RMIT lifts off

The r is for rocket

RMIT has won the Australian Universities Rocket competition for solid-fuel craft that reach either 10 000ft or 30 000ft carrying a 4kg payload. Team leader James Kirby says they plan to double range every year and develop systems to take the RMIT rocket to the Karman Line, which at 100km is the boundary of space.

The win would position RMIT for a good result in the International University Ranking for Rocketry, if CMM had not just made it up.

Chief Scientist surfaces to talk about hydrogen

Finkel fans it up at Virginia new-fuel conference

Alan Finkel could deliver a convincing policy speech under water but seems silenced by the campaign.  So, he is talking policy where scientists are not paying attention to the election, in Virginia. The chief scientist is at the US Department of Energy’s hydrogen and fuel cell programme meeting today. Dr Finkel is keen on hydrogen as an energy source, chairing a strategy group that  reported to COAG in August.

Labor’s lock on higher education this election

The coalition is either out of ideas or has lost interest

At last, the government has a higher education funding commitment, sort of, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg promising $15m for a Monash U-Collingwood Football Clubsports and medical research hub.”

“Victoria Sport will include an education and training facility, treatment clinics, performance research laboratories, facilities specifically for women’s sports, a sports museum and a visitor centre,” Mr Frydenberg promises.

In contrast Labor, universities spokesman Louise Pratt announced Saturday yet another higher education equity programme, promising $3.45m for La Trobe UVC John Dewar welcomed the commitment, saying if implemented it “would help ensure more people get the opportunity of a university education.”  University of Newcastle VC Alex Zelinsky also backed a Labor promise on the weekend, telling the city’s newspaper that uncapping student places would ease funding pressure.

There is a bit of this programme-not-party endorsing about, with HE lobbies and leaders backing Labor commitments but not actually urging everybody to Vote 1 Bill – a distinction probably lost on the coalition. Mr Frydenberg and Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews aside, the conservatives appear to have given up on votes from uni teachers and researchers. This is understandable, Labor’s university infrastructure, research and equity announcements, plus its commitment to restore demand driven system has given it a lock on education as a campaign issue.

The National Tertiary Education Union, makes the point. It is hosting a Q&A at Murdoch U on Thursday, “to hear first-hand major political priorities for the future of tertiary education in Australia.” Senator Pratt is speaking. So is Greens senator for WA Jordon Steele-John. That’s it. Maybe the coalition wasn’t asked, maybe candidates were washing their hair.

La Trobe U’s new biz accreditation

The AACSB welcomes LT U

La Trobe U is now one of 845 undergraduate and higher degree providers accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It joins 16 other Australian universities. Providers are accredited on teaching and learning, research and curriculum development.

Innovative Research Unis helps all with job-ready elevator pitches

The IRU is working for all students

Just about all universities claim their graduates get good jobs but some are better than others in helping with employment search and career strategy skills. These do not come cheap, which makes it un-common generous of the Innovative Research Universities group to make their content open to all.

The IRU has created eighteen employability assessments to use with students, as a stand-alone programme or part of discipline-based course.

The project was produced with staff across the IRU by sometime IRU VC Fellow Jessica Vanderlelie, now PVC Student Success at La Trobe U. It covers big-picture career planning and personal-brand building through to specifics of job-applying.

This builds on the IRU’s National Innovation Case Study Collection, an extraordinary resource, designed to “disseminate good practice, and provide a mechanism through which to encourage cross-sector collaboration and save institutions from ‘reinventing the wheel’.”


Inflated payroll expectations

Uni pay-rises are already ahead of indexed funding, with less to come

Universities will be hoping for higher inflation than the zero (as in not a sausage) rise in the Consumer Price Index in the March quarter. The annualised rate is now 1.3 per cent, 0.5 per cent under the higher education funding index rate in place.  With HE grants for student places indexed against, CPI funding-growth is already below behind the around 2 per cent per annum pay rises common in new university enterprise agreements.

New branding for tech-eng academy

ATSE applies itself

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering no longer answers to the abbreviation ATSE, adopting “Applied” as part of a new logo and www address. Following extensive research among our fellows and stakeholders, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering has refreshed its brand to help us take applied science, technology and engineering expertise to a wider audience,” president Hugh Bradlow says.

Appointments, achievements

Melissa Conley Tyler is director of diplomacy at the University of Melbourne’s Asialink.  She moves from the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Wendy Lacey will move to the University of Canberra in July to become dean of business, government and law. She is now dean of law at the University of South Australia.

Jennifer Rowe receives an hon doc from Western Sydney University. Ms Rowe is a sometime publisher and an author of crime fiction and books for children, (the former not for the latter).

The University of Wollongong has awarded a hon doc to Philip Clark. Mr Clark chaired the 2016 research infrastructure review, which proposed a national infrastructure fund administered by an independent board. He will be a member of the Chubb review of research resources Kim Carr has announced Labor will hold if it wins the election.