Green for go

For-profit journal giant Elsevier, publishes a comprehensive analysis on the state of research, including funding, tech trends, work changes and AI and data. Useful, impressive work – and it’s open access, as in real OA, freely available on-line to all-comers.

No issue ANZAC Day

CMM will back, if the fate allow, Tuesday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Merlin Crossley UNSW) laments education status as social marker. “Privileging a single form of achievement will never help us build an inclusive and cohesive society.”

plus Angel Calderon digs (really, really digs) into the QS subject rankings to rate how the university alliances did. He found good results for the Group of Eight and the Australian Technology Network.

with Lynda Shevellar (Uni Queensland) on universities encouraging a sense of belonging among students when campus is not the core of their lives. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Why the ATAR will not die

Despite years of criticism young people know what it does

In the absence of personal knowledge of alternatives, senior school students understand the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank as the way to access university.

“They were often unaware that different paths exist and that many young people enter university through other means. Only a minority of participants were aware of alternative pathways to university or expressed a desire to complete a vocational path in its own right,” Megan O’Connell. Aarushi Singhania, Maci Hamdorf, and  Ciannon Cazaly, (all RMIT) write in a new study of pathways for the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

“While there are many pathways, finding out about them, who they are open to, the cost, and how and when to access them can be confusing. There is no clear information on the typologies of alternative pathways or university pathway programs and no single resource showing the range of options to gain entry to different courses or education providers. This challenge highlights the barriers young people may face when seeking higher education through other entry mechanisms,” they report.

Part of the answer is more information in earlier school years, about careers and courses in VET and higher education.

And there is a role for universities to expand their reach, “young people in focus groups had at most spoken to representatives from a single university, which was the closest university and most often in a partnership or outreach arrangement with the school. They suggested alternatives to enable more universities and more faculties to reach them effectively.”

Many rooms of their own

American Campus Communities, “the largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities in the United States,” announces US$12.8bn sale of its 119, 900 beds in 166 properties at 71 universities. Blackstone is the buyer. Presumably dorm speeds are up to any future pandemic lockdown.

Uni Sydney hot stuff

In January 2019 Uni Sydney decommissioned kit (a positron emission tomography scanner, to be particular) which included a radioactive source

But the university did not get the proper permissions for disposing/transporting the hot-stuff.

In the end no harm was done, although this was “fortuitous” rather than due to any actions of the university.

Of which the NSW Environmental Protection Agency took a dim view indeed,prosecuting the university in the state’s Land and Environment Court.

Apparently recognising that when one has dug a radioactive isotope hole the best thing is to stop digging, the university cooperated with the prosecutor, promised to improve  and pleaded guilty, albeit at a late stage, to both charges.

The court discounted one fine by 15 per cent and the other by 10 per cent for a total of $61 000.

Making the most of student voices

When students participate in oversight of their institutions and education they fulfill different functions.  Kelly Matthews (Uni Queensland) and Mollie Dollinger (Deakin U) describe differences and explain why they matter

 “While both partnership and representation share a commitment to student voice as a participatory process advancing democratic education, they are different and related roles in the ecosystem of student voice efforts,” they argue in a paper newly published in journal Higher Education.

“The role of the student representative is shaped by the power and politics of a rigid and often well-defined system that unpins institutional decision-making at a strategic level,” they suggest.  In contrast, “partners are primarily responsible for engaging in reciprocal learning processes where they co-create the agenda, aims, and activities … their student identities become blurred as they take on new responsibilities with a new sense of agency in a partnership with staff/teachers.”

Both are needed to make meaningful institutional commitments to heeding student voices, both in governance and in shaping, “everyday educational experiences.”

OA of the day

Peter Chen (Uni Sydney) tweets contributors to their OA Australian politics digital textbook that it has 6500 readers and saved them $163 000 in textbook costs. It’s a work in progress, the first edition appeared in 2019 (CMM December 13 2019).

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

Georgina Gurney (James Cook U) wins the early career award from the International Coral Reefs Society. Madeleine van Oppen (Australian Institute of Marine Science) becomes a fellow.

Of the week

 The Australian Skills Quality Authority announces members of the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Advisory Council, chair: Peter Costantini. members: * Valerie Braithwaite * Renee Hindmarsh *  Grant Klinkum * Adrienne Nieuwenhuis * Neil Quarmby * Don Zoellner

Chris Davies will be Interim Dean of Monash engineering, May-June while substantive dean Elizabeth Croft is on leave. There is no word on who will take over from July, when Professor Croft moves to the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

At Uni Adelaide, Michael Goodsite will lead the new Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Resources.

Jane Johnston becomes CEO of destination marketer Study Adelaide. It’s an internal appointment.

Renée Fry-McKibbin becomes interim director of ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Greg Sawyer is confirmed as CEO of the Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology. He has been acting since November.