A new path at Swinburne

Swinburne U is looking to grow in the pathways market, talking about a joint venture with New Zealand kinder-to uni prep provider ACG. The university now runs its own pathways and foundation year programmes, which would be taken over by a JV. If it goes ahead staff effected will be variously offered roles in the JV, with some able to stay at Swinburne with amended duties. Swinburne staff are being briefed this week and will be next. There is no deadline on a decision.

The proposal is said to use the model the university uses in on-line programmes with partner SEEK.

Thanks a billion says UniSyd VC Spence

The University of Sydney’s INSPIRED fund-raising campaign has broken the $1bn barrier. Vice Chancellor Michael Spence thanks donors this morning, saying “there was strong scepticism” when it launched in 2008 that, “that an Australian organisation could attract this level of philanthropy locally, let alone globally.”

The university’s fund raising chief since INSPIRED started is Tim Dolan, who leaves next month on the highest of highs, moving to the University of Hawaii.

The University of Melbourne’s BELIEVE campaign is targeting $1bn in donations by 2021.

Victoria U entry-scores in FOI dispute

Last May Alex Proudfoot asked Victoria U to provide data on de-identified education students’ scores on the national numeracy and literacy tests, plus their raw ATARs and any “special consideration” bonus.  He is now in the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal pursuing it.

According to VCAT, after some discussion, in June the university created a spreadsheet, however the tribunal states, “in the case of the ATAR score column, there are many entries which say ‘unknown or unverified’.”

Mr Proudfoot took the matter to the tribunal, while VU sought to have his application dismissed. The university argued Mr Proudfoot was not precise enough about what documents he wanted and that it could not produce, “using the computer equipment ordinarily available to it” all the information sought.

VCAT dismissed VU’s application and the matter will proceed to a further hearing.

CMM invited VU to comment, which it did late yesterday, “the university is not in a position to comment as the application is still before VCAT.”

The leaders for research dollar dividends

The feds have released 2016 research commercialisation data from universities, medical research institutes and publicly-funded research agencies. There is enough data for there to be good news for many, but the same names keep coming up in the top 20s (descending order) in key categories.

Dedicated commercialisation staff: CSIRO, Uni Queensland, Uni Melb, UNSW, Griffith U, Uni Sydney, QMIR Berghofer MRI, ANSTO, Monash U, ANU, UniSA, Brian Holden Vision Institute, QUT, Uni Wollongong, La Trobe U, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Uni Newcastle, UNE, Curtin U

Invention disclosures received: Uni Queensland, Uni Sydney, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Monash U, CSIRO, UNSW, Curtin U, Macquarie U, Uni SA, ANU, QUT, Uni Melbourne, Uni Southern Queensland, UTS, Uni Wollongong, Uni Adelaide, Deakin U, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Uni Newcastle, UWA

Start-ups created: UNSW, Burnet Institute, Bionics Institute, Monash U, CSIRO, Deakin U, Uni Queensland, Uni Sydney, Uni SA, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, Flinders U, Garvan Institute Medical Research, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Swinburne U, Uni Melbourne, Uni Newcastle, UWA, U Tasmania, ANZAC Research Institute, Australian Astronomical Observatory

Income from legally enforceable licences and options: UNSW, CSIRO, UNE, Uni Queensland, Deakin U, Walter and Eliza Hall, Monash U, Uni Adelaide, Uni Sydney, UWA, Uni Melbourne, Uni SA, Defence Science and Technology Group, Burnet Institute, Brian Holden Vision Institute, Macquarie U, Garvin Institute Medical Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, ANU, Uni Newcastle.

Helping unis hunt heads

Universities face big challenges in recruiting top-level staff and they turn to recruiters to help.

Susan Loomes (Uni Notre Dame Australia, Sydney) with colleagues Alison Owens (CQU) and Grace McCarthy (Uni Wollongong) warn Australian universities face; growing competition for academic staff, an ageing workforce, declining attractiveness of university workplaces and a lack of succession planning.

“As a result, Australian universities are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit senior academic leaders without the use of executive search firms,” they write in a new article, based on qualitative research with university leaders.

They also argue universities turn to recruiters because appointment advertising does not deliver, “only around 10 per cent of candidates come through advertising.”

The paper, published this month in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management is based on interviews with senior staff at 39 Australian universities and three executive searchers, plus a study of recruiting at ten unis.

However, the authors warn that relying on executive search, “may skew the type of candidates being presented to universities as part of the recruitment process … this may equate to selecting candidates from universities that perform well in ranking tables and have external accreditation.”

To counter this, they propose workforce and succession planning and professional development, perhaps including, “their large pools of sessional academic staff.”

“The universities that make a serious investment and commitment to workforce planning by building future talent from within will not only retain university knowledge, loyalty and established culture but foster a true commitment from current staff and be seen as an employer of choice from those outside the university,” they conclude.


Renee Hindmarsh is leaving the Australian Technology Network where she is now executive director. She will become the South Australian government’s Training Advocate next month.

Michelle Colgrave joins Edith Cowan U to study proteins in agriculture and food science. She is the 18th appointment in VC Steve Chapman’s professorial research appointment scheme, launched in 2015. This will be a joint appointment for Professor Colgrave, who will continue at CSIRO.

The Australian University Safety Association has elected its new executive committee, including, president Stephen Ween (CSU) and VP Julia Cohen (Uni Sydney), both second terms, Xin Li from ANU is secretary, – Colin Chua (University of Sydney) is treasurer and Glenn Blackley (UTS), Bonnie Meiselbach (RMIT) and Mikhail Farid (UNSW) handle comms.