Desirable residences

UTS has its own edition of Monopoly

“Experience the classic board game with a fun UTS twist as you buy up properties and locations from around the UTS campus,” is the pitch.

Entirely understandable – nothing says Sydney more than watching property prices.

UTS merch also includes a snow-globe of campus landmark buildings (CMM July 29).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Chris Campbell (Griffith U), Kathryn Coleman (Uni Melbourne) and Melissa Cain (Australian Catholic U) wondered how teaches are coping with teaching on-line in the pandemic. So, they asked them. The news is good. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

Merlin Crossley (UNSW) on the benefits of learning rather than googling.

Jobs gone at Uni Melbourne with a nervous wait for other staff

209 people are accepted for voluntary redundancy

VC Duncan Maskell yesterday told the university community that “valued friends and colleagues will be leaving the university by the end of this year. “

The savings the departures will deliver mean COVID-19 caused involuntary redundancies will be “minimised,” Professor Maskell said.

And there may be more voluntary departures to come. The VC says Uni Melbourne is talking to the Australian Tax Office about its proposed “senior academic enhanced retirement scheme.” The university was not adding to this yesterday but CMM suspects it has to do with a different tax treatment of redundancies for people over retirement age.

Professor Maskell also advised the professional services redesign rolls on, with former consultation commencing. There will be individual discussions through to December 18 with staff whose roles “would be directly affected” in finance, data & reporting, occupational health and safety, facilities management, research outputs and post-award finance support. Changes will be announcedearly in the new year.”

“I know that it will be difficult for some of you to wait until the new year for an update. “However, delaying the programme deeper in to 2021 would set us back as we work to implement changes as soon as possible in the new year to protect the university for the future,” he said.

VC pay: way high and a way to contain it

In sum, rapidly rising VC remuneration is not strongly correlated with performance,” suggest Rebecca Boden (Uni Tampere, Finland) and Julie Rowlands (Deakin U)

In a new paper they estimate a research uni VC was paid 2.9 more than a lecturer in 1975. By 2018 it was 16.

Why the multiplier used to be modest: From ’75 to ’86 the Academic Salaries Tribunal set VC pay, which the feds used as a ceiling – there were cases Boden and Rowland suggest, where unis which paid VCs more had the over-award amount deducted from Commonwealth funding.

But now VCs are paid a poultice: The authors suggest there are two reasons, neither of which is performance.

One is that members of university councils have no skin in the pay game, have “empowered VCs to act entrepreneurially” and do not have enough authority to control the salary setting process.

The other is there are VCs who sit on their universities remuneration committee. “This is a clear failure of university governance and appears to have enabled VCs to secure remuneration for themselves at levels that exceed that which would serve as an appropriate reward necessary to ensure the appointment and retention of suitably talented people,” Boden and Rowlands suggest.

Which is not good for uni governance: “To the extent that salaries are not justifiable by reference to performance, they can be said to constitute rent. … Rent-seeking points to a significant breakdown in university governance.”

But there’s a solution: They suggest Australia could return to government over-sight of VC salaries, with fixed ratios between their pay and mean academic salaries.

“Decisive steps to limit VC remuneration would assist in restoring faith in the university sector at a time when this is arguably most needed,” Boden and Rowlands suggest.

Stress for a few at Western Sydney U

Things could be way worse, except in the occasional ares where managers want to reduce staff

Word around the traps is that the university is in ok financial shape for 2021, due in part to disestablishing empty positions, temporary borrowing and the expected outcome of the present voluntary redundancy process. There are said to be 210 applications for VR, anywhere up to 100 more than management needs to meet financial targets.

However, as part of the VR process, change proposals are required for 30 plus operating units. In a couple of cases these are being used to target groups of staff in areas where managements want to reduce numbers and are telling people that there are more of them than there will be jobs. Rather takes the voluntary out of redundancy.

Uni Newcastle’s international educ optimism

The university announces a pathway partnership with for-profit provider Kaplan

The International Pathway College will provide a “range of academic programmes”and an English-language course, providing students with, “the necessary foundation for studies at the university.” The college will be based at the university’s flash NUspace in Newcastle’s CBD.

With commendable optimism given the Prime Minister’s present Australians home first policy, the JV is scheduled to accept students in March. Classes are planned for face to face, “however we need to plan for on-line learning until we have certainty,” the university tells CMM.

Apparently, the college is, “a first strategic step towards a range of initiatives and pathways for our next international cohort of life-ready graduates.”

This appears part of a plan that (just) pre-dated the pandemic, to lift the university’s international enrolments, (CMM February 24).

It’s not the only international education initiative on Uni Newcastle’s patch.

Word is, work on another city site, for Nihon University, is on-track for end ’21. The plan is to bring students from Japan for study abroad semesters.

Appointments, achievements

Andrej Atrens (Uni Queensland) receives the lifetime achievement award at the International Conference on Magnesium.

 Ceri Brenner joins ANSTO, to lead the Centre for Accelerator Science. She moves from the UK Central Laser Facility.

 Doug Hilton (WEHI – formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) is named Melbournian of the year.

A quiet winter on US campuses

International students who want face to face teaching will likely have to wait

51 per cent of new international coursework students at US institutions are starting study this semester out of country, Julie Baer and Mirka Martel  report in an enrolment snapshot for the Institute of International Education.

And while 80 per cent of all internationals are in the US, this is down from 99.6 per cent in Fall 2019. Institutions are adapting; 59 per cent are enrolling students on campus, on-line in the US and on-line internationally.

Over 43 per cent of institutions surveyed expected changes to their academic calendar, some planning to be fully virtual after Thanksgiving (this Thursday) and others expect to clear their campuses for winter. “Plans for ending the semester early are evident across all institution types,” Baer and Martel report.

Victoria U VC’s awards

Career achievement: Frances O’Neil (associate uni librarian)

Student engagement: Darren Brown, Leonie Nott, Amy Liston, Justine Warne, Dilani Rasanayagam, Daniel Lunardi, Theresa Li, Annique Teycheney, Vicky Schilling, Sarina Scacco, Mandy Ziegler (Employ Team)

Learning and teaching: Humberto Manuel Oraison, Laurie Chapin (Kick Start Programme Team)

Learning and teaching (VET): Barti Murugesan, John Burgess, Petru Tiglar, Tim Brown, Shane Mengaziol, Ian Browne, Nimmi Purayil, Sandeep Karun, Damian Murphy, Wasif Bhatti (VU Polytechnic’s Cyber Team)

Diversity and inclusion: Kate Savage, Kerry O’Neill, Gabriella Zibell, Heap Ma, Samuel Sakama, Mimi Craig, Lyndal Burke, Brooke Olsen, Jessica Harrington, Catherine Saunders (Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Programme Team)

Diversity and inclusion: Kathy Tangalakis, Loretta Konjarski, Natalie KonYu, Maja Husaric, Kate Kelly, Julia Fletcher (Women in First Year Team)

Engagement: Rohenna Young, Brooke Olsen, Ben Miller, Lyndal Burke, Mimi Craig, Monika Dimovski, Shana Robinson, Vaomua Laloifi, Wade Spencer, Jessica Harrington, Conor O’Farrell, Tina Macumber, Caleb Morgan, Melissa Sambrooks, Joseph Makur, Shane Peterson, Luke McCartney ,Catherine Saunders, Kate Green, Nisha Wijesekera, Scott Cashmere, Jessica Serpiello, James Nightingale (VU Sport Thrive Virtual Fitness Team)

Professional services and innovation: Ria Renfrey, Jordan Barclay, Marva Fakhri, Natalia Delgado, Asa Warnakulasuriya, Cathy Cassar, Ngoc Tran, Michele Duffy, Jittra Knox, Natalie Evagelistis, Joanne Dalli, Martha Avendano Suarez, Chiraag Kirun Chouhan, Sharon Smith, Luke Keshishian, Breanne Elliott, Amy Kyriakopoulos, Sue Oulton, Yvonne Portelli, Lila O’Rourke, Eduardo Rodriguez, Pascalina Papas, Stuart Martin, Jan Horstman (Student Advising and Support Team)

Early career research: Debra Smith

Senior, mid-career research: Alexandra Parker

Team research: James Giesecke, Philip Adams, Maureen Bleazby, Janine Dixon, Peter Dixon, Don Harding, Mark Horridge, Michael Jerie, Christopher King, James Lennox, Dean Mustakinov, Jason Nassios, Xiujian Peng, Louise PinchenLouise Roos, Florian Schiffmann, Nicholas Sheard, Robert Waschik, Glyn Wittwer (Centre of Policy Studies)

Graduate researcher: Alessandro Garofolini