There’s more in the Mail

In features this morning Nadine Zacharias from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University. She writes on interpreting last week’s attrition figures.

Top Tassie

The University of Tasmania (“a new state of mind”) is in the market for a librarian and as part of the pitch assures all interested; “the university ranks among the top ten Australian universities and in the top two per cent of universities world-wide.” But top for what?

The education gender pay-gap: better than all other industries

Pay for women working  in tertiary education is 12 per cent less than men, with a fractional deterioration since 2014, according to statistics from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. However, education is still ten per cent ahead of the all-industry figure and tertiary education employers are aware of the gap, leading all others for analysis of pay equity, with 40 per cent checking commencement salaries for gender gaps. The sector also leads the economy for policies to support carers (69 per cent compared to an all industry figure of 49 per cent). Half of tertiary education employers provide paid domestic violence leave, compared to 17 per cent for all industries.

Fast ‘trane to ANU

The Australian National University leads Australian universities in the global cool ranking (which CMM just made up). On December 6 the John Mackey Quintet celebrates John Coltrane at the ANU Bop-Up, sorry Pop-Up Village.

HECS magic: but there’s less wizardry for women

Mathias Sinning has crunched the numbers on gender based earnings to discover HECS delivers for society as well as students, just not equally for everybody.

“HECS is particularly interesting from a public policy perspective because the scheme reduces economic inequality while potentially contributing to economic growth. Tax and transfer policies that aim to reduce economic inequality (such as social welfare payments) typically contribute to lower economic growth,” Professor Sinning (ANU) writes in a new collection of papers.

But the spread of good news is not equal. Professor Sinning crunched the HILDA numbers for 2001-2014 and found:

# men with a postgraduate degree have lifetime earnings 83 per cent over males whose top qualification is Y12 but the difference for women in the two groups is just 50 per cent

# women with a bachelor degree, even with honours, earn as much over their working lives as women with PG qualifications

Even more alarming for everybody who wants Australians to skill-up he finds;

# “women have no benefits from investing in vocational training

# Overall women are not as likely as men to repay their HECS debts; the average outstanding debt of male university graduates converges to zero over a 30-year period, whereas the average outstanding debt of female university graduates remains positive, indicating that many female university graduates in Australia do not have the financial capacity to repay their student loans in full.

“This result is remarkable because it implies that a considerable number of female university graduates rarely or never cross the minimum income threshold that would require them to repay their student loans,” he writes.

But this is not a negative for the higher education loan system. “The contributions of HECS to social mobility are likely to outweigh any potential negative side effects on work disincentives of female university graduates.”

Mathias Sinning, “Gender differences in costs and returns to higher education” (in) Miranda Stewart (ed), Tax, social policy and gender: rethinking equality and efficiency (ANU Press, Nov 2017 )

Keep talking: how UoQ addresses attrition

Group of Eight institutions led the country in last week’s attrition stats (CMM November 15), with figures generally half their state’s average. This is easily attributed to their status and the affluent and highly able students, from families familiar with higher education, they attract. Not as obvious is the work some of the Eight put into improving their student services, notably the University of Queensland, which had the biggest improvement among the Go8 between 2015 and last year, improving 1.2 per cent. “It may not seem like much but it represents hundreds of extra students finishing what they started,” a learned reader tells CMM.

While UoQ has first year learning spaces for students in degrees with high attrition observers suggest what really helps is the human touch, provided by the 80 members of the Student Relations Network, all casually employed while studying at the university. They are trained to talk to other students about dropping subjects and changing courses and where to find academic help. They call students who have decided on UoQ but are yet to enrol and before census cut-off date and in the lead-up to second semester. “It is an expensive program to run, especially with the commencing numbers UQ pulls, but well worth it if it takes away some of the stress among the first-year cohort,” an admirer of the scheme says.


Tasmania STEM leaders

Tasmania’s STEM researcher of the year is Graham Edgar from the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Innovators of the Year are UTas chemists Alex Bissember and Jason Smith. Motor neurone scientist Catherine Blizzard, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research is a STEM communicator of the year.

Year after year Charles Sturt U marketing students win awards: this is how it’s done

A Charles Sturt University team has won the International Advertising Association Australia Big Idea competition, again. Runner-up was another CSU team, again. Advertising lecturer Anne Llewellyn coached the students, also again. And if that isn’t a pattern, consider this – CSU students have won the competition 12 out of 15 years –with six straight wins.

The IAAA competition involves student teams answering a brief from a real-world client with a full-service agency solution. This year they pitched a plan to Adobe, which wants to expand the sales base for its Document Cloud product but had no particular industry in mind

CSU Kajulu Red team identified schools and created “Sheet happens”, a social media campaign targeting teachers pained by paperwork who want to teach more and paper-work less. “Encourage trial, get teachers on side and then influence the decision makers, the principals, to consider purchasing the software,” Ms Llewellynn sums up.

So how did they do it this year? CMM asks. Same as they did it in the others Ms Llewellynn explains;

“Students in their final year work in our on-campus student marketing communications agency, Kajulu. I act as CEO and they work in teams, as in the industry, to respond to live, paid client briefs, including for Telstra, Jim Beam, Foxtel, Coca-Cola, The Australian Institute of Management and Pfizer, and of course the International Advertising Association ‘Big Idea’.

The experience the students gain in this authentic learning environment puts them a long way ahead of most marketing comms graduates from other universities. I treat the students as industry executives in Kajulu and I expect them to act like industry executives. That includes turning up on time for workshops and lectures, meeting deadlines and working professionally as part of a team. As I say to them, if an account executive of mine turned up late, it would only be once.

There is a shift in their attitude in their final year. They do take the Kajulu experience very seriously and they start to understand the very real pressure of the industry. The big idea teams are so motivated that they literally work seven days a week to get their recommendations in. But hey, this is what they will be doing when they get into the industry after they graduate in December.

“I am very passionate about my teaching,” she says. CMM would never have guessed.


Second education Barry professor

The University of Melbourne has appointed its second Redmond Barry distinguished professor from the Graduate School of Education. Johanna Wyn follows Lyn Yates.

UTS announces teaching achievers

UTS as announced its  2017 learning and teaching award winners:

Individual teaching awards: Blair Neild (life sciences), James Wakefield ( accounting)

Team teaching: Rebecca Keppel (life sciences) and team

Academic support: Mary Coupland and team (Mathematics and Science Study Centre)

Learning.futures: Christina Ho (communications programme), Jemma Price (journalism)

UTS Mode of Learning: Megan Phillips (life sciences)

Social impact learning and teaching: Maxine Evers and team (Brennan Justice and Leadership Programme)

Citations: Catherine Nguyen (law), Dr Charles Cranfield (life sciences) and team, Jorge Reyna ( learning design) and team, Dr Katie Schlenker (management), Dr Philippa Ryan (law), Raechel Wight (learning and teaching) , Vinay Patel (finance)

New dean at Bond

Psychologist Derek Carson will join Bond University in May as executive dean of society and design. Professor Carson is now dean of media, culture and society at the University of the West of Scotland.


Plato to Nato still setting texts

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation launches tonight, with universities commissioned to teach western culture and values – which are said to be under attack, just not an effective one. Consider for example, the Open Syllabus Project at Columbia University reports the most set texts across 1m syllabi. The world’s ten most set texts are;  Strunk’s – The elements of style, Plato – The Republic, Marx – Communist Manifesto, Mary Shelley – Frankenstein, Aristotle – Ethics, Hobbes – Leviathan, Machiavelli – The Prince, Oedipus – Sophocles, Shakespeare – Hamlet.

Granted, Said’s Orientalism is up there, at 12, but it is between The Odyssey and that threat to Judeo-Christian tradition, Turabian’s manual on writing dissertations. Michel Foucault is also in the top 100, The History of Sexuality at 40 but otherwise the humanities titles are right out of the Plato to Nato handbook.

Kylie at UNSW Canberra

This morning’s email edition reports Kylie Simmonds moving from head of comms at UNSW Canberra to the University of Canberra. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Ms Simmonds isn’t moving and has never talked to UoC about a job. CMM got this wrong and apologises.