Close encounters of a Parkes kind

CSIRO reports its radio telescope at Parkes is assisting scientists who are “closely monitoringNASA’s Voyager Two spacecraft as it travels into interstellar space. Insofar as anything occurring at 18bn kms is “close”.

Hooray of the day for devils

The University of Adelaide has a Pozible campaign to crowd-fund collection and analysis of Tasmanian Devil dental pulp cells, in the search for a treatment for the appalling tumour that afflicts them (CMM November 14). The initial target is reached and now the campaign is putting the bite on devilistas for a few dollars more, to ship afflicted cells to Belgium for analysis. Donate  here, because nothing says Christmas like saving the Devil.

Remember the name – S P Jain

Times Higher and the Wall Street Journal have ranked various business masters – Australian universities do not star, except for one Sydney based school that isn’t part of the establishment.

There are two Australian-based institutions on the one-year MBA list, with the Melbourne Business School ranking eighth on a cosmopolitan ranking of institutions from all continents, ex Africa. But the big winner is the S P Jain School of Global Management’s campus in Sydney. S P Jain is not part of the biz ed club but has been teaching at its Sydney Olympic Park campus since 2012. Jain also has campuses in Singapore, Mumbai and Dubai.

No ANZ universities make the other rankings, for two-year MBAs, management masters and finance masters.

ANU delivers on Asian languages

ANU is expanding Asian language teaching, with an $11.6m commitment over five years to cover “less commonly taught” ones. The university says it will add Mongolian, Burmese and Tok Pisin (Melanesia) to languages it already teaches, Thai, Tibetan, Vietnamese. Hindi , Tetum, as spoken in Timor Leste and Sanskrit (spoken in India).

The nine will be available in blended-learning delivery through an ANU-Open Universities Australia partnership.

This is a big move, coming just a couple of years after a proposed restructure of the university’s School of Culture, History and Languages in 2016 was said to put teaching some languages at risk (CMM April 19 2016).

Back then Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt intervened to ensure Asian language teaching, albeit with a reducing subsidy for the school. The $11m is new money on top of the subsidy-set in 2016, originally intended to be $1m for this year.

This is a good move – every multi-lingual galah in the foreign-policy pet-shop bangs on about creating a cadre of Asian-language speaking Australians. ANU is delivering.

Comrades’ consensus

The National Tertiary Education Union has backed The Greens education policy, calling it “a blueprint for the future of education in Australia.”  The party proposes “unlimited free undergraduate university and TAFE and a 10 per cent funding increase per Commonwealth Supported Place.

“The Greens policy shows that good public policy is about priorities. … Increased funding for the tertiary sector and ensuring that student places meet demand should be the bottom line those wanting to form government,” NTEU national president Alison Barnes says.

ACCI announces international education all-good

Peak industry lobby ACCI has backed international education,  calling it “one of Australia’s largest export industries, enhancing the connections between Australia and the rest of the world as well as making a welcome contribution to the workforce through limited work rights.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry presents the industry as a $32bn benefit and dismisses arguments that students strain infrastructure.

“Suggesting that there should be limits on international student numbers while we play infrastructure catch-up is like asking manufacturers and farmers to reduce their exports because it places too much pressure on ports and roads. Overcoming congestion is about good and continuous planning, not restricting job and revenue-generating industries in ways that result in them operating below their potential.”

UniAuckland wins at QS awards

The University of Auckland has won top prize at ranking agency QS’s reimagine education awards. The university won for its Peerwise, “free online learning tool.”  Peerwise also won the ICT learning and teaching category.

In category awards, the University of Queensland won the gold award for university-employer partnership.

QUT won silver and Deakin U bronze in the nurturing employability category. The University of Melbourne picked up a bronze for its self-guided VR bone surgery platform. Monash U also won bronze in the e-learning category and silver in life sciences for its MyDispense, “community pharmacy simulation.”



Griffith’s O’Connor exits

Some higher education people consider modesty to be occasionally disconnecting the flashing neon sign listing their achievements. Not Ian O’Connor from Griffith U, who just got on with the job. He steps down as he worked, discretely, tweeting yesterday; “my last graduation ceremonies as Griffith VC is a fitting topic for my last tweet. Thanks to the Griffith U community for your ongoing support, it’s been an honour to serve this remarkable university. I wish you all and incoming Professor Carolyn Evans all best.” (Yes, he tweeted but only 931 times over nearly nine years).


No one wants out of UniTas inns

Hobart is booming and the local ABC is running a story on students struggling to find accommodation when they are asked to leave university housing to make way for freshers, from out of Hobart and overseas.

A big part of the problem is that 60 per cent of students used to move out of university housing as they built local-lives but because of a tight private market this year nearly all of them want to stay.

UTas saw this coming, buying a Hobart hotel in May to refurb as rooms for 190 students (CMM May 23) adding to its 1000 beds. But it has not helped its cause with a campaign that told international students they could queue-jump for uni accommodation. “This does not align with our university values and the campaign was recalled as soon as we were made aware,” Stephanie Taylor, executive director student experience, tells uni staff in an internal document.  Good-oh, but guess what line the ABC led with.

The university does give accommodation priority to arriving internationals but also to Tasmanian students from outside the city, scholarship holders and commencing interstate students. But this isn’t going to placate existing undergrads. The Tasmanian University Union council is petitioning VC Rufus Black for UTas “to halt its decision to offer more accommodation to first-year students if it comes at the expense of the accommodation for existing students.”

QUT on-message

QUT is good at comms that focus on students, rather than brand-building, although the former delivers the latter. There’s a good example of its marketing culture at the new  orientation site for commencing internationals. It features six international students with tips about Brisbane-living and who will take questions.

The inventive Peter Hoj leads appointments, achievements

Peter Hoj is elected a fellow of the US National Academy of Inventors. The University of Queensland vice chancellor is a biochemist and geneticist who has held US patents. He is the sixth Australian to join the academy

Andrew Leigh, who holds the ACT federal electorate of Fenner in the Labor interest, is named a research associate of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at ANU. He should fit right in, he used to be an ANU professor of economics there.

Sarah O’Shea (Uni Wollongong) has a 12-month fellowship at the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education to research post-graduation employment outcomes for first in family university completers.

International education analyst, Darragh Murray is leaving QUT for Navitas, to become manager of strategy and engagement.

Dolt of the day

Is CMM, who named Swinburne’s Bronwyn Fox as Bronwyn Cox in yesterday’s email edition.