The Week that Was

“A global review of studies involving more than seven million fathers from Curtin U has found …” university media, promotes research (via Twitter). That’s a bunch of dads.

Education Minister Jason Clare announces the government has agreed or agreed in principle to all recommendations in the Sheil Review of the ARC Act (see separate story). And in a speech Tuesday he added, he had ended, “the days of ministers vetoing things they did not like the look of.” As per Sheil, a minister can still cancel a grant, “over national security concerns.” In such cases they must advise the parliament or in confidential cases, the joint parliamentary committee on intel and security.

Hopes that the Accord’s transformative recommendations will go nowhere are forlorn. For a start the Business Council of Australia has backed the idea of a single tertiary system, including VET and HE (separate story this week). Plus universities and lobbies are starting to argue over which will get what, notably research funding. Dumb, very dumb. A united front is the way to stay in the policy game but divided they are easily ignored. As Universities Australia warned when the Accord was announced, “if we speak in a unified and coordinated way, individual voices will not drown us out,” (Campus Morning Mail October 24 2022). Maybe UA remembered when an initial united front in support of Chris Pyne’s plan  for fee-deregulation fractured into interest groups arguing (CMM September 9 2014).

The Australian International Education Conference promotes its ’23 event in Adelaide, “a visionary and transformative city” – perhaps they have read the case for the universities merger. 

University of Melbourne releases its new Indigenous Strategy through to 2027. As is the way of university plans, there are more commitments than measures of achievement, However the university does include specifics it can be judged against:

* 1000 Indigenous students by 2029

* UG to graduate student ratio for Indigenous students the same as for all others by 2025

* graduate coursework success ratio of one, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by 2025

* 350 Indigenous staff by 2025

* the same academic to professional staff ratio for Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers

Thanks to the learned reader who points out that Susan Gennaro’s, “Open access: a watershed moment” in Journal of Nursing Scholarship costs $US12 for 48 hours OA. 

The Menzies School of Health Research reminds everybody that it, in partnership with Charles Darwin U, would like 40 of the 80 new rural medical school places the Commonwealth is to allocate. Menzies points to a programme to eliminate Hepatitis B in the Northern Territory as an example of the good it could do. The school also warns new enrolments in GP vocational training in the Northern Territory are down 80 per cent over seven years – to 14 in ’23 and that workforce shortages are a consequence of not training enough GPs locally.

Hard to see anybody in federal officialdom missing the point. It’s part of the consistent campaign for a local med school led by CDU VC Scott Bowman since October ’21.

Monash U announces a report, “shedding light on the invisible challenges facing school principals.” No mean feat.

Our lost cause correspondent files on lobby Public Universities Australia complaining about “awarding unearned professorial and doctoral titles and degrees.”  In particular PUA is upset “that a number of Australian vice chancellors, senior managers, and others such as former politicians, have been awarded professorial and doctoral titles they have not earned” and are not identified as honorary. And start them not on “professors of practice” … “contrary to established international academic standards, which require collegial academic recognition of academic or analogous achievement.” 

ARWU got its own research rankings wrong last week. Nicholas Fisk (DVC R UNSW) points out an update was issued within hours. Presumably it was in response to institutions complaining that recent ranking-drivers were not included. Most changes are inconsequential (Uni Queensland drops one spot, to 51st in the world) – but they are going to drive Future Campus nuts next year, wondering why some of the reported ’23 results are not as the ARWU records. Demonstrates the foolishness of universities celebrating moves of a few places up the list, when they can be driven by formula driven changes that have nothing to do with them.     

And about time too. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s new corporate plan refers to the, “the imminent completion” of the independent evaluation of the Australian Research Integrity Committee. This was originally due in March and is widely anticipated by those who think Australia needs a national research regulator and those who think universities and research institutes should be left alone to look after breaches.

Deakin U and the campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union have settled on terms for an enterprise agreement. Disputes continue at La Trobe and Monash universities and Uni Melbourne.

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources has a discussion paper, “Understanding our RNA potential.” And informative, as well as upbeat it is too – emphasising Australia’s achievements and opportunities. Not, you understand, that minds are made up. “Your engagement is critical. Your views will ensure our advice is grounded in robust evidence that includes your expertise, values and know-how,” the Department states. Hopefully there will be sceptical economics among the optimistic science.

Federation U bails in Brisbane, announcing its campus there is closing. The university cites “on-going low enrolments”.



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