The Commonwealth government has announced $78 million in funding for three university projects under the regional funding round of the Education Investment Fund program. The University of South Australia will receive $18 million for a new learning centre at its Mt Gambier campus and upgraded facilities at Whyalla; the University of Wollongong will receive $31 million for an Early Start – Changing Children’s Futures project; and the University of New England will receive $29 million for its Integrated Agricultural Education Project.
A proposal to create a body something like an Australian Universities Commission as a “buffer” between the Commonwealth government and the university has received a cool reception at a “plenary session” of Universities Australia (UA). the sector’s concerns about such a body ranged from general uncertainty over the role of such a commission to fears it would only increase red tape and confusion. There is also a belief in the sector that it is unrealistic to expect any contemporary government to accept such a check on its control over the sector.
The public TAFE is doing more to address Australia’s skills shortage than private providers, according to a new paper from the Centre for Policy Development. The paper that found that in Victoria 29% of TAFE students are being trained to fill jobs affected by the skills shortage, compared to less than 20% of students in private training facilities. According to the paper, the TAFE sector also provides greater benefit to wider society than other education providers. Nationally, TAFE has a greater share of disabled students (7.2%) than the private education sector (4.2%), and also had a greater regional and rural footprint.
The Gillard government has dumped plans to use the controversial US generic Collegiate Learning Assessment test tomeasure student outcomes, accepting the advice of a reference group that CLA not be used because it is “unreliable and not fit for purpose”. Tertiary education minister Chris Evans committed to introducing a new university experience survey from next year, the results of which are to be published on the MyUniversity website. A graduate-outcomes survey will also be developed and introduced next year.
Victoria University has confirmed its intention to overhaul its traditional pathway programs by redesigning its qualifications into an integrated or seamless line rather than having separately-designed single qualifications. According to pro-vice chancellor teaching and learning, Margaret Mazzolini, it will mean that instead of students having to navigate pathways and transfers, it will happen without the students knowing. The cornerstone of VU’s “blue print” for curriculum reform over the next three-to-five years is the creation of low-ATAR entry Career-Start bachelor degrees from 2014.
The Victorian Labor opposition has announced that a future Victorian Labor Government will “invest in the TAFE system to ensure that all Victorians have affordable access to education and training”. Opposition leader Daniel Andrews stated “as all Victorians deserve the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to secure employment [to] provide a future for themselves and their families”, funding TAFE will be Labor’s first budget priority, with additional funding coming from savings obtained from the crack down on unscrupulous providers. Andrews has specifically committed Labor to restoring “full service provision” funding to TAFE to enable TAFEs to provide comprehensive training opportunities and student services.
21 November 2012 | The University of Canberra will increase students from 14,000 to 21,000 by 2018 with the help of $26 million in Commonwealth funding signed off on this week. ….[Continue reading]…
20 November 2012 | Regional Universities Network (RUN) vice-chancellors have signed an accord formalising collaborative arrangements in teaching and learning, regional policy development, research and research training, and international activities….[Continue reading]…
20 November 2012 | Staff at the University of Western Sydney will protest over proposed staff and course cuts on Wednesday 21 November over staff cuts that will result from large cuts to the university’s 400 different units of study on offer….[Continue reading]…
19 November 2012 | Universities Australia’s first overarching policy paper will include statements about how higher education can contribute more to the national economy and will contain findings of a study which showed the vast majority of Australian parents want their children to get a degree. ….[Continue reading]…
18 November 2012 | Western Australian training providers took out two of the major awards at the 2012 Australian Training Awards, with Challenger Institute of Technology pinging the Large Training Provider gong and LabTech Training being the recipient of the Small training provider Award….[Continue reading]…
17 November 2012 | The positions of 114 Riverina Institute staff will disappear after the Defence Department cancelled the TAFE’s long-running contract to run the National Aerospace Training Centre of Excellence at Wagga Wagga RAAF base….[Continue reading]…
16 November 2012 | A survey by Queensland University of Technology of 285 applicants for National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC) research funding reveals applicants spent an average 34 working days writing an application. ….[Continue reading]…
16 November 2012 | Rampaging growth in diploma completions augers well for a key Council of Australian Governments target, and contradicts suggestions that different targets are working at cross-purposes. …..[Continue reading]…
The Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education is designed for teachers in higher education and high level VET programs in TAFE institutes and private providers.
22 November 2012
Progress towards the governments participation target for students of lw SES background has been both slow and uneven. Tim Pitman of the University of Western Australia suggests how this might be improved.
According to the Federal Government, Australian public universities need to be more inclusive, particularly when it comes to enrolling poorer students. They’ve set a target to have 20% of undergraduate students enrolled in our universities from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds by the year 2020.
The most recent figures show that in 2011, 15.7% of students in our public universities were low-SES, up from 15.0% in 2008, when the policy pressure started.
On the one hand, it’s a very small increase. On the other hand, it’s the highest it has ever been.
However, most of the heavy lifting of low-SES enrolments continues to be done by regional universities. The more elite universities remain as inaccessible as they have always been. Low-SES enrolments in the Group of Eight (Go8) universities averaged 8.7% in 2011. This was actually worse than in 2007, when Julia Gillard (then the Minister for Education) started talking about a review.
Dr James Arvanitakis from the University of Western Sydney has been announced as the 2012 Prime Minister’s Australian University Teacher of the Year. Over the last three years Arvanitakis has concentrated on two areas: enhancing the first year experience and working with some of the University’s most gifted students as Academic Course Adviser Bachelor of Arts (Dean’s Scholars). This has included working closely with many first year students who are the first family members to attend university, come from low socioeconomic households and have ethnically diverse backgrounds. Arvanitakis has developed a number of innovative techniques and approaches to both engage and assist ‘at risk’ students through difficult times, as this profile suggests.
23 November 2012
When James Arvanitakis’s students go online for one of his lectures, they won’t get a dull recording. They may find him wearing a motorbike helmet and sunglasses in a library as he discusses appearance and racism or doing a jig in front of the Eiffel Tower as part of a tutorial on globalisation.
For this sociology academic at the University of Western Sydney, it’s about thinking like a “pirate” and plundering experiences to captivate students.
23 November 2012
It’s long been known that tea is beneficial to health but more in-depth studies are slowly furthering our understanding of “why”. It’s a pretty impressive list of claimed benefits, from lowering blood pressure to improving bone density. In this repost from September, we give instruction on how to make the perfect cup of tea, particularly addressing the issue of adding first or last, an issue that has long divided polite society.
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Sector news sources
Campus Review 12 November 2012.
TAFE Directors Australia Newsletter 12November 2012.
Australian Financial Review supplement15 October 2012.
ATN In Profile October 2012.
Group of 8 Update November 2012.