The Scan #171 12 June 2015

Quell surpise

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News

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V-C salaries rocketing along

Rocket increase12 June 2015    |      Michael Spence, head of the University of Sydney, is  Australia’s highest paid vice-chancellor whose salary package increased by $120,000 last year to reach $1.3 million, an analysis by The Australian of annual reports shows.  He was followed by Greg Craven from the Australian Catholic University ($1.2m); Glyn Davis, University of Melbourne ($1.08m); and Peter Coaldrake, Queensland University of Technology ($1.06m).  In all, seven vice-chancellors had salary packages over $1m, including two who left or retired.  At the other end of the spectrum, the analysis of 2014 annual reports showed Kerry Cox, the recently retired head of Edith Cowan University, to be the country’s lowest paid vice-chancellor on $540,000. The analysis shows that the average salary was $835,000. Male vice-chancellors earned, on average, $853,000 while their eight female counterparts earned an average of $769,000.  A survey published by the Chronicle of Higher Education  found the average US university president earned $US428,250 ($557,040) — similar to Australia’s lowest paid university heads. Andrew Hamilton, head of Oxford, was on £442,000 ($880,000). The vice-chancellor of Cambridge, Leszek Borysiewicz,  wasn’t listed in the top 10 earners. The average UK vice-chancellor’s salary was $520,000….[ MORE ]….

SA govt backtracking on VET funding

12 June  2015    |   With the Commonwealth considering its VET funding options in South Australia , premier Jay Weatherill has indicated the SA TAFE SA 2government may soften its controversial approach to vocational education changes following warnings from private providers that they will be forced to close.  Private providers, business groups and some community groups have been dismayed by the state government’s  decision that TAFE SA would offer the majority of training places subsidised with government funding from 1 July.   TAFE SA and private providers previously shared the places on about a 50/50 split.  The Australian Council of Private Education and Training, representing private providers, says that unless the government relents, it will work with the Commonwealth and industry to develop a purchasing model that enables the $65 million allocated to South Australia for 2015/16 and 2016/17 to be directed to a contestable training market, ensuring South Australians’ have the opportunity to select the qualification and provider of their choice.  Weatherill said the Government was committed to transitioning SA’s training system to a feefor-service type of arrangement.   But he acknowledged the anger felt by private providers, including those who claimed they would be forced to shut their doors…..[ MORE ]…..

Monash to exit Berwick…?

Moansh Berwick12 June 2015   |     Monash University will make a decision about the fate of its Berwick campus by the end of the year, with discussions about divesting the 2000-student facility to another higher education provider already under way.  A possible departure from Berwick would follow Monash’s exit from its Gippsland campus, which is now run by Federation University after a transfer in January last year. A Monash spokesman said   the university  is discussing options to “ enhance provisions of opportunities in the southeast, including at Berwick, with other providers who could offer coursers aligned to the needs of students in the area.”  Students at Berwick first raised concerns about a planned departure with the campus, which offers degrees in business, nursing and education, last month following a meeting with Monash vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner. Victoria University is an early contender for a takeover of the 55ha campus, which opened in 1996 to serve Melbourne’s southeastern growth corridor….[ MORE ]….

Vocation hunkers down

12 June 2015     |  Embattled education group Vocation will slash the number of courses it offers by almost half and rebadge most of its remaining Vocation snipbusinesses in a two-year turnaround plan.New chief executive Stewart Cummins says will have the company making a profit again in 2015-16.  But it still faces further uncertainty over a number of regulatory audits in progress as authorities scrutinise the quality of courses and possible class actions.  Cummins said Vocation has already been through its lowest point and now faces a long and painstaking phase of rebuilding credibility among investors.  He said Vocation is still large enough to be a credible ASX-listed company even though it has slimmed down substantially through asset sales and closures of the BAWM and Aspin businesses in Victoria, which originally incurred the wrath of education regulators.  It will struggle to break even in 2014-15 on an underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation basis. The company has forecast its underlying EBITDA result would be between a $3 million loss or a $3 million profit depending on trading for the final few weeks…..[ MORE ]….

Academic gongs

Order of Australia28 June 2015      |        Over 700 people from across the broad spectrum of Australian society are recognised on the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the nation or to humanity at large. There were 170 women and 349 men appointed to the Order of Australia while a further 198 Australians were recognised through military and meritorious awards. 635 Australians have been recognised with Orders of Australia on Australia Day 2015, while a further 59 military and 130 meritorious awards were announced. Members of the tertiary education sector received 65 awards, particularly in the upper categories. These include 5 out of the 8 Companion awards (62%), 18 out of 44 Officer awards (31%) and 32 of 138 Member awards (23%), for about 33% of the higher awards – which is about on par with recent years. In the most common category of Medal, only 6 of 404 awards were tertiary sector related people (1.5%) – about half the recent norm. Women continue to be under represented with 33% of all awards, mainly in the Medal category – which is about the same as in the Australia Day List. Of the awards to people associated with the tertiary sector, we couldn’t identify any distinctively “VET people”….[ MORE ]….

“Sloppy practices” on international students

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12  June 2015    |     Sloppy student services and false attendance reporting are systemic problems plaguing overseas students at private education providers, the national Overseas Students Ombudsman has revealed. The Ombudsman released a new issues paper on poor compliance in the private education sector, based on 448 investigations into student complaints since the body’s establishment in 2011. It warned some providers were failing to intervene with at-risk students, allowing weak students to continue to study and fail. Student absences were also being miscalculated. Providers were marking students absent when they were merely late, or on days when it was a public holiday and there were no classes scheduled.  These failures posed serious consequences for international students, who risked being reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and being sent home if they failed to meet basic academic and attendance requirements as prescribed in their student visa…..[ MORE ]….

Students to rate Australia’s training system

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7 June 2015    |    Australia’s major survey of students for rating the nation’s vocational education and training (VET) system is underway. Around 310 000 students are being asked about their recent experience at a TAFE institute, private training provider, or adult and community education provider.Managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the annual Student Outcomes Survey provides information on VET students’ employment outcomes and satisfaction with their training.  Dr Craig Fowler, Managing Director, NCVER, said that it’s important for students to have their say because the survey provides vital feedback that helps inform and improve the sector for future students….[ MORE ]…..

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Milestones

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Eco champion gonged

 8  June 2015

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 Federation University Emeritus Professor Martin Westbrooke has been awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List. peers.

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martin-westbrookeFederation University Emeritus Professor Martin Westbrooke has been awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The award to Professor Westbrooke is for “service to ecology and to environmental management”.

“It is an honour to receive this award for my career and work in ecology and environmental management,” Professor Westbrooke said.

“I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to combine my two passions, teaching and the environment in what has been a rewarding career, predominantly at Federation University Australia and its antecedent institutions.

“It is a great reward to see the many Environmental Management graduates from Ballarat making a major contribution across all states of Australia.

He said that a  career highlight has been the establishment of Nanya Station as a nationally significant nature reserve and a key component of the National Reserve System.

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Comment  & analysis

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ASQA by the numbers

11 June 2015

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At a recent ACPET forum (9 June), ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson provided details of the agency’s regulatory activities since it commenced operations in July 2011.

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RegulationASQA now covers the activities 3898 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), 85.2 % of all RTOs.   Some 357 RTOs (7.8% ) remain under the jurisdiction of the   Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority (the Victorian government is considering options to transfer regulatory responsibility to ASQA, although the numbers covered by the VRQA have declined from 583 in 2011) and 318 RTOs (7%) remain with the WA Training Accreditation Council.

According to Robinson,  to the end of 2014, ASQA had approved about 600 new RTOs but the overall number of RTOs in its jurisdiction had declined by about 400, meaning that, for one reason or another, 1000 existing  RTOs in 2011 had folded by 2014 (this is not actually shown in his presentation).  This includes 83 RTOs whose registration ASQA cancelled and 134 RTOs whose re-registration was refused.

ASQA had received 24159 applications to the end of 2014, 20052 (83%) of which were for change of scope of registration (add or remove qualifications), 2416 (10%) for renewal of registration and 1691 (7%) for initial registration.  ASQA had completed 23,575 (96.7%) of these applications.

ASQA has refused 669 of these applications (about 2.7%) – 142 initial applications, 134 renewal applications and 393 change of scope applications. ASQA says this means 6.1% of renewal applications were refused, 15.1% initial registration applications (although on the above figures, it seems about half that) and about 2% of change of scope applications.

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Who should go to university?

 Everyone, or just enough people to fill skilled jobs?

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 We have more people going to university in Australia than ever before. In 1971 only 2% of the population over 15 years old held a Bachelor’s degree, in 2013 it was 25%. Last year a whopping 1,149,300 people were enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree or above.  However, graduate employment rates are falling. This leads many to ask whether too many people are going to university. Should everyone go to university or just the correct number to be able to fill highly skilled jobs in Australia?  asks Leo Goedegebuure (University of Melbourne), writing in The Conversation.

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UNIVERSITY STOCK

 More education, the more benefits for all

Philosophically, I am all in favour of providing a university experience to as many students as possible. The positive external effects of a highly educated population include reduced crime rates and better health outcomes with associated lower public costs. Equally, it leads to stronger societies and communities, stronger democracies and, although slowly, it helps in reducing socio-economic inequalities.

And we should not forget the formative impact that “going to college” has on individuals, ranging from personal growth to greater job satisfaction once graduated.

While universal higher education is a positive goal in many aspects, not everyone will have the ability necessary to complete a degree. A recent report to the US Senate provided a painful reminder that universal tertiary education is not only about enrolling students, but equally about making sure they graduate and that subsequently they are in a position to repay their loans. Repayment, as the data shows, goes hand in hand with completion and finding a job.

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Life  & stuff

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Sing & stay calm

11 June 2015

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Music does indeed have charms to soothe a savage breast.

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Research shows that even high-tempo rock, such as  the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Power of Equality, can lower heart rate and blood pressure.   Music with a 10-second rhythm that mirrors the patterns of the cardiovascular system has a calming effect, particularly when volunteers were played Guiseppe Verdi’s Va pensiero (Chorus of the ­Hebrew slaves).

Music is used in many situ­ations such as in surgery but the music is not properly chosen: “…it’s someone else’s idea of what’s soothing,” said Peter Sleight of the University of Oxford. His interest was piqued when he discovered Ave Maria sung in Latin had 10-second phrases that co­incided with the rhythm by which the brain regulates the heart rate.

With colleagues at a hospital in Pavia, Italy, he played in random order to 24 volunteers six different styles of music found to have similar 10-second phrases, including the Chili Peppers , Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Indian sitar ragas and the Italian club DJ Gigi D’Agostino’s You Spin Me Round.

We were surprised to find it had nothing to do with the musical performance and it worked for everyone — if they heard a 10-second rhythm, it had a calming effect.

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One Hundred Stories

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Monash University’s commemoration of the Great War.

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Wall of Commemoration
The One Hundred Stories are a silent presentation. They remember not just the men and women who lost their lives, but also those who returned to Australia, the gassed, the crippled, the insane, all those irreparably damaged by war. The Great War shaped the world as well as the nation. Its memory belongs to us all.

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Noticeboard

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ACPET Conference

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TDA Conf 2015

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Velg conf

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The VET Store

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The VET Store is a  service by the VET Development Centre which provides access to a range of information to support VET practitioners in the work they do.

VET Development Centre

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Click to listen

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Radio Double Karma on Pandora

Adult contemporary music

The Fray…London Grammar…Leonard Cohen…Dixie Chicks…Peter Gabriel…Of Monsters and Men…Krishna Das…Cold Play…Snow Patrol….Clck hereAretha Franklin

You do need to sign up to listen but it’s free (for the first 40 hours a month)

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