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Posted in ACPET, AEU, Budget, Government, Grattan Institute, Higher education policy, La Trobe University, LH Martin Institute, Life & stuff, NMIT, Notices, Qualifications, Society, TAFE, The Scan, universities, University budgets, University reform, university staffing, VET, Vocational education & training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • La Trobe cuts economics

    Posted at 8:57 am
    Jul 4th

    The Australian     |   27 June 2014

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    La Trobe University is planning to cut about 69 academic positions in its business, economic and law faculty with economics, accounting, management and marketing the worst hit.
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    La-Trobe_Logo_x2Academic staff in economics will be cut by almost two-thirds to just 10 under a proposed restructure circulated to staff .

    The Australian reports that academic staff positions in accounting will be cut in half from something currently over 30, though about eight new positions will be created.  La Trobe wasn’t able to confirm the exact number of jobs that will be lost in economics, but economics professor Harry Clarke has posted on his blog that proposed cuts will reduce academic positions from 28 to 10.

    This includes three professorial positions being scrapped with room for only one ongoing professor in the new structure.

    The number of associate professors will be cut back from five to just two. In economics La Trobe has already announced that its stand-alone economics degree will be dropped in 2015.

    The cuts are part of La Trobe vice chancellor John Dewar’s widespread cost-cutting restructure of the university in which 350 jobs are expected to be shed in a bid to save money for future investment in research and teaching.

    Posted in La Trobe University | Tagged , , , ,
  • La Trobe facing strike amid job cuts

    Posted at 10:34 am
    Mar 24th

    NTEU News   |   14 March 2014

    The Australian    |    15 March 2014

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    NTEU members at La Trobe University have voted to strike on 26 and 27 March across the university’s campuses as the university’s plan to cut 350 jobs inflamed stalled pay negotiations. …………………………………………………………………………………………………

    nteu-logoThe union says the job cuts are unnecessary and has demanded management agree to a pay increases of around 3% a year.  Management have offered an 11 per cent pay rise over four years — an average 2.75% annual increase.

    NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long says the cost cutting agenda isn’t an excuse to offer a below-sector pay rise because it was driven by management’s spending plans rather than by a financial crisis.

    The NTEU also claims the university intends to increase the number of students studying at the university at the same time as sacking hundreds of staff.  Student numbers have increased by 1,300 in this year alone.

    NTEU La Trobe Branch President Virginia Mansel Lees asked how can it be an improvement to the university to have more students and less staff ?

    A La Trobe spokesman said the union has been made well aware of the need for productivity improvements.La-Trobe_Logo_x2

    He said the staff cuts are necessary and integral to efforts to cut costs by up to $65 million so money can be redirected to boosting the university’s research performance.

    Posted in La Trobe University, National Tertiary Education Union | Tagged , , , ,
  • Swisse hits back over supplements research

    Posted at 9:38 pm
    Mar 5th

    Various     |     5 March 2014

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    SwisseVitamin company Swisse has retaliated at critics of its deal with La Trobe University, in which the university signed a $15 million six-year deal with the company to research its products. The university says the memorandum of understanding with the company is an important step towards establishing a complementary medicine centre.

    But Dr Ken Harvey, a public health expert, consumer advocate and an adjunct professor in the university’s school of public health, quit saying the deal is “fraught with conflicts of interest” and damaging to La Trobe’s reputation.

    Radek Sali, Swisse CEO, targeted Harvey, suggesting that, as Harvey is heading into retirement , it was just “a publicity stunt for a final farewell”.

    But, according to The Australian, Harvey is not going anywhere fast. He’s secured an adjunct position at another university that had previously turned down Swisse. The The Australian’s Julie Hare, has put “10 bucks on the table he’s heading to Monash.” The smart money is with Hare.

    Here, the ABC’s PM program, strangely enough, covers both sides of the argument.

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    abc logoMARK COLVIN: The vitamin and supplement company Swisse Wellness has launched a strident defence of its deal to fund a research centre at Melbourne’s La Trobe University.

    Under the deal, the company will contribute $15 million over six years to establish the centre, which would scientifically examine the quality and efficacy of its products.

    A prominent public health academic has resigned from the university over the deal, saying it’s a conflict of interest which will tarnish the university’s reputation.

    But Swisse says there’s nothing new in its plan because pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies already contribute about two-thirds of the total funding for medical research in Australia.

    Ashley Hall reports.

    ASHLEY HALL: When La Trobe University announced a little over a month ago that it had signed a deal with Swisse Wellness to fund a complementary medicine research centre, it ignited a storm of comment among academics.

    The university’s world-renowned public health physician, Ken Harvey, felt so strongly he submitted his resignation.

    Dr Harvey has long campaigned against what he argues are misleading claims made by the complementary medicine company about its products, and in his view, the $15 million deal represents a conflict of interest for the new centre and the staff involved.

    Ken Harvey

    Ken Harvey

    KEN HARVEY: It’s a touch ironic, they appear to be wanting to perform research to prove efficacy, which they’re meant to have proven already. In practice, you know, I believe that this is just a marketing deal.

    ASHLEY HALL: It’s taken about a month for the vitamin and supplements giant to formally respond to concerns about the deal.

    In a strongly-worded statement, Swisse today outlined the objectives of its research plan and defended the probity of its relationship with La Trobe University.

    Radek Sali is the chief executive of Swiss Wellness. He spoke to me from the United States on a scratchy mobile phone line.

    RADEK SALI: We went through an extensive process with many universities across Australia, and they met all of the criteria that was essential to us. And part of that was the independent research, ticking government support, and having the right facilities and a team to be able to execute a number of vast scientific and clinical trials on our behalf.

    ASHLEY HALL: Swisse points out that pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies contribute about two-thirds of total funding for research in those areas, and that of the $800 million of government money available for health and medical research, only $800,000 is allocated to complementary and alternative medical research.

    So Radek Sali asks: why shouldn’t industry-funded research take up the slack?

    RADEK SALI: If you look at all of the top 10 prescribed drugs here in Australia, there are industry funded trials that back up the evidence that support the use of those products.

    ASHLEY HALL: But Dr Ken Harvey, who’s also a member of the government’s Complementary Medicines Review Panel, says there’s an important distinction in this case.

    KEN HARVEY: That research is put to the independent regulators, the Therapeutics Goods Administration, it’s evaluated independently to see if that product should get up. Now, that’s very different to complementary medicines, and it’s very different to what Swisse is proposing.

    ASHLEY HALL: In criticising of the company, Dr Harvey refers to a case decided last year, in which a complaint resolution panel asked the company to withdraw 20 advertisements containing claims that couldn’t be supported by evidence.

    But Swisse’s chief executive Radek Sali rejects the suggestion the company has misled the public in its advertising.

    RADEK SALI: For 14 years prior to it was signed off by a representative of the TGA, and yes it went before a CRP panel, and they found otherwise. So for us, we respect that decision. We don’t necessarily agree with it, we’re abiding by it. We’ve never had to print a retraction. It was a minor issue, minor semantic issue. We haven’t been fined.

    ASHLEY HALL: That’s not the way Dr Harvey sees it.

    KEN HARVEY: The CEO can talk about complaints that were upheld, about the company misusing research results, claiming ‘clinically proven’ when the data wasn’t there, he can call that mere semantics, I call that pretty serious stuff.

    ASHLEY HALL: This has also become quite personal. The statement that the company put out today had a go at you, suggesting that your resignation was simply designed to attract attention to yourself, that you were planning retirement anyway. How do you respond to that?

    KEN HARVEY: Look it’s true I was – I turn 70 this year, I was planning actually to slow down and retire at the end of this year. That had nothing to do with my resignation from La Trobe, which was purely in concern with the deal proposed with Swisse.

    But again, I think Swisse will be happy to know that as a result of the publicity and many colleagues asking me to keep on keeping on, I have postponed by retirement. And equally well, another university that turned down the Swisse offer has in fact invited me to be an adjunct professor at their university, and I have accepted that.

    ASHLEY HALL: For its part, Swisse also accuses Dr Harvey of hypocrisy for criticising the lack of available research to support complementary medicines, while opposing a research project that might address that.

    The company argues its critics are acting on their own vested interests, specifically strong links to the pharmaceutical industry.

    That’s a view Dr Harvey rejects.

    Posted in La Trobe University, Research, The Scan | Tagged , ,
  • The Scan

    Posted at 9:06 am
    Mar 1st

    1 March 2014

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    Job cuts at La Trobe

    La-Trobe_Logo_x228 February 2014 | La Trobe University has confirmed it is cutting 350 jobs as part of a restructure. University management told staff at a meeting this afternoon. It is understood the redundancies are compulsory, and will affect the university’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north west as well as its regional Victorian campuses….[ MORE ]….

    TEQSA shake upcut red tape

    28 February 2014 | The government has introduced a bill to radically restructure the national higher education regulatory agency.The bill provides for a spill of the positions of the five commissioners who run the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency TEQSA. The position of chief commissioner and chief executive, held by Carol Nicoll, will be split in two and Nicoll’s position as chief commissioner terminated 21 days after the law coming into effect. The other 4 commissioner positions will terminate in three months, during which time the positions will be advertised….[ MORE ]….

    Big six dominate

    QS226 February 2014 | Melbourne was Australia’s best performing university in the QS World University Ranking by Subject being placed first nationally in 12 of the 30 disciplines. Melbourne was particularly strong in education, science, maths and technology subjects, ranking first nationally in eight of the 16 subject areas. Conversely, the Australian National University, dominated in the arts and humanities, ranking first nationally and in the top 20 globally in five of the six subject areas. But the dominance of Melbourne and ANU, along with Sydney, Monash, the University of Queensland and the University of NSW, left little room for other institutions that excel in their fields….[ MORE ]….

    Giddy quitsAndy Giddy

    26 February 2014 | Just weeks after the launch of NMIT’s joint venture Melbourne Polytechnic at the former Prahran campus of Swinburne, NMIT CEO Andrew (Andy) Giddy has suddenly resigned. There’s speculation that NMIT is in a parlous financial situation due to polytechnic project and declining enrolments. A media statement from NMIT merely confirms that Giddy and NMIT have parted ways….[ MORE ]….

    RMIT dumps the TAFE brand

    RMIT24 February 2014 | RMIT vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner has announced that RMIT is availing itself of recent changes in Victorian government legislation to dump its standing as an institute of technical and further education – a public TAFE. It will continue to provide vocational education, linked to its aim to be a “a global university of technology and design”….[ MORE ]….

    Hall to retire<a href=”https://intermediatescan.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/peter-hall-6288497.jpg”&gt;peter-hall-6288497

    24 February 2014 | After more than a quarter of a century in parliament as Nationals MLC for Eastern Victoria , Victorian skills and higher education minister Peter Hall is to call it quits and won’t contest the next state election, at the end of November…..[ MORE ]….

    Melbourne Polytechnic launched

    Melb Poly320 February 2014 | Melbourne Polytechnic, a new educational institution operated by Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), has opened at the former Prahran campus of Swinburne University in Melbourne. It currently has around 80 programs on offer ranging from vocational certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas and a growing selection of higher education programs ….[ MORE ]….

    Teacher education needs a “lick of paint” – CravenLick of paint

    20 February 2014 | Minister for education Christopher Pyne has appointed Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, to chair an eight-member Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group. Reporting later this year, the group will undertake extensive public and stakeholder consultation focusing on three key areas: pedagogical approaches; subject content; and professional experience ….[ MORE ]….

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    24 February 2014

    Turning back the news when it’s safe to do so

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    The inimitable Clarke and Dawe on the growing assault on the ABC

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    Day after day, The Australian leads the assault, with its editorial pen dipped in vitriol and its reporting none too balanced. It doesn’t think much of vice-chancellors and universities either, as shown in this recent editorial (National broadcaster has lost the plot and prestige). Of course The Australian isn’t disinterested: references to “spread to thin” and “multiple platforms, across the vast terrestrial plain and in the digital ether” is code for the ABC should get out of its 24 TV news service, which competes head-on with Sky News, of which The Australian’s parent (News Australia) is a major shareholder.

    read-more-button2

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    Join Together for Better Care

    1 person in 20 is affected by a rare disease.
    Over 6000 different rare diseases affect children and adults.
    Most are genetic, chronic and debilitating.
    But above all they isolate patients and their families.
    International Rare Disease Day is 28 February 2014.
    This year Rare Disease Day encourages us to continue finding ways to work together to provide the different kinds of care that people living with a rare disease need.

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    Is there something interesting near where you live and/or work? Got an interesting story? Got an event coming up? Tell us about it!

    subscribe

    Posted in La Trobe University, Life & stuff, Melbourne Polytechnic, National Tertiary Education Union, NMIT, Queensland University, Rankings, RMIT, Scan Main Edition, Swinburne, TAFE, TEQSA, Tertiary media, The Scan, universities, University of Melbourne, University of NSW, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University reform, university staffing | Tagged , , , , , , , ,
  • Job cuts at La Trobe

    Posted at 4:50 pm
    Feb 28th

    ABC Online    |     28 February 2014

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    La Trobe University has confirmed it is cutting 350 jobs as part of a restructure.

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    La-Trobe_Logo_x2University management told staff at a meeting this afternoon.

    It is understood the redundancies are compulsory, and will affect the university’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north west as well as its regional Victorian campuses.

    Virginia Mansel-Lees of the National Tertiary Education Union says it is not known what faculties will be targeted.

    “Staff are outraged and also worried about their jobs and job security, wondering whether their area will be targeted, if so how that will happen,” she said.

    But she says the mass redundancies have not come as a surprise.

    “We thought it would be anywhere between three and 400 so it’s probably about mid-point.

    “But it’s a lot of jobs across the university, and it will mean particular areas may no longer be undertaken and we don’t know the detail of that as yet and probably won’t know that until April,” she said.

    In a statement, the university said the “changes” would be felt right across La Trobe University.

    John DewarVice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the university would “retain and strengthen what is most important.”

    “La Trobe University is on track to implement a series of efficiency and quality-driven reforms that will position the university for a stronger future,” he said.

    “But we must change the way we work and how we structure ourselves to become a more efficient, effective and agile organisation,” Prof. Dewar said.

    “The vast bulk of the 2,666 FTE (full-time employee) continuing staff – more than 85 per cent – would take up positions under a proposed new structure, but there would be approximately 350 FTE less positions required,” he said.

    Posted in Industrial relations, La Trobe University, National Tertiary Education Union | Tagged , , , ,
  • Melbourne Polytechnic launched

    Posted at 5:24 pm
    Feb 20th

    20 February 2014

    Australia’s newest tertiary education and training institution launched

    Melb Poly3Situated on the site of the former Swinburne University Prahran campus, Melbourne Polytechnic is a new educational brand operated by parent Institute, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT).

    The Melbourne Polytechnic currently has around 80 programs on offer ranging from vocational certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas and a growing selection of higher education programs.  Students can choose from courses in design, visual arts, theatre arts, music performance, digital media, writing and editing, and photography plus studies in business, hospitality, beauty, community studies, and more.

    Melbourne Poly will enrol about 600 students in 2014 and is planned to grow to about 2000 students.

    Melbourne Poly has also committed to a partnership with La Trobe University which will see La Trobe University programs delivered as part of the new institution. The first of these programs, The Bachelor of Agriculture and Technology, will be delivered at NMIT Epping campus although it is likely that La Trobe programs will also be delivered through Melbourne Polytechnic’s Prahran campus into the future. This partnership is seen as central to the future success of the new Polytechnic.

    Speaking at the launch, NMIT/Melbourne Polytechnic CEO, Andy Giddy said:

    The establishment of Melbourne Polytechnic at Prahran opens up significant opportunities for the communities of central and south east Melbourne.  We’re very excited to be continuing the educational heritage of the Prahran site and look forward to delivering high quality and affordable vocational and higher education to the region.

    Victorian higher education minister Peter Hall described the new institution as an example of an “innovative and responsive approach to education that meets the needs of the community and industry.”

    La Trobe university vice-chancellor John Dewar called for a revision of Australia’s Higher Education Threshold Standards to allow formal recognition of university-type institutions with an orientation to teaching rather than research – institutions which are common throughout the rest of the world.

    With a reputed going price of  up to $40 million, the Prahran campus has initially been leased from Swinburne for a five year period while financing options for purchase are explored.

    One option is sub-leasing part of the site to an international hotel school.

    Giddy has flagged NMIT asset “rationalisations” noting that it is in the process of seeking buyers for its Greensborough campus. He said expressions of interest in Greensborough could go out within the next few months.

    Labor’s higher education and skills spokesman Steve Herbert said this would be “indefensible” and that NMIT would be  duty bound to invest any proceeds from Greensborough in the north. He claimed NMIT would effectively be taking money out of the north to “bail out” the Napthine government from a political problem in Prahran, a government-held seat.

     

    RELATED

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    NMIT & La Trobe create polytechnic

    13 August 2013     |   Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT)  and La Trobe University  have announced  they are joining together to create Melbourne Polytechnic.   La Trobe and NMIT plan to commence the partnership with a suite of agriculturally oriented degrees to build on La Trobe’s and NMIT’s strengths in these areas.   Courses under the partnership will be conferred as accredited La Trobe University degrees and will attract the Commonwealth subsidy (“Commonwealth Supported Places” – CSPs). …..[ READ MORE ]….

    UC joins with TAFEs to create poly network

    31 May 2013 |   A new network of tertiary institutions is seeking to harness the best of vocational and higher education.The Australian Polytechnic Network (APN) is being founded by the University of Canberra, Melbourne’s Holmesglen Institute, Northern Sydney Institute, South Western Sydney Institute and Brisbane’s Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE.….[ READ MORE ]….

    Posted in La Trobe University, Melbourne Polytechnic, NMIT | Tagged , , ,
  • Things to do

    Posted at 6:49 pm
    Dec 30th

    iTunes U

    itunesu

    If you’ve got an Apple device – iPad, iPhone or iPod – you can improve your mind while you’re relaxing on the beach – cue up ancient Roman history or physics podcasts on La Trobe University’s iTunesU.

    Find out_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Summer School for Gardeners 

    Open GardensOpen Gardens Australia and the University of Melbourne are conducting the  inaugural Summer School for Gardeners – Keeping Gardening Down to Earth at Melbourne’s Burnley campus 22-24 January 2014.  The three-day seminar and workshop program will provide opportunities to learn about the latest gardening practices and contemporary horticultural issues from some of Australia’s most respected horticultural, environmental and gardening experts.

    Find out____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Music, Melbourne & Me:

    40 years of Mushroom and Melbourne’s Popular Music Culture 

    A celebration of the last four decades of popular music represented through music, songs, posters, photographs, costumes, memorabilia and iconic rock venues.

    RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne, from 19 November to 3 March, 2014. Entry is free.

    Opening hours are 11am till 5pm (Monday to Friday), 11am to 7 pm (Thursdays), 12 noon to 5 pm (Saturdays). Closed Sundays and public holidays.

    Mushroom

    Mushroom records 40th Anniversary Concert, Dz Deathrays at Thousand £ Bend, 2013. Photo: Noel Smyth.

    Posted in La Trobe University, Life & stuff, University of Melbourne | Tagged
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