9 September 2014
9 September 2014
4 July 2014 | The government has set out its deregulatory intentions for vocational training, signalling a shift away from “gateway control” to “responsive regulation”. Speaking at a skills summit organised by the Australian Council of Private Education and Training and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, industry minister Ian Macfarlane said the government had “revisited” the work of the now abolished National Skills Standards Council (NSCC) and released new draft standards for training providers and regulators. The proposed standards dump what the minister described as” several of the more contentious reforms” proposed by the former NSSC, notably measures that would have strengthened Registered Training Organisation (RTO) entry (“gateway”) standards, including a change from registered training organisation to licensed training organisation. The proposed requirement for all RTOs to have an “Accountable Education Officer” has also been removed.. …..[ MORE ]….
4 July 2014 | Claire Field, the respected chief executive of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), has resigned. ACPET said Ms Field is leaving to pursue “new challenges” after four years in the job. Company secretary Larry Davies is now acting CEO pending the appointment of a permanent successor. The suddenness of the departure caught the sector by surprise, but ACPET chairman Martin Cass said it was entirely her decision to leave to pursue other opportunities and there was nothing to read into her departure. He said Ms Field has made a significant contribution to the private education and training sector during her four years as CEO of ACPET. Ms Field has been a strong advocate for ACPET members during a period of substantial change in both the higher education and vocational education and training sectors. She has also been instrumental in strengthening ACPET’s focus on quality and lifting membership standards…..[ MORE ]….
4 Jly 2014 | Analysis by Leesa Wheelahan of recent VET statistics shows that TAFE’s share of publicly funded in Australia students is now 55.6%. In Victoria TAFE’s share of publicly funded students has fallen to 37.4%, while in South Australia it has fallen to 52.3%. Private providers now teach the majority of students in Victoria (50.5%), and they teach 44% of publicly funded students in South Australia. Wheelahan concludes that TAFE is “fast becoming a residual provider, left with teaching what the private providers don’t want to or can’t teach….It is forcing TAFE to be just like a private provider, with the narrow concerns of a private provider.”…..[ MORE ]….
4 July 2014 | 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. Academic staff in economics will be cut by almost two-thirds to just 10 under a proposed restructure circulated to staff ……[ MORE ]….
4 July 2014 | Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), one of Victoria’s biggest TAFEs will cut up to 170 teaching and administrative jobs, after reporting a loss of nearly $30 million and a fall in student enrolments by more than 5000 in 2013. NMIT’s interim chief executive Ron Gauci said he had been briefing staff on the changes He said the range of redundancies, between 150 and 170, included positions that had already been cut this year…..[ MORE ]….
3 July 2014 | The Chancellor of Deakin University, David Morgan said that Professor den Hollander “has provided inspirational and highly effective leadership to Deakin University at a time of significant change to the tertiary sector.
During her stewardship, Deakin’s reputation and standing in the community has significantly strengthened. Deakin has been the highest ranked Victorian university each year for overall student learning satisfaction and student numbers have grown 26 per cent to a projected 50,000 by the end of 2014.
3 July 2014 | Sam Henson has been announced as Federation University Australia’s Head of Ballarat Campuses. Formerly Associate Dean for International and Partnerships, Dr Henson will take up the new position on 1 July. The position will entail broad oversight of the campuses as well as a role in building deep and lasting partnerships with Ballarat community, government and industry stakeholders.
3 July 2014 | The likely extension of commonwealth student subsidies to non-university providers portends big changes for the higher education sector.
Higher education provision outside universities is likely to increase significantly in the future, as a result of the government accepting a recommendation of the review of the demand driven funding system to expand eligibility for government-supported tuition subsidies, should the measure pass the Senate.
In this panel discussion chaired by the Grattan Institute’s Andrew Norton, a member of the review panel, the nature of the non-university higher education sector, the implications for it and its students of receiving Commonwealth tuition subsidies, and the consequences for the broader higher education system are explored. Other panel members are Mary Faraone (Holmesglen Institute), Jeannie Rea (National Tertiary Education Union) and George Brown (Study Group Australasia).
3 July 2014 | The Scan has long been a proponent of “teaching only universities” (see One size does not fit all unis). In this piece in The Conversation, Gavin Moodie observes that there is no reason in principle, practice nor historical precedent to champion or oppose teaching only universities. But were the research requirement of universities removed from the higher education threshold standards he doesn’t expect any current Australian university to relinquish its research role. Rightly or wrongly, he writes, research has become so embedded in universities’ ethos and activities since the 1960s that it is central to all universities and to most academics’ conception of themselves as universities and as university academics. Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of Australian Catholic University, argues that teaching only institutions would not be universities as we know them (no, they would not be, which is the point) and would impoverish students’ educational experience (why would being exposed to good or excellent teaching and scholarship impoverish a student??).
With higher education changes meaning universities will soon be looking for ways to cut costs, many have been wondering if universities will give up on research to focus on where the money is – teaching students.
Teaching-only universities have long been contentious in Australia. Various people, interests and arguments promote teaching only universities, while other bodies and arguments support the Australian status quo.
In Australia, the higher education threshold standards restrict the title of university to institutions which conduct research and offer research masters and doctorates in at least three broad fields of study. The threshold standards are a regulation that may be changed by the government, if it is allowed by both houses of federal parliament.
Australia is unusual in making research a condition of designation as a university. Most institutions accepted as universities worldwide conduct no research, such as many universities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Requirements differ across the OECD.
Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Massachusetts in the US make research a condition of designation as a university, but England and California do not. All universities in Ontario in Canada conduct research, but British Columbia has a category of teaching-only universities which were formerly community colleges before upgrading as university colleges and then as universities.
Research was established as an institutional role of universities relatively recently. Research has long been a personal activity of scholars, some of whom were located in universities, but it did not emerge as an institutional role until the 19th century.
Even so, a research role for universities was rejected by Cardinal Newman in his famous lectures on The Idea of a University as late as 1853. Research has been an institutional role of universities for only about one-fifth of their history since the establishment of the first European universities in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The 2014 TDA National Conference will be held in Sydney at the Sheraton on the Park from 31 August – 2 September. Earlybird and group registration discounts close on 7 July.
In his book Making the Modern World, Vaclav Smil argues that the most important man-made material is concrete, both in terms of the amount we produce each year and the total mass we’ve laid down. Concrete is the foundation (literally) for the massive expansion of urban areas of the past several decades, which has been a big factor in cutting the rate of extreme poverty in half since 1990. In 1950, the world made roughly as much steel as cement (a key ingredient in concrete); by 2010, steel production had grown by a factor of 8, but cement had gone up by a factor of 25.
This animated GIF shows the dramatic transformation of Shanghai since 1987. Most of what you’re seeing in that picture is concrete, steel, and glass:
A staggering statistic:
‘No Frills’ is a well-known annual national conference, hosted by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, where researchers and practitioners in the vocational education and training (VET) sector come together to present, discuss and share information about key issues confronting the sector. The conference also provides professional development opportunities for new and existing researchers.
Is there something interesting near where you live and/or work? Got an interesting story? Got an event coming up? Tell us about it!
Table of Contents
ABC News | 5 June 2014
The University of Melbourne plans to cut 540 administrative jobs (15% of the non-academic workforce) by January 2016 as part of a $70 million savings program. The job cuts do not include academic staff.
It was not an easy message to deliver, or receive, that the university has to undertake this reduction in the total number of professional staff. We are hopeful we can minimise the impact on staff through natural attrition as the university had a turnover of 635 professional staff last year, and 580 the previous year.
We will focus on reducing the total number of casual and fixed term staff where we can and offer minimal redundancies.
Davis has ascribed the need for the cuts in part to the previous government’s funding cuts, which cost the university $40 million a year, as well as a blowout in the bureaucracy because of his 2010 strategy to shift more administrative responsibility down to the faculties. He defended the strategy but said in hindsight the university should have acted earlier to improve efficiency.
Davis has warned has warned the university will lose up to $70 million a year more in Abbott government cuts, forcing a hike in student fees of an average of $1730 per student simply to cover those cuts .
The structural changes are a part of the university’s Business Improvement Program.
As part of the cuts some academic support services will be either centralised or automated.
The university says it plans to dedicate 80% of the $70 million in planned savings to teaching, learning and research. It has also flagged plans to hire up to 300 academic staff because of the changes.
13 March 2014 | The government has flagged a shake-up of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) in the wake of revelations the program has been manipulated to build student housing that is being let to wealthy foreign students. Two developers behind an 823-bed NRAS development in Sydney tapped more than $80 million in subsidies to construct a building to be filled largely by international students. Universities have also snapped up thousands of NRAS incentives to build large blocks of studio accommodation that is often taken up by fee-paying international students, who are the lifeblood of many universities’ finances. It appears there are more than 1000 foreign students in NRAS properties……[ MORE ]….
13 March 2014 | Victorian skills and higher education minister Peter Hall is resigning from State Parliament almost nine months early, ahead of a likely cabinet reshuffle next week. He had previously announced he would not be standing at the state election to be held in November. But he says “now is the right time step aside.”…..[ MORE ]….
13 March 2014 | Swinburne University may consider selling its mothballed Lilydale campus for non-educational purposes. Swinburne has officially stated its preference is to sell the site under the current educational zoning. But the information memorandum from real estate agents Knight Frank makes much of the potential for the site to be rezoned, which could increase the value of the site and is stoking local community fears that the prospect of restoring higher education provision at the campus could be lost…..[ MORE ]….
13 March 2014 | Monash University has become the first globally recognised organisation to be delegated a brand Top-Level Domain (TLD) – about.monash. The New TLD Program includes applications for other globally-influential .brand TLDs such as .google, .apple and .anz, as well as other generic Top-Level Domains such as .book, .melbourne and .cpa. Meanwhile, RMIT has lauched its “Global” website…..[ MORE ]….
Industrial unrest ongoing at Swinburne, UQ and Macquarie
10 March 2014 | The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and Monash University have reached in-principle agreement on a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) , following strike action on 3 March, while NTEU and Swinburne appear headed to court. Meanwhile, NTEU members at both Macquarie University and University of Queensland are striking on Tuesday 11 March over pay and workload issues…..[ MORE ]….
7 March 2014 | The Abbott government will encourage more students to undertake school-based apprenticeships and move away from the focus on higher education, in a dramatic change in approach from Labor. …..[MORE ]….
7 March 2014 | The TEQSA reform bill has been referred to the Senate education committee. Speaking in favour of the referral, Opposition higher education spokesman Kim Carr evoked a “back to the bad old days” scenario, saying excellence must not be sacrificed in the blind haste to cut red tape. …..[ MORE ]….
10 March 2014 | Former Telstra director and current chancellor of Swinburne university Bill Scales will lead the sixth National Broadband Network-related audit since the Coalition government came to power. Scales brings a wealth of experience to the role, having has been chairman of the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission), secretary of Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and involved with other high-profile inquiries including the Bradley review of higher education and the Gonski review of schools funding…..[ MORE ]….
7 March 2014 | NMIT has appointed Ron Gauci, former CEO of National Rugby League Club, the Melbourne Storm, as its “interim” CEO. Announcing the appointment NMIT chair John Gibbins described Gauci as a highly respected executive who demonstrates extensive experience in leading change in a number of different business environments…..[ MORE ]….
Virtual communities can provide an alternative to the on-campus experience but, as yet, there is little evidence to suggest that virtual engagement with peers and with content matter experts can provide the same benefits as being immersed in the intellectual culture on campus, writes Jason Lodge of Griffith University.
And do read this related essay by Kate Bowles on the creation of the space – or part of it, anyway – that the University of Wollongong occupies – For Leon Fuller.
Much hype and discussion has surrounded the evolution of online higher education over the last few years. Technology has now reached a point where it is conceivable that an education experience on the internet can be comparable to one on a university campus. However, just because it is conceivable does not necessarily make it so.
The learning that occurs differs markedly across disciplines and domains of knowledge. For example, it is relatively easy to comprehend how basic level accounting could be effectively learnt in a virtual environment.
It is not so simple when considering advanced surgical techniques. It would be a brave soul who would trust a surgeon trained using wikis, instructional videos and virtual classrooms.
While these might be extreme examples, there is undoubtedly a large market for flexible delivery of university education, and many universities now offer online degree programs. This is true even for the many institutions not traditionally associated with “distance learning”.
To complement initial workshops held in Canberra in February, the VET Reform Taskforce will be hosting workshops in each of the other capital cities throughout March 2014. The purpose of the workshops is to discuss the current VET system and listen to ideas for potential future reform. Numbers are limited so reservations are essential.
The Future for the Humanities and Social Sciences in a Global Era
Melbourne, 18 and 19 March 2014
This two-day comparative symposium will bring together leading academics to examine questions around the future for the humanities and social sciences in Asia, North America, and Australia. It will ask how these disciplines might situate themselves in an increasingly globalised higher education system.
The most followed philosopher on Twitter is Alain de Botton with 422, 381 followers (he follows 4,818 Tweeters). de Botton tweets about once a day.
Refer a friend to [rd] or subscribe for FREE in March/April for a chance to win your choice of an Apple iPad Air or a Microsoft Surface 2 RT tablet.
Is there something interesting near where you live and/or work? Got an interesting story? Got an event coming up? Tell us about it!
1 March 2014
28 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 ]….
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 ]….
26 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 ]….
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 ]….
24 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 ]….
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 ]….
20 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 ]….
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 ]….
24 February 2014
The inimitable Clarke and Dawe on the growing assault on the ABC
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.
Is there something interesting near where you live and/or work? Got an interesting story? Got an event coming up? Tell us about it!
4 June 2013 | An 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. The formation of the new grouping follows a decision of the now minister for tertiary education, Craig Emerson, to reverse a decision of former minister Chris Evans to now Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for delivery of University of Canberra degrees at the network member campuses from 2014….[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | A proposal from Charles Sturt and La Trobe universities for a new regional-based medical school has been put on ice by the commonwealth government, which says there isn’t enough capacity in hospitals and clinics to support additional internships.…[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | Swinburne University of Technology’s Australian campuses will become smoke free, with smoking banned indoors and outdoors, from 12 August this year. In making the announcement, Swinburne vice-chancellor, Professor Linda Kristjanson, said going smoke free will help improve the health and wellbeing of all members of the Swinburne community and protect them from environmental tobacco smoke…..[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | Half of a government rescue package of $200 million (over 4 years) for Victorian TAFEs has been purloined from earlier allocations, despite new figures showing the embattled system has moved closer to the wall. Victoria’s 14 standalone TAFEs managed a combined operating surplus of just $58.5 million last year, down from $98m in 2011 and $192m in 2010…..[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | The University of Canberra is to receive $26 million to house a new Centre for Quality Teaching and Learning, which will deliver professional skills and applied, practice-led research to support the introduction of Government’s National Plan for School Improvement reforms. The new centre will collaborate with universities, researchers and teachers to support professional development for ACT teachers to “grow and develop, find new ways for teachers to be more effective and assist in the implementation of systems for continuous teacher performance feedback.”…..[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | In the year to date (YTD) to April 2013 , there were 356,993 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on a student visa. This represents a 2.9% decline on YTD April 2012 and contrasts with the average YTD April growth rate for enrolments of 5.8% per year in the preceding ten years. There were 134,855 commencements in YTD April 2013, representing a 2.9% increase over the same period in 2012. This compares with the average YTD April growth rate for commencements of 4.8% per year in the preceding ten years……[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | Hundreds of international students, many already struggling financially, have lost up to three weeks’ pay after the collapse of one of Australia’s largest cleaning companies. And unlike their Australian colleagues, they won’t be eligible for the government program that fast-tracks payment of wages they are owed…….[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | Up to one third of voters are likely to change their voting intentions as a result of the cuts to universities in the recent budget, a survey by Universities Australia (UA) has found. The survey of 800 voters found shows that 87% of respondents supported an increase in funding for universities. Among Coalition voters, 81% said the cuts “threaten Australia’s future” while 64 per cent of all voters agreed with the proposition. UA proposes to launch a regional and suburban advertising blitz later this week targeting 80 electorates with a strong university presence…..[READ MORE]…..
4 June 2013 | Deakin University staff will stopwork for one hour at 1pm on Wednesday 5 June over stalled collective agreement negotiations. A ban on overtime for general staff, a ban on participating in performance appraisal and a ban on the transmission of student results will be put in place immediately. Deakin University will become the third university in Victoria where the NTEU has banned handing over student results…..[READ MORE]…..
31 may 2013 | With the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency said to be at the heavy-handed end of the regulatory spectrum, the government has announced a “red tape review” to reduce the burden of compliance on universities. Tertiary education minister Craig Emerson and higher education and skills minister Sharon Bird said the review is directed at ensuring more of the government’s funding is directed at student tuition rather than administration. It is estimated that university regulatory compliance costs are of the order of $280 million a year. The review will be undertaken by Professors Kwong Lee Dow AO and Valerie Braithwaite….[READ MORE]…..
31 may 2013 | The Queensland Government has passed legislation to establish the new TAFE Queensland as an independent statutory body. The minister for education, training and employment John-Paul Langbroek said the new entity will manage all TAFE institutes from 1 July this year. It follows the recommendations of a review undertaken by the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce…..[READ MORE]…..
31 may 2013 | The financial health of Victoria’s TAFE sector is deteriorating, with the Victorian Acting Auditor-General finding that s0 out of 14 “standalone” TAFEs were at medium financial risk last year, compared with seven in 2011. TAFEs were also more reliant on government funding for capital works, being unable to cover asset upgrades through their own activities. TAFEs generated a $58.5 million surplus in 2012, down more than 39% on the previous year due, in large part, to increased employee costs flowing from redundancies……[READ MORE]…..
31 may 2013 | Seven of Victoria’s eight universities reported a surplus in 2012, with the sector generating a total surplus of $454.6 million, compared to a $478.5 million surplus in 2011. Student fee revenue grew by $107.4 million, mainly due to higher domestic student fee income…..[READ MORE]…..
3 June 2013 | This is Australian Financial Review’s own summary of lead items in its online education supplement. As this is a subscription service, you or your organisation will need to have a subscription to The Australian Financial Review to view the full article.
27 May 2013 | This is Campus Review’s own summary of lead items in its online edition. As Campus Review is a subscription service, you or your organisation need to have a subscription to Campus Review to view the full article. All non subscribers to Campus Review can have access to a free online trial offer provides free online access to the website for 28 days.
As the number of students at Australian universities soars to record levels, is a degree still worth having or is it just a waste of time and money? asks Lucinda Schmidt in The Age .
In October, more than 50,000 Victorian year 12 students will sit their final school exams. More than half will flock to university next March, eager to cast aside the shackles of school and embrace a staggeringly different world of unsupervised study.
For some, their university course is a ticket punch en route to a solid career, while for others it’s more about campus life and making new friends. And for some, perhaps, there’s that old-fashioned notion of a well-rounded education; learning how to think critically, reason analytically and reflect on personal growth.
Whatever their motivation, the one certain thing in the labyrinthine world of higher education is that a university degree ain’t what it used to be. With student numbers escalating – not just in Australia but globally – a bachelor’s degree has well and truly lost its elite status.
22 – 23 July 2013 | Melbourne Marriott Hotel
The creation of MOOCs opens up many questions both in the short term future with regard to the viability of the current MOOCs model, as well as in the long term with reference to the democratisation of education and what it means for the future of universities. Such complex and far reaching consequences raise significant questions for Australian universities across a spectrum of issues.
Encouraged by remarks by the Commonwealth minister that he’s looking afresh at tertiary “inter-connectedness”, five tertiary institutions* are proposing a national network that brings together the strengths of TAFE and higher education traditions, enabling degrees to be studied initially at TAFE institute campuses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Students would be able to study degrees in face-to-face, online or blended modes, with extra support depending on their needs and requirements of the course.….[READ MORE]….
The number of teaching-only academics is expected to rise markedly as industrial relations in the sector responds to myriad pressures for change in the traditional academic role. Author of a new report on the topic, Belinda Probert (La Trobe University) points to a shift in attitude by the academic union, the appetite for more teaching academics on the part of university managers and the expiry of many enterprise agreements yet to make provision for these roles….[READ MORE]….
Student teachers in NSW will sit mandatory literacy and numeracy tests before being allowed into classrooms, while only school leavers who score above 80 in three subjects will make it into university courses, as part are part of sweeping reforms designed to improve the quality of teachers in NSW (Great Teaching, Inspired Learning)….[READ MORE]….
Universities in Victoria have been accused by school principals of allowing teacher-trainees to graduate despite failing their final practice rounds in schools. For most student teachers, this is in the fourth year of their bachelor of education degree. Around Australia, school leaders and state governments have been highly critical of education faculties that lower entry standards to admit too many students and then fail to provide the training and classroom experience they need….[READ MORE]….
Fred Hilmer (vice-chancellor of UNSW and chair of the Group of Eight) argues that the university sector is stifled by over-regulation. Despite assurances to the contrary, the establishment of TEQSA has added “a bureaucratic overload to every university, regardless of its history, standing or proven proven quality.”….[READ MORE]….
The Higher Education Standards Panel, which advises and makes recommendations to the Commonwealth minister responsible for tertiary education and research on the Higher Education Standards Framework, has released draft course design and learning outcome standards for comment. The panel has drafted seven standards on course design and ten on learning outcomes…..[READ MORE]….
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Deakin have voted unanimously to prepare for protected industrial action if insufficient progress was made in negotiations by the end of March. NTEU Victorian Secretary Dr Colin Long says that there had been little movement in the position taken by Deakin University management despite five months at the negotiating table….[READ MORE]….
The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has been awarded $219,000 in funding, by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, to lead new research into developing maths pathways for vocational education and training (VET) students to gain the skills required to succeed in their university courses….[READ MORE]….
5 March 3013 | The Times Higher Education Reputation Rankings have placed six Australian universities in the world’s top 100, based on the opinions of 17,000 professors from around the world. The University of Melbourne, at 39, once again came first among the Australians, moving up four places since last year. The University of NSW and Monash entered the top 100 for the first time, joining Australian National University (equal 42nd), Sydney (49) and the University of Queensland (71-80)….[READ MORE]….
4 March 2013 | The Commonwealth government is cutting its education counsellor posts in Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The counsellors are part of the Australian Education International (AEI) network of education representatives who connect Australia’s billion-dollar education industry with overseas opportunities – smoothing regulation issues and assisting with student visa regulations….[READ MORE]….
4 March 2013 | National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Sydney will strike for 24 hours Thursday 7 March over enterprise bargaining. NTEU branch president Michael Thomson accused university management of a lack of commitment to the bargaining process and foreshadowed further action if there’s no agreement by mid-March….[READ MORE]….
Merlin Crossley (University of New South Wales) tests the proposition that Australia punches above its weight in terms of global research, producing more than we might expect given our small population.
A cracking recent paper from the office of the Chief Scientist Ian Chubb demonstrates that we are behind our main research partners, Europe and America. The citation analysis is convincing and the results argue for urgent policy action.
We have appeared to “punch above our weight” primarily because the developing world – Asia, South America, India, Africa and the former Soviet Republic – currently punches below its weight.
But times are changing and Asia is moving up. Australia is faced with the choice of falling behind or taking steps to keep pace with the growing prosperity in our region.
It is clear the Chief Scientist’s office is working hard to make sure our nation makes the right choice.
On 12 March 1913, London-born Governor-General Lord Denman, Scottish-born Labor Prime Minister Andrew Fisher and Canadian-born home affairs minister King O’Malley (a colourful character succeeded in banning alcohol in the ACT until 1928 and who may have been actually born in the US) laid three foundation stones on a dusty hill in the newly established Federal Capital Territory (the hill – Capital Hill – was subsumed by the permanent Parliament House). Denman arrived in full vice-regal attire, sword at the ready, his plumed hat like a cockatoo’s crest. His wife, Lady Denman not only officially christened the city (derived from a Ngunnawal word meaning “meeting place”), she provided the locals with elocutionary instruction:
I name the capital of Australia Canberra, with the accent on the can.
Less than 24 hours after Ted Baillieu quit as Victorian premier, News Limited’s Herald Sun had billboard advertising at tram and bus stops throughout Melbourne, linking his demise to the Herald Sun’s publication of transcripts of secret recordings concerning former police commissioner Simon Overland. The Herald Sun making a point as The Age goes compact.
The Australian | 26 October 2012
Australian universities are bloated with superfluous staff that thwart lecturers’ ability to teach and suck up funds that would be better spent on research, according to Adam Creighton in the business pages of The Australian.
He says they are riddled with inefficiencies and perverse incentives that hobble their ability to produce rounded, competent graduates.
Creighton cites the recent Ernst and Young report into the future of Australia’s universities which showed “absurd administrative burdens” are the norm. Only one of the Australian universities it examined had a ratio of support and administrative staff to academic staff of less than one. With professional service firms in the private sector typically having two or three times as many frontline staff as support staff, Creighton says universities would need to sack about half theirs to what might approach “common sense”.
Creighton’s case in point is The University of Western Sydney which had a head count of 2487 staff in March this year. The university employed about 1100 staff in the vice-chancellor’s office, the corporate strategy and services division and the academic and research division (which undertakes no academic research). Recently retired UWS property economics lecturer Norman Harker estimates that a further quarter of the staff in the teaching faculties were administrative, which implies that university-wide 56% of staff are administrative.
Not all the fault lies with universities.
Their vast bureaucracies service another bureaucracy in Canberra: the federal Department of Education, which insists they produce “profiles” and collect mountains of data to compile “performance indicators”.
While he acknowledges that the expansion of publicly funded higher education has proved a powerful engine of social mobility for young Australians, public support for higher education need not require funds to flow directly to the universities.
The federal government could directly subsidise students’ tuition fees and leave alone the administration of universities. Competition would soon prompt universities to slash their bureaucratic burdens, freeing up skilled workers to move to industries where they can add vastly more value. That would be a win for everyone: universities, administrators and society.
Controversies seminar: new universities for new times?
The Victoria Institute presents the author of the report on the futre of universities, Justin Bokor from Ernst & Young, together with Professor Peter Dawkins, Vice Chancellor of Victoria University, Professor Jan Thomas, Vice Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland and Professor Stephen Parker, Vice Chancellor of the University of Canberra.
Wednesday 21 November 6-7.30 pm Level 11, City Campus, 300 Flinders St Melbourne