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  • Group of 8 Newsletter June 2014

    Posted at 3:51 pm
    Jun 11th


    Go8 newsletter


    Table of Contents




    Posted in Budget, Coalition policies, Commonwealth policies, Government, Group of 8, Higher education policy, International, Notices, Qualifications, Research, universities, University budgets, University reform, university staffing | Tagged , , , , , ,
  • Melbourne confirms 540 jobs to go

    Posted at 4:07 pm
    Jun 5th

    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.


    uni melb logoThe university delivered the news to staff members at meeting earlier today. The university’s vice chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis, issued a statement after the meeting:

    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.

    Old and new cuts put uni jobs at risk, says Melbourne University VC Glyn Davis
    Melbourne University staff to protest against up to 500 job cuts
    Posted in Budget, Group of 8, Higher education policy, Industrial relations, National Tertiary Education Union, universities, University of Melbourne, university staffing | Tagged , , ,
  • The Scan # 148 13 March 2014

    Posted at 8:49 am
    Mar 13th


    Shake up for rental scheme

    unilodge13 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 ]….

    Hall quitsPeter hall3

    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 ]….

    Lilydale up for grabs

    For sale313 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 ]….

    New domains for Monash and RMIT

    13 March 2014   |    Monash University has become the first globally recognised organisation to be delegated a moocs1brand Top-Level Domain (TLD) – 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 ]….

    Monash EBA settled

    Industrial unrest ongoing at Swinburne, UQ and Macquarie

    nteu-logo10 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 ]….

    Focus to shift to school trade training

    Trades7 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 ]….

    TEQSA bill deferredRegulatory jigsaw 2

    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 ]….


    Click image



    Scales to head NBN reviewScales2

    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 ]….

    Former footy boss takes reins at NMITRon Gauci

    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 ]….


    Comment & analysis

    The campus is dead: long live the campus?

    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”.



    VET reform workshops

    calendarTo 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.



    Life & stuff

    The philosopher’s song

    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.





    Click image for more information

    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!


    Posted in Commonwealth policies, Government, Higher education policy, Industrial relations, Life & stuff, Monash, MOOCs, National Tertiary Education Union, NMIT, RMIT, Scan Main Edition, Swinburne, TAFE, TEQSA, Tertiary media, The Scan, universities, University of Wollongong, university staffing | Tagged , , , , , ,
  • The Scan

    Posted at 9:06 am
    Mar 1st

    1 March 2014


    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=””&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 ]….


    24 February 2014

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


    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.



    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.


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


    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 , , , , , , , ,
  • The Scan Early Edition 4 June 2013

    Posted at 7:19 am
    Jun 4th



    Polytec network set up

    polytec4 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]…..

    Bush med school icedstethoscope

    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]…..

    Swinburne goes smokefree

    smoke-free-hr4 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]…..

    Vic TAFEs bleed

    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]…..

    UC gets teacher excellence centreTeacher

    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]…..

    Enrolments down, commencements up

    inter-visas4 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]…..

    Students taken to cleaners

    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]…..

    UA intensifies campaign

    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, UAa 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]…..

    Industrial action at Deakin

    NTEU logo4 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]…..


    Red tape review

    regulatory-jigsaw131 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]…..

    Queensland TAFE set upqld-tafe

    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]…..

    $ imageVic TAFEs’ financial health on slide

    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]…..

    ….unis steady

    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]…..


    afr LOGO3 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.

    read more button


    Campus Review

    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.

    read more button


    Comment & analysis

    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 .

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    A matter of degrees  

    mortarboardIn 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.

    read more button


    TDA ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Edx banner

    edXpress is the subscription based monthly e-bulletin from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) with news and views on what’s happening on campuses around the country.

    read more button


    calendarNotices & events

    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.



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

    It’s free….no hidden costs… absolutely gratis



    Posted in ALP policies, Budget, Canberra University, Charles Sturt University, Clinical placements, Commonwealth policies, Early edition, Government, Higher education policy, Holmesglen TAFE, Industrial relations, International, International students, La Trobe University, LH Martin, Medical training, National Tertiary Education Union, Notices, Qualifications, TAFE, TEQSA, Uncategorized, Universities Australia, University of Canberra, university staffing, VET, Vocational education & training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • NTEU edXpress #006 April 2013

    Posted at 10:25 am
    Apr 14th


                  Click to go to NTEU 


    Gillard consolidates her leadership – now for the real challenge

    Labor’s situation in the national political debate deteriorated significantly during the last parliamentary session when a ham-fisted attempt to ram media reform through a parliament that the government doesn’t really control failed, and the latest manifestation of the Gillard-versus-Rudd leadership battle played itself out with a spectacular contribution by the former arts minister Simon Crean. Dr Nick Economou, edXpress’s political guru for the duration of the election campaign, provides some perspective. Read more

    Don’t be fooled by Victorian Govt’s TAFE sweeteners

    Some media outlets and others initially praised the new Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, for pledging in his first week of office to pump $200 million over four years into the beleaguered TAFE system. But, as NTEU Victorian Division Secretary, Dr Colin Long warns, we shouldn’t be fooled. Read more

    Purple days at CSU

    NTEU members at Charles Sturt University (CSU) have hit upon a creative way of supporting their local enterprise bargaining team – wearing purple on the days of the negotiations with management. Dr Sue Wood, NTEU CSU Branch President, talked to edXpress about how ‘purple days’ worked. Read more

    Industrial action over collective agreement looms at Melbourne

    Members at the University of Melbourne have had enough of delays on a collective agreement and have voted unanimously for a Fair Work Commission ballot to allow them to take protected industrial action. Voting opens April 16, and closes on April 30. Ted Clark, the NTEU Melbourne University Branch President, warned edXpress that academic freedom is also under threat. Read more

    ‘In principle’ wage deal at ECU

    NTEU members at Perth’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) voted last month in favour of an ‘in principle’ Agreement, guaranteeing a 4% per annum wage increase over the next four years, a career development fund for professional staff, differentiated academic roles and the conversion of some casual positions. Gabe Gooding, the NTEU WA Division Secretary, told edXpress it was the first Enterprise Agreement at ECU to cover both academic and professional staff. Read more

    Industrial action on agenda at Deakin

    Deakin NTEU members voted on Tuesday (9 April) to apply to the Fair Work Commission for a protected industrial action ballot if there is no progress on its collective agreement negotiations by 17 April. Dr Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary, is leading the bargaining team and told edXpress that staff were fed up. Read more

    Creating secure jobs and a better society

    The ACTU’s National Community Summit on insecure work, held in Canberra on March 13-14, brought together a range of disparate forces and organisations to start developing a response to the growing prevalence of insecure work and related issues. Michael Evans, the NTEU’s National Organiser, attended and reports for edXpressRead more

    Remember when?

    The Q&A session, “Spooked by MOOCs?” at last week’s NTEU National Teaching Conference raised a number of interesting issues. There seemed to be a general consensus that the current open access and free offering was not sustainable as a business model, which after all is paramount in shaping all decisions about higher education in the 21st century. Read more

    Strikes force USyd to negotiate

    NTEU members at the University of Sydney held a very successful strike on March 7 but it took a further two-day strike on March 26-27 to force university management to negotiate seriously on a collective agreement. Michael Thomson, NTEU Branch President, told edXpress that finally some progress is being made. Read more

    University teaching in the spotlight at NTEU Teaching Conference

    The holding of the National Teaching Conference at Melbourne’s RMIT University from April 4-5 was a new initiative for the NTEU. Over 100 attended, with some describing it as the most useful conference they’d ever been to. NTEU National President Jeannie Rea explains why it was time the spotlight was firmly fixed on university teaching and teachers. Read more

    Going Troppo? Restructuring at JCU

    James Cook University (JCU) will become ‘the university of the tropics’, according to the recently released review report, JCU: The Future – Crystallising our Purpose, with teaching, research and community engagement focused on a single theme – the tropics. Massive changes to jobs and working conditions are also proposed, according to Janice Wegner, NTEU JCU Branch President. Read more

    Big response to UNSW survey on workplace bullying

    At the NTEU National Council last October, delegates voted unanimously in support of a campaign against the bullying scourge that has afflicted many higher education sector workers. The UNSW Branch undertook a survey of members. Sarah Gregson, the UNSW Branch President, sent this report on its results to edXpressRead more

    “Will teach for food” sessional campaign takes out ACTU Award

    On March 6, the NTEU’s sessionals campaign at Swinburne University won the prestigious ACTU Award for the Best Workplace Campaign in 2012. Division Industrial Officer and campaign leader, Josh Cullinan told edXpress that the starting point had been the late payment of sessional staff. Read more

    Enrolling the next generation of voters

    “I want my students to become thinking voters. That’s why I’ve volunteered to become an NTEU Democracy Advocate,” says Robyn Moroney. Moroney, a senior lecturer in nursing at UWS, is one of the 100 NTEU members to volunteer to remind students to enrol to vote and spoke to edXpress about how she’s fared so far. Read more

    More super news

    UniSuper is one of ten finalists for Super Fund of the Year in the Chant West/Conexus Financial Super Fund Awards. UniSuper is also one of seven funds that have been nominated in more than five categories. It’s good news for UniSuper members, says NTEU National Assistant Secretary, Matt McGowan. Read more

    Member Advantage – adding great value to your union membership

    The NTEU has just launched a new member benefits program, offering members an extensive range of membership benefits and discounts. The program has been developed jointly with Member Advantage, a leading provider of member benefits and services that works with a number of trade unions to deliver membership services. Read more

    Investigation into claims Canada is muzzling its scientists

    The BBC announced earlier this month that Canada’s Information Commission is to investigate claims that the government is ‘muzzling’ its scientists by imposing rules which prevent them from speaking freely about their publicly funded research. Read more

    Posted in ALP, ALP policies, Budget, Charles Sturt University, Coalition policies, Commonwealth policies, Deakin, Edith CowanUniversity, Higher education policy, Industrial relations, International, James Cook University, National Tertiary Education Union, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University reform, university staffing, Vocational education & training | Tagged , , , , , ,
  • The Scan Main Edition 8 March 2013

    Posted at 8:16 am
    Mar 8th



    Bruce Mackenzie - CEO Holmesglen

    Bruce Mackenzie – CEO Holmesglen

    The polytech movement gathers pace

    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]….

    Teaching only roles on the rise

    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]….

    NSW to “lift bar” for teacher training

    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]….

    Teacher training “at the crossroads”

    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]….

    Too much regulation stifles innovation

    Fred HilmerFred 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]….

    Regulatory reviews – various

    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]….

    Industrial action on agenda at Deakin

    NTEU logoNational 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]….

    Research project to help VET students achieve at uni

    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]….


    Six Australian unis in world top 100

    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]….

    AEI to cut 4 Asia posts

    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]….

    Uni Sydney staff to strike

    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]….


    Hang on…Australian R&D doesn’t punch above its weight

    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.

    Research2A 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.



    The weeklies

    A compilation of leading items from the weekly education press.



    Happy birthday Canberra

    Canberra FireworksOn 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.



    Life & stuff

    Good bye Ted

    Ted quits

    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.

    LH MartinThe LH Martin Institute is hosting seminars in March, featuring presentations from Professor Debra Bragg from the Office of Community College Research and Leadership from the University of Illinois.



    Posted in Budget, Canberra University, Coalition policies, Commonwealth policies, Deakin, Group of 8, Higher education policy, Higher Education Standards Panel, Holmesglen TAFE, Industrial relations, La Trobe University, Life & stuff, Research, Scan Main Edition, TAFE, Teacher training, Tertiary media, Uncategorized, University of Canberra, University reform, university staffing, UNSW | Tagged , , , , , , ,
  • “Bloated universities” must trim fat to perform better

    Posted at 10:46 pm
    Nov 14th

    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


    Controversies seminar

    See also

    What is the optimal number of university administrators?

    Universities must adapt or perish.

    Posted in Budget, Commonwealth policies, Higher education policy, Uncategorized, universities, University reform, university staffing | Tagged , , ,
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