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Emeritus Professor Kwong Lee Dow has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to education in Australia as an administrator, scholar and contributor to major curriculum reforms, through executive roles with education advisory bodies, and to the community. Also honoured were:
- Professor Stuart Forbes MACINTYRE
- Professor Charles Dunlop MACKENZIE
- Dr David James SKELLERN
- The Reverend Father William James UREN
- Professor the Honourable Michael Hugh LAVARCH
- Dr Ian DARNTON-HILL
- Dr Rosemary COATES.
FULL CITATIONS HERE >>>
The Australian has published a list of honours awarded to academics across all divisions.
CMC launches criminal investigation into University of Queensland nepotism scandal
Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission has launched a major criminal investigation into the University of Queensland nepotism scandal that claimed the scalps of two of Australia’s leading academics. In an escalation of the investigation that began last year, a six-member taskforce has been set up to probe possible criminal breaches and official misconduct over the university’s handling of controversy. Vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield was ousted from his million-dollar job at the university last year after it was that reported a “close family member” had been allowed into the prized medical course despite failing to qualify during an admissions exam. Professor Greenfield’s deputy Professor Michael Keniger, was also forced out despite claiming the admission was a simple misunderstanding.
International student numbers to continue to fall
Australia should be braced for a further significant fall in the value of its international education exports as the university sector is hit by the downturn that has been running through the foundation college sector, major private provider Navitas has warned. While the federal government’s new streamlined visa-processing changes would eventually buoy the international market for foundation and pathway programs, possibly by the end of the year, the flow-through was likely to weigh on universities for the next two years. Student visas granted offshore to Chinese fell 20.6 % in the last half of the year, compared with the same period in 2010, despite an atypical 18.7 % increase in offshore visa grants in the September quarter.
Deakin AUQA Audit Report
Deakin University checked out pretty well in the 2011 audit conducted by the now defunct Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). Deakin received:
- six Commendations acknowledging achievements
- six Affirmations endorsing improvement actions that were already planned or being implemented by Deakin at the time of the audit, and
- seven Recommendations in relation to additional areas identified through the audit process as needing attention.
Among the latter was a finding that Deakin University has too high a concentration of overseas students from a narrow range of countries – China (40%) and India (12%). That would be true of all providers in the sector.
Curtin plans med school
There’s a shortage of doctors in Australia, with a 2009 report in the Medical Journal of Australia indicating that, if current medical intake numbers are maintained, the nation will need to import a quarter of its medical workforce by 2025. The head of Curtin University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Jill Downie, says that recruiting doctors from other countries is only a bandaid fix, which is one of the reasons that Curtin hopes to open its own medical school in 2014 – subject to Australian Government approval. According to the university, the school would train a” new type of doctor”, more focused on primary care and better equipped to operate beyond the city limits. “While we will provide the same biomedical training as other medical schools, we will actively recruit students who are interested in areas of practice that are currently underserviced – primary care, chronic disease management, aged care, mental health and Indigenous health – and who are willing to work in regional and remote areas,” says Downie.
University of Canberra scores a hospital and a football team
The ACT Government has released a report on possible sites for a new north Canberra sub-acute hospital, which identifies the University of Canberra (UC) as the preferred site. The advantages of UC include the available land, the proximity of the site to Calvary Hospital, and the collocation with the Faculty of Health (Nursing and Allied Health) which could assist the ACT with training and recruitment of its health workforce and provide opportunities for collaboration and research.
Photo - Michelle McCauley
UC was also announced as major naming rights sponsor fortheBrumbies, a Super Rugby franchise. UC vice-chancellor Stephen Parker says the university entered the relationship in the clear hope of replicating the close links between sport and universities in the American college system. Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan and former Brumbies and Wallabies captain George Gregan are both University of Canberra graduates.
Nursing clinical placement hours fall
Average nursing clinical placement hours have declined over time as universities try to ease placement and resourcing problems, according to a report released by Health Workforce Australia. While many nursing schools exceeded the required minimum by substantial amounts in the past, universities have made significant curriculum changes to drive down placement hours to the mandated amount. One nursing program said it had undertaken substantial reform to reduce its placement hours offered in 2011 from 1100 to 820 hours. The report said there was “little doubt” this type of reform was taking place in many programs. By introducing immersive simulated learning, Edith Cowan University had also reduced its clinical placement time to the minimum.
Grow the child, not the system
Field Rickards (Dean of Education, University of Melbourne.) writes that the single biggest controllable factor on student outcomes is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. To address Australia’s decline in educational standards we need an excellent teacher in every classroom. If Julia Gillard is serious about “wining the education race” in our region, professional development for teachers and a dramatically changed teacher education for those entering the profession should be her No 1 priority. A significant part of the explanation for Australia’s poor educational performance is that we have not prepared teachers to meet the individual needs of learners. Teachers are, instead, prepared to deliver curriculums, manage the class and meet the needs of the majority. The brightest kids will learn despite the teacher, the middle kids will keep up and the least able will fall behind.
Quiet revolution but challenges remain
In a valedictory reflection, recently departed Universities Australia chief Glenn Withers writes that the patient provision of logic and evidence, while mostly avoiding stoushes with government, has been a productive route, as seems clear from the array of substantive policy developments in recent years. The sum of outcomes across four years does show what can be achieved against expectations. The gains are fundamental and are being closely watched around the world in higher education policy circles. Withers outlines six challenges which require continuing determined pursuit of this advocacy , including the very difficult and time-consuming task of ensuring there is no backsliding on commitments made and that policy implementation is done well. Another is correcting an imbalance in “co-opetition” which Wikipedia explains is a neologism coined to describe cooperative competition. Unresolved funding issues loom large on Withers’ agenda as does deliberate and ongoing reform of educational delivery in coursework teaching arrangements, doctoral studies and research___________________________________________________________
New V-C takes up post at USQ
Professor Jan Thomas has taken up her new role as vice-chancellor at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). Under her leadership, she said USQ would stay dedicated to applied research that solved industry problems; specifically, she pointed to the university’s known strengths in fibre composites and agricultural engineering. However, she acknowledged the difficulties inherent in building research capacity, especially for young, regional universities. “Research is an expensive business and there’s a long lag time to develop a vibrant research culture. We’ve got a way to go, as many universities do,” Thomas says.
Simon Marginson writes that the latest release from the the US National Science Foundation’s science and engineering indicators 2011 confirms the rapid expansion of science and technology in China to No 2 after the US. It also highlights the innovation systems of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore and pinpoints emerging Iran, Thailand, Malaysia and Brazil — a rare non-Asian rising power.
Australia is holding its own in research quantity and is strong in international collaboration.
Between 1991 and 2009, China’s spending on R&D moved from 5 per cent to 40 per cent of the US level, reaching $154.1 billion in 2009. Less than one-tenth of China’s R&D is located in universities, compared with a quarter of research in Australia; and of the R&D performed in higher education in China, more than a third is funded directly by business. For the most part, that also means funded by government because state enterprises dominate innovation in China.