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Institutional differentiation in Australian higher education

15 May 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… There is general consensus in the higher education literature that institutional differentiation is desirable (Meek et al, 1996; van Vught 2007). More diverse systems tend to perform better because they meet diverse student needs, are better equipped to stimulate social mobility through different access points and progression pathways, are better linked to labour markets that increasingly require different types of graduates, and allow for more cost-effective delivery of both education and research through specialisation. Concerns about the capacity of the Australian Unified National System to lead to diversity have been raised since it … [Read more...]

Universities Australia – Election 2016 – Statements

Keep it Clever: Policy Statement 2016 Australia is at an economic and productivity crossroads. In an era of sweeping change, other nations are seizing the future with investments in higher education, research, innovation and skills. Australia now faces a stark choice: we either make our own investment—or we fall behind those nations that do. Equipping ourselves for the dramatic economic transformation ahead is an urgent task. Indeed, our future prosperity depends on it. That’s why we need a new contract with the Australian public—supported by political bipartisanship—that grasps the direct link between our national investment in education, research and innovation, and Australia’s economic … [Read more...]

Keeping it clever

28 November 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A national productivity windfall generated by university research has delivered economic benefits to Australia worth a third of the growth in average living standards over the past 30 years. These productivity gains have been worth an estimated $10 billion each year over those three decades. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The new modelling and analysis is one of the key findings of the full Deloitte Access Economics latest report, The importance of universities to Australia’s prosperity. The $10 billion productivity boost is in addition to the $25 billion that universities contribute to the Australian economy … [Read more...]

Monash to exit Berwick…?

The Australian    |     11 June 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Monash University will make a decision about the fate of its Berwick campus by the end of the year, with discussions about divesting the 2000-student facility to another higher education provider already under way. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… A possible departure from Berwick would follow Monash’s exit from its Gippsland campus, which is now run by Federation University after a transfer in January last year. “Monash is discussing options to enhance provisions of opportunities in the southeast, including at Berwick, with other providers who could offer coursers aligned to the needs of students … [Read more...]

Keeping public priorities in public universities

The Conversation     |      28 May 2015 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………   The main purposes of Australian public universities — teaching, research and community engagement — are well established in law and practice. But differences of opinion exist on priorities, interpretation and accountability. A key tension is between academics as the strongest advocates of knowledge for its own sake, and government, students and the general public seeking practical uses for knowledge, writes Andrew Norton. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   For academics, passion for a field of study, opportunity to develop new knowledge, and autonomy in working life are among the most … [Read more...]

UA calls for passage of deregulation package – with amendments

Universities Australia     |      28 August 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Universities Australia (UA) has called on the Parliament to support the deregulation of Australian universities with changes to the government's proposals that it says  will assure affordability for students and taxpayers. . ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… UA chief executive, Belinda Robinson, said that the Parliament had a once in a generation opportunity to shape an Australian higher education system that is sustainable, affordable and equitable in serving the best interests of students and the nation. "With budgets under pressure, governments faced with a myriad of competing … [Read more...]

Weatherill call for structural reform of SA university sector rebuffed

 22  August 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A call by SA Premier Jay Wetherill for Adelaide’s three universities to consider a full or partial amalgamation has been rebuffed. Nevertheless, a proposal from the three universities proposing the creation of a joint research commercialisation company is expected to be sent to the premier shortly. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Weatherill has warned the state’s universities are failing to get full commercial value from their research and says a radical option of merging the three institutions must be considered to create jobs and industries. He says “structural reform” of SA’s university sector must be … [Read more...]

Imagining an Australia built on the brilliance of our people: address to National Press Club

Group of Eight   |   30 July 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… When our Senate considers the government’s higher education reforms it needs to find some sensible compromises. It needs to see thatderegulation is critical to this nation’s future. It needs to consider what magnitude of funding cuts is sustainable for universities in a constrained public budget. It needs to find a compromise option which maintains the brilliance of the HECS system, allows it to be sustainable for the nation and affordable for students. It also must not forget that world class research is essential if we are to be a wealthy nation in 50 years. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….......… Higher … [Read more...]

Where to now for Australia’s universities?

UNSW News    |    27 June 2014 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Through budget cuts and deregulation, the Coalition government may well be about to make life more difficult for Australia’s universities, which  Jenny Stewart of UNSW describes as "no mean achievement".  But she says we should also acknowledge that the system it inherited is the product of decades of bipartisan financial fiddling, poor management (by both universities and the educational bureaucracy) and political opportunism. On the plus side, there has been a commendable concern to improve access for disadvantaged groups. But too little attention has been paid to the quality of what is on offer; it is difficult to … [Read more...]

Civilisation as we don’t know it: teaching-only universities

The Conversation    |     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 … [Read more...]