Keeping UON staff informed on the latest sector news and developments.
Wednesday 12 March 2014
In a discussion paper released yesterday, the University of Melbourne has flagged its intentions to grow online postgraduate professional programs, aimed particularly at the offshore international market, as part of a push to grow full-fee paying masters enrolments to cross-subsidise research. Other strategies highlighted in the "Growing Esteem" Green Paper include increasing the number of teaching terms, expanding campus-based student accommodation and a target to reach the top 45 global universities. Research collaboration is also on the agenda, with a joint research centre for engineering research to be established with China’s Tsinghua University and the development of a "system of innovation" around sustainability and energy issues through a new precinct in Melbourne.
More here, including a link to the Green Paper:
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/melbourne-uni-eyes-online-masters-lift/story-e6frgcjx-1226851818456 [paywall]
- http://www.afr.com/p/national/melbourne_university_targets_professionals_UKnoa08qpHJrwH2HeZULIP [paywall]
- http://growingesteem.unimelb.edu.au/documents/UoM_Growing_Esteem_2014_GreenPaper.pdf [no paywall]
In The Australian, La Trobe University’s Andrew Harvey argues that the current model for funding Commonwealth-supported postgraduate places is fatally flawed, handicapped by an "arcane allocation system" and inconsistencies within and between institutions. He notes the diversity of approaches across the sector to funding postgraduate places, from the position of some Group of Eight universities that only health and education places should be funded to that of La Trobe, which has advocated for a full expansion of the demand-driven system to postgraduate level. Harvey highlights the barriers to accessibility posed by full-fee paying courses at postgraduate level, with only 11% of postgraduate students from low SES backgrounds and 11% of PhD students from rural and regional areas, noting that this has been exacerbated by the credential creep of professional accreditation requirements to postgraduate level. Colleagues may also wish to refer to Swinburne University’s submission to the review of the demand-driven system, which summarises the designated undergraduate and postgraduate places for all Australian institutions.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/sector-all-at-sea-on-the-route-to-reform/story-e6frgcjx-1226851714902 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/postgrad-funding-scheme-flawed/story-e6frgcjx-1226851826329 [paywall]
- http://www.swinburne.edu.au/chancellery/submissions/docs/Swinburne%20University%20submission_review%20of%20demand%20driven%20funding%20system_16Dec2013.pdf [no paywall]
In research news, Australian Research Council chief executive Aidan Byrne has stated that he is "optimistic" that research impact assessments can be integrated into the current grant process with minimal administrative overhead for researchers, stepping away from suggestions that Australia should adopt a UK-style formal impact assessment mechanism. Spearheaded by the Australian Technology Network of universities, a number of institutions have lobbied for the inclusion of research impact assessments alongside traditional measures of research quality, although the ARC has been wary of establishing a parallel scheme. Byrne has also recently stated that "micromanaging" research funding would have little impact on achieving government research priorities, noting that 90% of current ARC Discovery Grants already went to existing priority areas. In addition, Byrne noted that despite the ARC’s decision to extend Discovery grants by up to two years, the "overwhelming majority" of researchers still applied for shorter times and that general adoption of five-year grants would push success rates down further. In the UK, the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has flagged a $1.1 billion commitment to new research commercialisation efforts in eight identified technology areas, stating that governments needed to take more risks in funding potentially marketable research at early stages.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/arc-grants-the-focus-for-impact/story-e6frgcjx-1226849597269 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/no-place-for-stamp-collecting-research-and-funding/story-e6frgcjx-1226845154395 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/uk-hopes-to-capitalise-on-research/story-e6frgcjx-1226851725217 [paywall]
In the wake of political uncertainty about its future, TEQSA has announced it will not go ahead with its planned review of English proficiency standards at universities, sparking concern from some commentators that universities will not be held to account for ensuring that international students meet comprehensive English language requirements by the time they graduate. Still on regulation, Australian Catholic University VC Greg Craven has suggested that universities are misinterpreting the Minister for Education’s approach to deregulation, highlighting the Minister’s rhetoric around university autonomy as a signal that the "boa constrictor" of regulation would be loosened. Craven suggest the establishment of a Universities Act at Commonwealth level, which would place regulation into an overall framework of higher education and define the "basic principled characteristics" of a university.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/english-proficiency-at-risk-as-teqsa-bows-out/story-e6frgcjx-1226851723984 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/pynes-fine-words-fell-on-deaf-ears/story-e6frgcjx-1226851713566 [paywall]
Business leaders have called on the government to implement policies that embed Asian studies and language learning as an education priority, warning that Australia’s competitiveness in Asia depends on increasing the cultural competencies of Australians. Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Brett Mason, who is charged with the implementation of the government’s flagship New Colombo Plan for outbound student mobility in Asia, has also highlighted the need for universities to create innovative new study abroad offerings for course credit and widen the disciplines covered by existing agreements. The University of Adelaide’s Kent Anderson reports that student demand for the New Colombo Plan scholarships had been strong, attributing this to the integration of internship programs within the scheme. For inbound international education, a new government report shows that the first post-study work visas have been allocated under the government’s new streamlined processing scheme, with the bulk of visas granted to graduates from India and China. International education industry spokesman Phil Honeywood has highlighted that more needs to be done by government, industry and universities to augment work-integrated learning and internships for international students, noting that international students expectations about the availability of post-study work in Australia are "overly optimistic".
- http://www.afr.com/p/national/education/jobs_jeopardised_without_asian_studies_FtVDElXXpmc4LdkL8eq6uM [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/unis-told-to-lift-game-in-study-abroad-plan/story-e6frgcjx-1226845173539 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/student-rush-for-scholarships/story-e6frgcjx-1226847123917 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/work-visa-challenge-for-sector/story-e6frgcjx-1226851775043 [paywall]
Macquarie University has announced a target of being the first business school in the top 100 worldwide with equal numbers of men and women in its MBA program, noting that across Australia only 35% of MBA enrolments were women. Research into the factors for enrolment and attrition of women in MBA programs will also be undertaken by the university, with results to be released at the end of 2014. Still on gender equity, new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that only 19% of Australians with higher level STEM qualifications were women, with the gap largest in engineering.
- http://www.afr.com/p/national/education/path_to_mba_gender_balance_JLhKS25d8AyqeGSCmguowJ [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/mgsm-to-find-why-women-dont-enrol-in-mbas/story-e6frgcjx-1226848219523 [paywall]
- http://www.afr.com/p/national/education/women_low_on_qualifications_lists_fGJUb0Fdi1r3ttu2hT57kK [paywall]