A couple of weeks ago, I read in a magazine that successful Mad Men actress January Jones was told by her ex-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher (now married to the impossibly youthful Demi Moore – do try to keep up) that she would never make it as an actress. Last week, I heard on the radio that mega successful entertainer Lady Gaga was told by an ex-boyfriend that she would never make it as a singer or win a Grammy (she has won 2 Grammys so far).
This week, a young academic told me that her line manager had told her she would never get promoted. (The young woman is extraordinarily determined, feisty, intelligent and, as her manager will see, she will catch him up and pass him before he knows what hit him.)
The federal government have released their discussion paper on performance funding for universities: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Documents/HIEDPerformanceFunding...
Overall, it raises lots of pertinent questions and had it not been released just before Christmas Eve to a change weary sector, it might have provided the opportunity for the sector to have genunine input into how teaching perfromance is measured in Australia.
There’s a lot of talk about ‘alternative’ entry to university at the moment. Debate in this area always makes me smile, particularly when arguments about it are presented as if they are new.
The federal government agenda in relation to widening participation in higher education has led to some excited commentary about moving away from the traditional means of selecting students for university based on numerical, relative rankings derived from their senior high school performance.
What will Australian universities look like in 20 years?
I was asked this recently after giving a keynote address at a conference, during which I outlined the federal government agenda in relation to higher education.
It’s a difficult question to answer but I thought I’d give it a whirl as most people reading this will forget to check back in 20 years so I’m fairly certain I won’t be a laughing stock in 2029 (always a worry).
In 2029, I’ll be in my mid 60s and still working thanks to changes to superannuation laws. My children, now entering their teens, will be in their 30s. It’s hard to imagine.
Elizabeth Blackburn. Elizabeth Blackburn. Elizabeth Blackburn. They say if you repeat something thrice it might come true and it has; Professor Elizabeth Blackburn has become the first Australian woman to win a Nobel Prize. Like the luminescent fish who exist in the dark matter of the ocean and light the abyss, Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Laureate has put paid to 20th century nonsense about the human brain having a birthsex and the deduction arising from this faulty premise; that women do not belong in the sciences, or belong only by relative degree to men.
I am woman, hear me roar.
A conference last week on the future of the academic profession had, according to the associated website, 20 speakers, only 4 of whom were female. I would have gone, but as I prepared to register and read through the line up, I became so irritated that I decided to vote with my feet.
The report that informed the conference (written by 6 men and no women) tells a bleak story about the academic profession’s attractiveness to women.
According to the report, “a higher proportion of women than men have typically been employed as casuals, and a lower proportion have occupied tenured posts”. This is bad news, right?
The federal government has released the discussion paper that will underpin the arrangements for funding for universities for the immediate future. Mission-Based Compacts for Universities: a Framework for Discussion (http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/Compacts.aspx)
The arrangements that result from compact agreements will have far reaching effects on individual institutions and on the Australian higher education sector as a whole.
The discussion paper is comprehensive in terms of the areas covered and issues raised.
It is particularly pleasing to see maters of transparency, duration of compacts and, in particular, consequences for failing to meet compact commitments raised. Without consequences for non-compliance, the whole exercise will be a waste of time and money, not to mention an insult to the intelligence of the Australian people.
I have been at two national forums on student engagement in the last 3 weeks - one here in Melbourne and one in New Zealand. I've been talking about student engagement for about 3 years now and was just beginning to give up hope that it would ever catch on. But catch on it appears to have done.
Its popularity is probably due in part to the federal government's stamp of approval of student engagement as a site of interest. In 2009, the Australian federal government responded to the Bradley Review of Higher Education report through the May 2009 federal budget. In their budget summary document, Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System (http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/TransformingAustraliasHESy...), the government indicate the status of each of the specific recommendations made by the Bradley Review.
Deakin University will be making a submission to this inquiry. In preparing the submission it seems that the Senate may not have the full picture of where rural and regional students go to attend university. The Terms of Reference are restricted to:
The recent discussion paper on setting and monitoring academic standards for Australian Higher Education from the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) should have been a welcome contribution to a national discussion on this critically important topic.
It is a shame that it has come so late and at the same time that the federal government has announced there will be a new system for ensuring standards at the tertiary level.