The Australian: Living in a parallel university
In the name of prosperity
The Productivity Commission put out a 30 page discussion paper on increasing Australia’s future prosperity yesterday. There was a single reference to a university and that was in relation to a 1985 academic paper. Just as HW was thinking higher education wasn’t quite as intrinsic to the national dialogue on national wealth and innovation as we would like to believe, she did stumble across a few broad references to education and training. In the PC’s defence, it was only 30 pages and it was very broad.
Against the grain
The national equity centre had a new chairwoman appointed yesterday. Erin Watson-Lynn is young, female, a working academic who hasn’t yet handed in her PhD with a start-up and a not-for-profit under her belt. Hardly your standard appointment to such things. Seems she met Education Minister Simon Birminghamsome time ago and must have made an impression. He recommended her for the position (as is his duty). The appointment was made by Curtin University VC Debbie Terry. HW is increasingly getting the impression that Birmingham is not that smitten with vested interests and seasoned campaigners is very keen on getting some fresh ideas in the mix.
Going with the flow
Meanwhile over at the Regional Universities Network, USC boss Greg Hill found himself swept into the lead position a year ahead of schedule after USQ’s boss Jan Thomas announced she was decamping pronto to New Zealand. Yesterday Hill reassured HW that his role was to keep the good ship RUN tacking in the same direction. No radical shifts in thinking or changes in direction expected under his reign.
Living in a parallel university
Bridget McKenzie and Simon Birmingham were playing Dorothy Dixers in the Senate yesterday. The line of questioning was, wait for it, research and development and how wonderful ARC grants are. That can’t have happened too many times before. The usual scenario, if ARC grants get mentioned in the Senate at all, is right-wingers attacking the “stupidity” of humanities and arts grants. Anyway, Birmo’s schtick was the opposite as he explained how such grants were enabling “our regions’ best researchers to make exciting and critical discoveries that will have flow-on effects for our local communities and the nation?” He singled out examples from UniSA, Curtin, Macquarie, QUT and UTas. Birmo then got to explain, for the enlightenment of his Senatorial colleagues, how this was keeping “leading researchers working here” which allowed him to spruik Future Fellows. The fact his predecessor Christopher Pyne did not have the same confidence in or respect for the ARC process is one thing. The fact that Pyne tried to ditch the Future Fellows scheme is another. Proof indeed we have moved into a parallel universe.
The wonks at UK policy blog WonkHE have given Donald Trump at 33 per chance of winning the US election. As they note, this is probably too high for those with a nervous disposition. Win or lose, Trump University will find itself in a California courtroom in late November as three class-action lawsuits by former students seek damages. Makes Rod Cullerton look like teeny tiny potatoes in comparison.