Monthly Archives: September 2009

‘Get serious’ on teaching languages

‘Get serious’ on teaching languages | Bernard Lane | The Australian Higher Education Supplement| 30 September, 2009

LIGHTWEIGHT programs that give language learning a bad name should be wound up as part of a nationwide attempt to engage schools, teacher training and ethnic communities in a serious culture of language learning, a new report recommends. “You need a symbolic change,” said Joe Lo Bianco, the University of Melbourne language planner who wrote the report. “The focus in the debate should now be what constitutes serious effort (in language learning).”


Colleges Face Swine-Flu Challenge

Colleges Face Swine-Flu Challenge | Katherine Mangan | The Chronicle of Higher Education | 25 September, 2009

Fraternity and sorority recruitment had just wrapped up and classes were about to start when the first wave of coughing and sniffling students reached Washington State University’s health center. Over the next few weeks, more than 2,600 students either walked in or called, complaining of fevers, body aches, nausea, and other flu symptoms. No one knows how many of those students actually had the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, because health.


It’s evolution, not revolution for REF

It’s evolution, not revolution for REF | Zoë Corbyn | Times Higher Education | 24 September 2009

Continuities with RAE, but impact to equal one quarter of assessment scores. The impact of academics’ work on the wider world will determine one quarter of universities’ overall score in the forthcoming research excellence framework, with the number of assessment sub-panels to be cut by more than half.


Home-grown rankings gain support

Home-grown rankings gain support | Andrew Trounson | The Australian Higher Education Supplement | 23 September, 2009

SUPPORT is growing across the higher education sector for an independent national university ranking system that would be more comprehensive than the Shanghai Jiao Tong survey of world universities. A national ranking would complement new performance indicators being developed by the federal government.


An Activist Adjunct Shoulders the Weight of a New Advocacy Group – Faculty – The Chronicle of Higher Education

An Activist Adjunct Shoulders the Weight of a New Advocacy Group | Audrey Williams June | Chronicle of Higher Education | 18 September 2009

There was a time when Maria C. Maisto didn’t know much about the struggles of adjunct professors. She didn’t know that teaching six courses could still pay less than $20,000. She didn’t know that adjuncts are likely to be on the outskirts of faculty governance. She didn’t know that adjuncts can’t count on unemployment checks to fill in the gap when they’re not able to teach. But four years after teaching her first English-composition class at the University of Akron, Ms. Maisto knows all of that. In fact, now she thinks about the plight of adjuncts all the time.

Unequal opportunities in final RAE

Unequal opportunities in final RAE | Zoë Corbyn | Times Higher Education | 17 September 2009

Female and black staff disadvantaged as Hefce strives for REF improvements. A massive gender gap damaging women’s chances of having their work entered in the research assessment exercise was revealed this week as the funding council geared up plans for its replacement.


ARC for less stress on track record

ARC for less stress on track record | Andrew Trounson | The Australian Higher Education Supplement | 16 September  2009

THE Australian Research Council wants to ditch its over-reliance on track record in the peer review process and instead take a broader view of a researcher’s capabilities in a bid to make teaching and early-career academics more competitive. In a consultation paper released this week for the first review of the system since it started in 2001, the ARC canvasses giving more weight to the views of specialist reviewers. It also proposes new incentives to counter the chronic shortage of reviewers, such as reporting reviewer performance to universities to boost promotion credentials.


Students get marks just for turning up

Students get marks just for turning up | Rebecca Attwood | Times Higher Education | 10 September 2009

Universities have been accused of “bribing” students with marks simply for attending seminars, a move critics say encourages them to adopt casual and cynical attitudes to academic work.


Colleges Offer Low-Interest Loans to Star Professors

Colleges Offer Low-Interest Loans to Star Professors | Marc Beja | The Chronicle of Higher Education | 08 September, 2009

The hunt for top professors is a high-stakes game. Like major-league baseball teams courting free agents, colleges engage in cutthroat competition to woo and retain highly sought talent. Tax forms show universities have given loans to faculty members to purchase homes, or in one case a $362,516 loan to buy a violin. Critics question whether the practice is a wise use of money

UWA, Sydney plan revamp as unis gear up for 2012 reform

UWA, Sydney plan revamp as unis gear up for 2012 reform | Andrew Trounson and Jill Rowbotham | The Australian Higher Education Supplement | 09  September, 2009

THE University of Western Australia has defied tight funding and committed to a new curriculum for 2012 which, like Melbourne University’s model, will streamline undergraduate courses and make professional degrees postgraduate. The announcement came as University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence hosed down speculation of drastic cuts in undergraduate numbers but said he wanted to do something about the student-staff ratio. A green paper due late next month will offer a number of models for Sydney’s future.