Insights Blog

Multisectoral education: why bother?

26 October 2011, by Professor Anne Jones

The Victorian Government’s recent decision to cut VET funding delivers a triple whammy to universities. We suffer the funding cuts levied on all VET providers for seven industry areas and the cuts imposed on all large TAFE institutions. In addition we have the difficulty of managing university budgets where a significant proportion of the revenue is greatly below Commonwealth funding levels. This does cause me to reflect on why we are multisectoral.

For Victoria University, as is the case for all Victorian multisectoral universities, there wasn’t a Damascene policy moment that led to our multisectoral sector status rather there were a series of decisions not to change what was already there.
 

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Academic Staffing Trends: At what cost to teaching and learning excellence?

26 October 2011, by Professor Emeritus Frank Larkins

In the period 2000-2010 research only (RO) staff numbers in universities increased by 78 percent, while teaching and research (T&R) and teaching only (TO) staff numbers increased by only 26 percent. More new RO staff were employed during the period than T&R and TO staff combined, such that by 2010 one in three academic staff was a RO staff member. The trend has been to reclassify some T&R staff as TO staff and to increase the proportion in both categories having fractional time appointments. While in that same period research student numbers increased by 49 percent, and coursework student numbers increased by 73 percent. Consequently, the coursework student to T&R and TO staff ratio was concerningly high at 34 to 1 by 2010, an increase of some 38 percent compared with 2000. The research student to T&R and RO staff ratio has remained relatively constant throughout the period with one T&R or RO staff member for every 1.2 research students. These are average system-wide figures so the disparities will be even greater in some universities. The impact of these trends on staff workloads and the quality of coursework teaching and learning programs warrants further examination.
 

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Internalising Quality Assurance

25 October 2011, by Ian Gostelow

Educational leaders grappling with the settings of an emerging tertiary sector are facing challenging questions in a turbulent environment. On commencing the Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance with the LH Martin Institute, it became apparent that many of my international peers were confronted with similar problems. Complex issues of global and national importance, led by international agendas, are swirling around higher education and vocational training sectors as governments seek to accelerate high level skills development for their society’s positioning in the knowledge economy. As an individual in Education, making sense of how these dynamic forces affect professional practice is akin to surfing a tsunami.

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Higher education in English Further Education Colleges: ‘protect and grow’

24 October 2011, by Martin Doel OBE

With the release of its White Paper ‘Higher education: students at the heart of the system’ in June 2011, the United Kingdom (UK) Coalition Government signalled the direction of its policy for higher education in England. The White Paper was preceded by the Browne Review into the financing of higher education and much of the subsequent media commentary has concentrated upon the increase in tuition fees up to a ceiling of GBP9,000, supported by a revised system of student loans. The White Paper was, however, also notable for an increased emphasis upon diversity of supply within higher education, inviting greater involvement by private for profit universities and further education (FE) colleges. This diversity of supply was linked philosophically to a greater emphasis upon student choice with students being seen as empowered consumers.

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Insights is a regular feature of the LH Martin Institute e-Newsletter, presenting opinion pieces from tertiary education's leaders and experts. Subscribe to the e-newsletter.

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