Insights Blog

University deregulation and the politics of funding

28 March 2012, by Bruce Muirhead

The deregulation of universities, effective as of January 1 2012 has a number of implications for the tertiary education sector, the most obvious of which is on resources and funds available to the already financially strained tertiary education sector.

In an address to the National Press Club earlier this month, Universities Australia Chairman Glyn Davis warned that the changes were set to have as dramatic an impact on higher education as floating the Australian dollar in 1983 had on other markets.

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Student and Teaching Staff Trends in Selected Australian Universities

28 March 2012, by Professor Emeritus Frank Larkins

Nine Australian Universities had more than 40,000 enrolled coursework students in 2010, an increase in numbers of over 57 percent since 2000. The responses of these universities in term of changes in their teaching staff profiles are examined. UNSW and QUT have been the most responsive, with UNSW as well as RMIT and Griffith relying heavily on casual teachers to service student growth. Sydney and Curtin universities proportionally have been the least responsive in meeting the increased student demand. Sydney does nevertheless retain one of the lowest student-to-staff ratios in Australian universities.

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Formal academic workload allocation models: An agnosticís pragmatic perspective

27 March 2012, by Professor Mike Ewing

I don’t particularly believe in formal workload allocation models (WAMs). In my humble opinion, they are ‘necessary evils’ (at best) which are in danger of perpetuating a ‘work-to-rule’ culture and catering to the lowest common denominator (at worst). They can also result in the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Furthermore, I have yet to see any evidence from top-ranked institutions that having a workload model leads to academic ‘success’, nor any positive correlation between resources (inputs) and research productivity (outputs).

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Women, choice and promotion: why women are still a minority in the professoriate

27 March 2012, by Dr Joanne Pyke

Australian higher education is commonly described as ‘feminised’ with overall numbers of both female students and academic staff outnumbering men. At the same time, women remain a minority as senior academics in Australian higher education. In 2009, the national average of female appointments above Level D (Associate Professor) was 26.5% (QUT Equity Services 2011). This is despite the fact that universities have, by and large, complied with Equal Opportunity legislation and have systematically worked towards gender equity in senior academic leadership (Winchester, Chesterman et al. 2005).

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New Zealandís Tertiary Educational Performance Indicators

26 March 2012, by Hon. Steve Maharey

In 2010 the New Zealand Government, through the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), introduced a set of four educational performance indicators (EPIs) with the stated purpose of “allowing the general public to understand more about how their local tertiary providers are performing” and the intention to link the results to an institution’s government funding. The indicators, published annually for each institution, are labelled:

• successful course completion
• student retention
• qualification completion
• student progression
 

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About Insights

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.

* The views and comments expressed in 'Insights' belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LH Martin Institute.

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