Thursday 16 January 2014
Offers for university places will be released in several states (including NSW) today, with university admissions centres in some states identifying a slowing of demand, particularly from mature-age student cohorts. The first state to release offers, Queensland, has stated to The Australian that 1000 fewer first round offers were being made in 2014 than 2013, with engineering and IT continuing to decline against increased interest in health and medical sciences. Demand for international student places at Australian universities has risen, however, driven by the introduction of streamlined visa processing and a bounceback in the key markets of India and China.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/demand-strengthens-for-health-sciences/story-e6frgcjx-1226802541045 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/international-sector-on-the-rise/story-e6frgcjx-1226801717642 [paywall]
Education Minister Christopher Pyne has confirmed that funding for the ARC’s Future Fellowship scheme will be under consideration ahead of the May Federal Budget, following the outcome of a review by the ARC which found that the scheme had been successful in achieving its aims. Minister Pyne’s comments will go some way toward reassuring a sector spooked by the prospect that the Future Fellowships scheme would not be renewed following its expiration in 2014, although no formal commitments have yet been made. The review also noted the support for funding fellowships for five years (rather than four) and increasing the maximum yearly project funding from $50,000 to $100,000. UNSW Dean of Science Merlin Crossley has highlighted the importance of mid-career fellowships for the Australian higher education sector, noting that smaller schemes were discontinued on the launch of the Future Fellowships program and that its cessation would lead to a large gap. Crossley suggests setting fixed annual dates for application and outcomes to reduce inefficiency and uncertainty, and consideration of the integration between the top level professorial Future Fellowships, the Discovery Outstanding Researcher Awards, and Laureate Fellowships.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/lifeline-for-future-fellowships/story-e6frgcjx-1226801717912 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/opinion/for-they-are-jolly-good-fellows/story-e6frgcko-1226801692928# [paywall]
The Australian reports that Monash University is set to undergo a major course redesign, simplifying courses at undergraduate level and emphasising vocational masters programs as well as ANU-style "vertical double degrees". The university has denied that the redesign reflects an adoption of the "Melbourne model" of postgraduate professional training, stating that students would still be able to enter professional degrees such as law at undergraduate level. The "anomaly" of the Honours year in the global context was also highlighted by Monash provost Edwina Cornish, who flagged that the Australian sector would need to consider whether to continue with the Honours approach in future.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/monash-on-course-for-redesign/story-e6frgcjx-1226801885899#mm-register [paywall]
Australian researchers have highlighted the lack of safe and affordable housing for international students, with a new study identifying that this situation makes foreign students more likely to fall victim to crimes. The study calls for more affordable on-campus accommodation options for both domestic and international students. Relatedly, the University of Sydney’s St Andrews College is set to more than double the size of its residential accommodation, with 327 new beds to be added in an estimated $98 million development over the next 10 years.
- http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-14/an-calls-to-help-international-students-with-accommodation/5198460 [no paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/sydney-uni-plans-massive-expansion-of-student-housing/story-e6frgcjx-1226801014220 [paywall]
A new survey of more than 4,700 US colleges and universities has found that the proportion of university leaders who rate online education as critical to their long-term strategy has declined, despite annual growth in online enrolments of 6.1% across the sector. The ongoing sustainability of MOOCs was a key question for many leaders, with opinion divided as to their pedagogical and market value.
More here, including a link to the report:
- http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/15/after-two-years-mooc-mania-enthusiasm-online-education-dips [no paywall]
- http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/grade-change-2013 [no paywall]
New University of Western Sydney VC Barney Glover has highlighted his intent to increase internationalisation at the university, with the restoration of key languages such as Arabic and greater international outreach high on the agenda for his first year. Online study is also an area of potential growth for the institution. In other international news, a recently released research paper from Australian Education International has highlighted the significant proportion of international students undertaking postgraduate research in STEM subjects, with more than 50% of engineering research doctorates being undertaken by international students.
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/uws-chief-looks-at-restoring-study-of-arabic/story-e6frgcjx-1226801792624 [paywall]
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/international-students-dominate-postgraduate-engineering-research/story-e6frgcjx-1226801782492 [paywall]
- https://aei.gov.au/research/Research-Snapshots/Documents/STEM_2012.pdf [no paywall]