University beat up

So here is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read:

Professor Steve Keen told his final year students last year he could not fail any of them because the university had abolished the economics faculty and they would have no way of re-taking his class.

No – that’s not it. I reckon that is a pretty funny comment and most students would have known it to be a pretty funny comment. Here it is:

… the university is investigating him for serious misconduct.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the University of Western Sydney said Professor Keen’s statement that students would not be able to re-sit their subjects or complete their degree was “completely false”.

The spokeswoman says there will be no detrimental impact on current students and their academic progression, saying the university is offering a major and sub-major in economics as part of its Bachelor of Business and Commerce degree.

The spokeswoman also said the university takes any allegation of ‘soft marking’ seriously.

She says the university is obligated to report any alleged breach of academic standards to the Federal Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for investigation.

FFS.

The message is clear – any criticism of University management will earn you an appointment with the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The thing is this – I doubt many third year students would fail anyway. By that time most students have worked out exam technique and can determine what is important and what isn’t. This is just harassment – clearly the university administrators at UWS don’t have enough actual work to keep themselves busy. Maybe trying to save some money on the voluntary redundancy.

The only case for investigation would be if a third year student actually failed and was appealing on the basis that they’d been told they couldn’t fail. The ‘solution’ to that problem is easy – tough, you failed.

Update: More on this story here and at John Quiggin.

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49 Responses to University beat up

  1. entropy

    I wonder if Steve Keen predicted this outcome?

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I bought some cheaper mangoes yesterday and they were awful. Wish I had bought the more expensive ones that looked the same. Da Hairy Ape just said, stop it, Lizzie, dere is no need for cheap mangoes now you’ve got me.

    He is an expensive mango.

  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    oops, wrong fred. That’s for compare and contrast.

  4. Token

    I wonder if Steve Keen predicted this outcome?

    Did he bet his house on it?

  5. Rabz

    Lizzie,

    Mangoes are just too damn important to go for the cheapies.

  6. Cynic Al

    Seems a bit odd defending Steve Keen with his unfortunate record of predictions!

  7. Harold

    They need to go hard on him because it’s a little too close to “I can’t fail any of you because your daddy paid a lot of money for you to get a degree and we need the continued business of people like you”.

  8. Sinclair Davidson

    Well – except for the fact that if a lot of people were paying a lot money to UWS for economics degrees they wouldn’t have closed their economics program. In any event, I’m not convinced by that argument anyway. I’ve seen a lot of people make that argument, I’ve never seen it in action.

  9. Gibbo

    Be aware though, having met Steve Keen I can confirm he is a first class peanut. This episode is more than likely just the last straw.

  10. Tel

    Did he bet his house on it?

    Based on reading his blog, my understanding is that he refuses to buy a house in Sydney on the basis that they are outrageously over priced.

  11. Myrrdin Seren

    She says the university is obligated to report any alleged breach of academic standards to …..ICAC for investigation.

    Hey – if as Harold says, an academic was falsifying results ( research and/or degree awards ) for favours ( cough ) or filthy lucre – would that not be something for the state police to investigate ?

    Who obliges them to report to ICAC – unless the university chancellor is getting ready to sell the campus to associates of Eddy Obeid and Joe Tripodi ??
    ?

    and in fact – breach of academic standards ?? Do they have this rule in WA, and how does Lewandowsky’s half-baked Moon Landing/Climate denial survey fit in with academic standards ?

  12. Harold

    Falling academic standards aren’t the result of isolated academic frauds, it’s about where normal sits. If a third of your class struggle with English and we expect most of them to pass, regardless, then we can expect that class to produce an average output of lesser quality as the other class where their English had to be up to scratch.

    English is one variable, there are others e.g. basic competency is an important one.

    Of course we can’t consider a pass mark at Harvard equivalent to an Australian pass at a so-so tertiary institution. Or we can compare UWS now to UWS 20 years ago.

  13. Sinclair Davidson

    Harold – academic standards are not “falling”. They have been deliberately lowered as part of a deliberate political choice to increase the numbers of people going to university.

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    They have been deliberately lowered as part of a deliberate political choice

    Plus you can’t lower standards in ‘disciplines’ that are new (wimyns studies, acupuncture etc.). These started off low and aren’t changing a bit.

  15. Andrew

    Harold – academic standards are not “falling”. They have been deliberately lowered as part of a deliberate political choice to increase the numbers of people going to university.

    Exactly. I have today noticed that in looking at the offers for uni’s, their ‘clearly in’ marks have stayed the same or lowered for many courses this year. The Government seems to think letting more people is the answer. While it is a good thing that more people are attaining a qualifcation, the standards should not be lowered too much, therefore bringing down the overall quality of student in the course.

  16. H B Bear

    Wasn’t Steve Keen Red Kezza’s go to talking head on the 7.30 Report when things were running smoothly while John Howard was in charge and he needed someone to do a Chicken Little routine?

  17. Borisgodunov

    Close the effin things except medicine,engieering and pure scientific research,sack all the wankers and “administrators” put them on $35 a day! Tell the funeral directors they will be paid from their confiscated ill gotten gains from the Taxpayers.

  18. Andrew

    What about economics, borisgudonov?

  19. Des Deskperson

    2012 ATAR cut-offs for entry to business, commerce and economics courses at UWS were mostly in the mid to lower sixties.

    All you need to know about Profesor Keen and the institution that employs him!

  20. Pickles

    TEQSA? This Thing exists?

  21. sdfc

    Given Steve Keen’s record at warning of an impending credit driven crisis well ahead of the GFC I would say he is ahead of 90+ percent of economists in understanding the dynamics of a monetary economy.

  22. Louis Hissink

    Harold – academic standards are not “falling”. They have been deliberately lowered as part of a deliberate political choice to increase the numbers of people going to university.

    Which means that academic standards have actually been “felled”, rather than fallen.

    (OK, ok so I am being obscure but when I read nits being bandied about, I can’t help it).

    :-)

  23. Louis Hissink

    monetary economy.

    Fiat money/monetary economy actually.

  24. .

    Given Steve Keen’s record at warning of an impending credit driven crisis well ahead of the GFC I would say he is ahead of 90+ percent of economists in understanding the dynamics of a monetary economy.

    I’ve walked up Mt Kosciusko, but I didn’t lose a bet.

  25. Louis Hissink

    And as I posted on another thread, the Salariat are starting to flex their muscles. This incident is but another to add to the history of the Marxist conversion of Australia.

  26. Chris

    What about economics, borisgudonov?

    The free market will look after it :-)

    I’ve walked up Mt Kosciusko, but I didn’t lose a bet.

    And Mt Kosciusko only vaguely qualifies are small hill. I think you could probably get up to the top in a wheelchair (in summer anyway)

  27. sdfc

    Come off it Dot. Like you’ve never got a forecast wrong.

  28. .

    And Mt Kosciusko only vaguely qualifies are small hill.

    Nonsense. Try running up it! It qualifies as an ultra anyway.

    “You haven’t really gone up Everest unless you tackle it from sea level”…um, okay?

    Come off it Dot. Like you’ve never got a forecast wrong.

    No, but Keen doesn’t mentally own me.

  29. John Mc

    Dot, I got shitfaced with a bunch of mates in Canberra mid winter. Drove to Kosciuszko (in a burnt orange Torana) while half of them slept. Walked up Kosciuszko as a bunch of them were still in going out clothes (in their words “looked like I just woke up after a B&S”). And drove home in a weekend. Let’s see someone try that with Everest.

  30. Chris

    Nonsense. Try running up it! It qualifies as an ultra anyway.

    The fact that you can run up to the top says something about its difficulty. And its only about 7000ft so the altitude effects are pretty mild. I used to hike a lot of mountains in the 10,000-14,000ft range so I’ll reserve the right to call it a small hill :-) From a view perspective its a bit of a disappointment because its not that much higher than everything around it.

  31. .

    Hang on

    How old is that story?

    I’ve heard a very long time ago you could nearly drive up to the top of Kosciusko.

    From memory the bridge over the stream has no guardrails, walking over that pissed at night in winter would be tempting fate.

  32. John Mc

    I did fail to X-country ski to the top of it some years ago. But that’s because I was learning to X-country ski and the weather was quite bad. Ended up backing up half way to Thredbo and camping near Rams Head.

  33. John Mc

    How old is that story?

    I’ve heard a very long time ago you could nearly drive up to the top of Kosciusko.

    From memory the bridge over the stream has no guardrails, walking over that pissed at night in winter would be tempting fate.

    Mid 90s. We were gone some hours but the carpark didn’t seem all that far away.

  34. John Mc

    Dot, I don’t remember guardrails over a bridge. Snow was broken but visibility was very poor. I made the others wait until more light had broken by just refusing to go.

  35. .

    I used to hike a lot of mountains in the 10,000-14,000ft range so I’ll reserve the right to call it a small hill From a view perspective its a bit of a disappointment because its not that much higher than everything around it.

    We ought to make Keen kayak from Sydney to Madagascar next time he makes a bad call. Against the trade winds and in the open Southern Ocean, with a backpack full of bricks and a hungry, land based, mammalian apex predator as a passenger.

    Anyway.

    TESQA are busybodies with no real productivity, and Sinc is right. By the time you get to third year, chances of failing are low.

    I asked some pube from DEST once about how DEST points and funding worked, and in front of a business faculty, this made her look like an absolute pillock, even though she was just telling me what Government policy was. Maybe I was a prick that day.

    Universities, and schools are crap because no one lets professors and teachers teach the bloody students anymore!

    School reports? Edited 3-4 times by superiors, to be written in language aimed above most parents, so the school does not offend and it does not insult.

    Universities have had a new research degree regulation regime since 2000 – and outputs have not improved – red tape and time wasted have.

    ICAC?

    This is a sick joke. If he gets investigated, he basically becomes a political prisoner. No shit. I’d hate to see his disproven ideas get any credence because of this shabby treatment.

    Basically he said “I’m not forcing you to change majors in a career you’re not interested in, like accounting”

    Interesting though given what Gibbo and the spokesbot have said.

    If he’s wrong – that’s not corrupt! He was just absent bloody minded. He may have to prove he is competent to hold his position – but that doesn’t make him a crim taking secret commissions!

    If he’s shitting in the nest, it might be a breach of his employment contract – but again, that doesn’t put him on par with the rank criminal scum like Obeid et. al.

  36. Chris

    Heh I wouldn’t do that walk in winter in case the weather turned bad (people have died there in storms). But the walk up from Charlotte’s Pass isn’t that hard (maybe 500-600m elevation gain?). The loop walk from Charlotte’s pass which includes Kosciusco is quite scenic and a quite doable long day walk.

  37. John Mc

    Chris, in hindsight it was foolish, based on injury or weather, and no one (including myself) really knowing where we were. Older and wiser now.

    In the snow now though I still see people going out for a long day trip with just a day pack. I rarely go out far past popular areas without a sleeping bag in a bivvy bag and a collapsable snow shovel. It’s not that much more than a day back, and it could keep you alive for a couple of days if the worst happened.

  38. Leigh Lowe

    What?
    Steve Keen is a five-star, rolled-gold Olympic standard dickhead?
    Who knew?

  39. entropy

    Look, Keen might have predicted twelve of the last three economic downturns, stopped clock etc. etc. and he might have a constituancy that is eagerly waiting the day western civiliastion gets its comeuppance for its overindulgance and debt binge.

    But the way this trumped up Dawkins Uni has treated one of its professors is pretty shabby. They are essentially prosecutung him as he told his class he didn’t agree with a decision of the Uni. Boo Hoo. They will end up making a martyr of him.

  40. Sinclair Davidson

    oi – nothing wrong with Dawkin’s universities.

    But yes – maybe he is a difficult person blah, blah, blah. So what? This is bullshit story.

  41. Tel

    Look, Keen might have predicted twelve of the last three economic downturns, stopped clock etc. etc. and he might have a constituancy that is eagerly waiting the day western civiliastion gets its comeuppance for its overindulgance and debt binge.

    Twelve of the next three as well.

    He has a point though, government-sponsored debt boosting is a bloody stupid idea.

    The thing that Keen has missed is that in an inflationary environment, sitting on an appreciating asset while being in debt is the only logical way to optimize, but that’s against a risk of rising interest rates. As long as government is ineffective at dealing with depression, interest rates won’t rise, and as long as government follows Keynesian policy they will be ineffective. The dumb punters aren’t as dumb as they look. Massive private debt is the logical consequence of fiat currency.

  42. sdfc

    Dot

    No, but Keen doesn’t mentally own me.

    I’m not sure what that is suppposed to means.

    Entropy

    Has Keen predicted twelve of the last three recessions? The answer is no he hasn’t.

    What he has done is maintain a forecast of an event that took some time to occur. And he was proven correct.

    Economists can’t pick the timing of very much at all.

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  45. Gross over reaction from UWS…… says something about management in Australian universities, their flexible ethics and challenge of understanding conflicts of interest, i.e. corruption.

    ICAC could investigate universities (+ TAFE) and their domestic and international activities e.g. rorting of travel opportunities and/or incessant overseas travel and expenses ($500 million p.a.?), private businesses and ASX listed companies seeded on university resources by permanent personnel i.e. public servants, and failed offshore ventures with dodgy partners.

  46. Aliice

    I just read this and then went over to Quiggins who by the way agrees with the post here but bloody Quiggin couldnt resist a rude precious snark at the end of his post could he…

    “Note – if you follow the Catallaxy link, do yourself a favor and skip the comments thread. Australia’s centre-right intelligentsia living up/down to its usual standard.”

    Thats why Sinc has three times the comments Quiggin has is it??? Maybe because Catallaxy is more real and people can speak how they wantr to?

    …because Quiggin sets preciously polite standards for his preciously polite left wing blog views where all is a nice tea party and if it isnt he bans people like a true dictator – nothing quite like a one eyed left dictator is there) and he is just as wrong fighting the leftie rightie war (still now in 2013) as everyone else fighting it.

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