It’s time … to get serious

So here is a great quote from “higher education expert” Simon Marginson:

These decisions will weaken the long-term relationship between the Labor Party and the universities, which have been pro-Labor since Whitlam.

Well it was Whitlam who said only the impotent are pure. So it has been with the Australian University sector – as Stephen Matchett explains:

The university sector now has a stark choice – it can accept the fact that it will always be given what government decides it can have or it can get serious about politics.

Slap bang in the middle of rattling the begging bowl for more money, the Gillard government has stripped out about $2.3 billion.

Mind you – universities need to get serious about the real world too. In particular it will need to give some thought to this debate.

With academic journals under increasing attack from several quarters, Mr Zicklin has upset some colleagues in urging schools to cut tuition fees by making faculty members focus more on teaching and less on publishing research in journals. He points to research that uses the University of Texas at Austin as a case study and says that fees could be halved if 80 per cent of faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach only half as much as the 20 per cent with the highest teaching loads.

Read the whole thing at the Financial Times.

There is something of a reply at Core Economics.

You cannot get promoted anywhere as a basket case in the classroom. Indeed, nearly every academic I know is quite good to very exceptional in the classroom. It is also the cases that I know where we looked at exactly this we found that our best scholars were our best teachers. So this idea that there are ‘teachers’ and there are ‘researchers’ is just nonsense. The best scholars are on average exceptional at communicating. Mr. Zicklin’s problem is that he is basing his viewpoint on myth and exceptions and not evidence. However, in the end, if your best scholars are you best teachers the institution must make a decision as to the allocation of their time. Unfortunately, good scholars are rare and institutions cannot replace them as easily as they could to one trick teaching ponies.

Read the whole thing too – many of the other comments and the tone of the reply might grate, however.

The point is remains: Universities need to get serious about their relationship with government. They need to get serious about what they do and how they do it. Government funding is itself a bubble.

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69 Responses to It’s time … to get serious

  1. C.L.

    … it was Whitlam who said only the impotent are pure.

    A typically moronic Whitlam quip.

    History in fact abounds with the malicious impotent.

  2. NoFixedAddress

    @Sinclair

    from within the Core quote,

    Unfortunately, good scholars are rare and institutions cannot replace them as easily as they could to one trick teaching ponies.

    One trick teaching ponies should be paid their weight in gold.

    I think anyone that can get their head around a subject and pass that knowledge on is an invaluable, dare I say, societal asset.

    And, I think, an administrator that can recognise the worth of ‘one trick teaching ponies’ and promote their worth are also a valuable social and economic asset.

  3. ar

    A typically moronic Whitlam quip.

    Seems to be a good quip to me. Perfectly describes the Greens who go about as if their shit doesn’t stink safe in the knowledge they will never have to make a decision.

    Such times as they do get some hold on power, their decisions are disasters.

  4. ken n

    There must be an opportunity for a university to stop the cross-subsidisation from undergraduate teaching to research (I think that’s the way it goes) and offer much cheaper degrees.
    I guess part of the problem is that what drives students to an institution is the strength of its brand, which seems to depend on its research ranking.
    Another is that so many academics yearn to get out of teaching and into research.
    I suspect it is nonsense that great researchers are likely to be great teachers. Not my experience and they do require different sets of skills.

  5. NoFixedAddress

    @ken n 15 Apr 13 at 1:51 pm

    Can anyone join an ACTU Affiliated Union?

    Does anyone know?

  6. NoFixedAddress

    or is a union a closed shop?

  7. ken n

    NFA – Depends on the union rules. You need to be working in an industry that the union covers, in most cases, but essentially, most will happily take your money.
    The Media Alliance covers freelancers so I guess we could join, if we wanted to.

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    University teaching can certainly be stressful. Year in, year out, it can wear out even the best and most dedicated teacher.

    Perhaps staff should have teaching years (higher teaching load, lower research requirements) alternating with the research years (the opposite). As it is, many staff buy their way out of teaching with their research grants, with the present result being that inferior or junior staff may be the replacements.

    The good research staff should be in front of classes to offer real value to students. The students do appreciate it, in all years, but get the most from this in the later years when they know more and can engage at a higher level.

    A top professor of genetics once taught me in an introductory genetics course and I was bowled over by his scholarship and up-to-date information (stuff not at all available online or in journals; straight from international research collaborations). I was also terribly flattered when he took the trouble to write me half a page of additional comments on an assignment, which took my understanding to another level (in spite of his awarding me full marks at my level, I must boast).

    Sorry, Prof X, I think you did not want me to be lost to genetics, but you must have netted some others with your excellent teaching anyway.

  9. Aliice

    No Fixed address

    Unfortunately I find the tone of the Core reply does grate as well.

    Mr Devinney has used some unfortunate expressions that illustrate the endemic attitudes of those fortunate enough to be on high salaries in universities. You see good teaching staff are apparently “one trick teaching ponies” and the solution he proposes is that there be “an army of adjunct teaching fodder”.

    Well they already have that.

    Coalface teaching staff are mostly sessionals now and they are referred to as “the bottom of the food chain”. Fortunately there is another bottom feederso we are not lonely – the students.

    Id would like to remind Mr Devinney that whilst he advocates for even greater expansion of “researcher / teacher roles” the reality is in your teacher factories, the teachers are treated like absolute crap and so are the students (by just such terms and comments as used in this Core “reply”).

    Both groups (those who do teach at the coalface and students) have borne the brunt of every cost saving unis have made over the past ten years (whilst lots has been wasted on the salaries of those less qualified than the adjunct teaching fodder now.

    Its time the rest of those who worked in unis got up and stopped sitting on the coalface teachers and the students.

    Sessional teaching staff have had their wages / conditions and the most basic requirements stripped from them. Students have been crammed into classrooms so full you couldnt even throw a single other sardine in. The marking payment rate history for an essay looks like this…

    Year rate at $38-$40 an hour (including pick up and delivery)
    2000 20 mins
    2002 15 mins
    2004 12 mins
    2007 10 mins
    2010 8 mins
    2014 6 mins

    Oh but the Professors keep having ideas on how it should be (Am I being cynical but it does look like this to me? “More of us need looking after – and there should less for the bottom feeders?” Thats exactly the problem now.)

    I would like to remind the Professor that some of those adjunct teaching fodder are even more highly qualified than those who have been enjoying the permanency of their positions for years. Its an entry level requirement to have a phd and quite a few of the adjunct teaching fodder are now more highly qualified than those actually in perfmanent positions.

  10. Aliice

    Bugger – a couple of spelling mistakes above but only because I am incensed that I (once again) detect the endemic attitude to classroom uni teachers – adjunct teaching fodder” and “one trick teaching ponies”.
    Nothing quite like the intrusion of reality to wake oneself up from the dream of university promotions of “valuing teaching”.
    Bullshit they do.

  11. Luke

    See Sinclair what I hear when you say “they need to get serious about thier relationship with government” is that they need to go over-the-top rent-seeking.

    Universities know that what they really sell is a life-style to a target rich demographic too dumb to understand the costs.

    Labor also know that the areas to be cut by universities are those that cost the most to run and have the highest level of conservative voters. e.g. sciences. Bachelors of BS will not be affected and nor will their future Labor voters thus be affected.

  12. NoFixedAddress

    @Aliice

    I believe I understood the argument you are making.

    refer to my next post as well as this.

  13. NoFixedAddress

    Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. 15 Apr 13 at 2:06 pm

    I would go far as to say that it should be part of your University sinecure to do some guest classes in schools at ‘year 11 and 12, form 11 or 12, whatever’ across your state every single class term.

    and get rid of the attitude that to be a ‘teacher’ you have to have ‘some’ f’ing degree or piece of paper.

    which university did plato attend?

    and merely to pick one.

  14. NoFixedAddress

    ‘your’ as in general employment terms

  15. one old bruce

    “So this idea that there are ‘teachers’ and there are ‘researchers’ is just nonsense.” No it isn’t.

    Surgeons and GPs. Schoolteachers and academics. Left-brain right-brain – yes huge oversimplification but kernel of truth. I’ve observed this polarity in many fields, deny it at your peril I say.

  16. one old bruce

    Lecturers and tutors!

  17. However, in the end, if your best scholars are you best teachers the institution must make a decision as to the allocation of their time. Unfortunately, good scholars are rare and institutions cannot replace them as easily as they could to one trick teaching ponies.

    Exactly. The creation of the fake ‘excellent teacher/excellent researcher’ dichotomy has been to justify employing ‘teachers’ sessionally and at lower salaries than full-time ‘researchers’.

    ‘Researchers’ pull in grants and produce publications which lead to more money for the institution.

    ‘Teachers’ can handle the purported core business of ‘teaching’ the huge enrolments that are needed to pull in the funding per head which is the real source of the money.

    And most of this wonderful money sloshing around is going on vastly inflated senior academic salaries and on administrators.

    I’m not complaining about the salary; I benefited from this for around 6 years, but I noticed how much lower academic salaries were in real terms in the UK in the 1990s than they were in Australia.

  18. John Mc

    and get rid of the attitude that to be a ‘teacher’ you have to have ‘some’ f’ing degree or piece of paper.

    Perhaps for primary school there would be some good teachers who weren’t degree qualified. But for secondary school I think a good education system would have degree qualified teachers

    It’s just that we haven’t insisted on a reasonable level of quality or accountability (on average) in our teachers. They don’t behave like degree-qualified professionals, they’re not paid like it and they’re effectively a highly-unionised branch of the Public Service.

    And most significantly, the teachers themselves are (on average) quite happy with it being like that.

  19. Luke

    My experience is that the brighest people often have poor presentation/people skills. The smarter law firms seperate out the ‘talent’ based on ‘client skills’. There are those who can do the work, and there are those who can sell it.

  20. NoFixedAddress

    @John Mc 15 Apr 13 at 2:51 pm

    It’s just that we haven’t insisted on a reasonable level of quality or accountability (on average) in our teachers. They don’t behave like degree-qualified professionals, they’re not paid like it and they’re effectively a highly-unionised branch of the Public Service.

    And most significantly, the teachers themselves are (on average) quite happy with it being like that.

    I rest my case.

  21. Luke

    ” they’re not paid like it ” . Yeah and 3 months a year holidays is a hard slog.

    Let’s average their hours worked by pay and compare that to nursing, lawyering, pharmacy and private science shall we.

  22. Aliice

    Phillipa

    you say “And most of this wonderful money sloshing around is going on vastly inflated senior academic salaries and on administrators.”

    I agree with you. I cant help feeling Timothy Devinney’s reply on Core was simply an argument for even more money to flow to the top…by this comment
    ” In reality, we have serious problems getting good brains to commit to getting phds and hence the pool of potential future faculty is actually drying up. If anything the premium needs to be bigger not smaller.”

    That is not exactly correct. I know so many phd students with very good brains living hand to mouth trying to complete on casual teaching work – how about showing the talented ones a job?

    ie remove some of those who swan about on their senior adjunct lecturer / professsor positions, after retirement having collected their super, writing an occasional paper for the FT and working casually less hours than casual teachers do? (that means turning up for one lecture a week and doing none of the admin on a fractional 50% position post retirement?).

    Insiders know how this story goes and where the real waste is in unis. That VERY expensive double dipping (plus flights, conferences, lurks and study leave when not studying) and admininistration heavy weight manager salaries (so many managers and so few indians?).

    Oh well just put a few more students in the classroom again or make students print their own subject guides instead of giving them one. Thats the usual solution.

  23. NoFixedAddress

    Aliice 15 Apr 13 at 3:05 pm

    Thats the usual solution.

    I agree Aliice.

    It is actually quite sad to see the good one’s burnt out by the system.

  24. Aliice

    Yes it is NFA. I have seen my share of some really brilliant phd students crack and give up and leave….which the Profs who now complain about the shortage of “phd talent” coming in…apparently have not noticed for years and years (mainly because they dont even see or consider those bottom feeding teaching fodder as potential even). The institutionalised elitism and sense of entitlement amongst some of them is utterly disgraceful.

  25. Lysander Spooner

    As a sessional lecturer/tutor in politics, I have noticed a downturn in employment hours already (probably since mid-2010). I also know that my tenured collegues are increasingly having to publish more for the university while increase student numbers and marking…

    how does this work? they can’t open more tenured roles (although I wish they would!)

  26. Aliice

    Lysander – I suspect how this works is by the method of allocating bonus payments in salaries for cost savings in schools to everyone above teaching lecturers, classroom teaching fodder and students (oh and dragging the poor working lecturers into the cost saving committee meetings).
    Your observations are quite correct.

  27. or secondary school I think a good education system would have degree qualified teachers

    In Tasmania, at least, teachers now require at least two degrees; the M.Teach is a second degree. However, when I was undertaking an M.Teach a few years ago, I observed that most of the teaching staff—who generally had three degrees, including a doctorate in education—had very little knowledge of English grammar. The students, of course, knew less.
    I remember one lecturer, with a doctorate, who invented a new pronominal possessive; she referred several times to an academic paper which she and a colleague had written as “Steve and my’s paper”. The Head of Faculty, in another lecture, was unable to discern what part of speech an “as” was. In some students’ essays which I edited, tutors—horresco referens—even crossed out correct subjunctives and replaced them with incorrect indicatives!
    I met many pre-service teachers who were intending to teach English in high schools (and are now teaching, I suppose) who seldom read fiction and had negligible interest in literature. They did learn some things, however: e.g., children in classes must be divided into groups of four or five at any opportunity, and John Dewey is the messiah.

  28. Samuel J

    No, universities need to sell their services to customers, not the government.

  29. NoFixedAddress

    @Deadman 15 Apr 13 at 3:45 pm

    They did learn some things, however: e.g., children in classes must be divided into groups of four or five at any opportunity, and John Dewey is the messiah.

    Its time @Sinclair to hail the messiah of do whe teachem.

  30. NoFixedAddress

    @Samuel J 15 Apr 13 at 4:20 pm

    universities need to sell their services to customers, not the government.

    do you mean I cannot get a back street Melbourne University certificate in ‘wholistic’ medicine?

    i am being deprived of my natural right!

  31. Rafe

    “making faculty members focus more on teaching and less on publishing research in journals…fees could be halved if 80 per cent of faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach only half as much as the 20 per cent with the highest teaching loads.”

    Yes the average paper is read by the author, the referees and one other person.

  32. Lysander Spooner

    Thanks Aliice – good to know we’re not alone!

  33. Rafe

    See Deadman at 3.45, how is providing more money going to improve this situation?

    (Rhetorical question, no answer expected)

  34. NoFixedAddress

    Yes the average paper is read by the author, the referees and one other person.

  35. NoFixedAddress

    @Deadman 15 Apr 13 at 3:45 pm

    In Tasmania, at least, teachers now require at least two degrees; the M.Teach is a second degree.

    I have no ‘ticket’ whatsoever.

    I have taught in Launceston and Hobart.

    Hobart is the only place I have taught business where I told a ‘student’ to go and stop wasting my time and allow me to pass my knowledge on to people that did want to learn.

  36. NoFixedAddress

    and taught my class in a couple of other places on the big island to the North of Tasmania before that occasion.

  37. Aliice

    Exactly Lysander. The feudal system in universities continues unabated with the waste (where savings could be made) in the top and bloated admin which remains heavy with those who want to protect the status quo, and the coalface of the classrooms continues to be disgracefully underesourced. Just reading how one uni moved to putting 90 in a tutorial class with one tutor and two completely untrained “aids”.
    To think the students pay for this? Its outrageous. Its not even education with those numbers. Its adult warehousing (not even as good as childcare).

  38. Aliice

    Give them enough rope (unis) and they will defend the mob they are already paying excessively “on staff” and move to “using” unpaid uni students as interns to teach classes (I can already hear the marketing siren song – oh but it will look great on your CV!!)

  39. OldOzzie

    The question I ask, “Is this really a University Subject”

    Sports Studies 1

    Students will complete two Level 1 Coaching Certificates or other accreditation approved by the lecturer. These could include Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer, Basketball, Fitness Leaders, LaCrosse, First-Aid, Scuba Diving Certificate, etc. Other accreditations, such as refereeing certificates, can be negotiated depending on the rigour of the course and interests of the group. Students will also undertake a Work Placement (a minimum of 5 days in a sports related work environment). An understanding of the physical and recreational benefits and safety precautions related to the students’ area of choice will be developed with an analysis of pedagogical issues in coaching/refereeing/administration.

    UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG

    I assume that Universities will soon be conducting a “Degree in Toilet Cleaning”

    RE the Comment in the Article

    “The point is remains: Universities need to get serious about their relationship with government. They need to get serious about what they do and how they do it. Government funding is itself a bubble.”

    There are now so many “Mickey Mouse” Courses that used to be run by TAFE’s and there is a need to go back to the “Old” System that worked (Still works in Germany”

  40. Bruce of Newcastle

    These decisions will weaken the long-term relationship between the Labor Party and the universities, which have been pro-Labor since Whitlam.

    This is something which is starting to produce some squawking in the US as universities sacrifice good teaching for ideological purity (and enormous tuition fees). Powerline had two linked articles on this in the last few days (part one link, part two link).

    This has certainly come up here in respect to journalism degrees, and presumably is a problem in other faculties.

    I suspect if you teach ideology, and neglect real learning and ways of thinking, then your funding will be vulnerable as soon as someone notices the students you are graduating are idiots. And if the faculty are also idiots (albeit with all the correct ideologies and union tickets) then the budgets are going to be even more vulnerable.

    The best defense against these sort of cuts is to produce good competent people under the square hats on graduation day. I suspect this may be being forgotten in favour of having all the right LGBT services in place in the uni suash courts and painting the pedestrian crossings in the politically correct colours.

  41. Sorry, NoFixedAddress; I ought to have written that the Tasmanian Department of Education is preferring new teachers in primary schools and secondary schools to have two degrees and, though the University of Tasmania is still offering some B.Ed courses (particularly for the “vocational” schools), it is encouraging prospective teachers to undertake a Master of Teaching course because—I was led to believe—the DoE and the faculty want to bring an end the undergraduate degrees in the expectation that, eventually, all teachers will require two degrees.
    In Hobart, the faculty is churning out new teachers who have two degrees but, sadly, little learning.

    Here, is an example of our pious Faculty of Education’s noble aims:

    Learning and teaching

    In the Faculty of Education, quality learning and teaching is at the heart of our endeavours and our students and their needs are at the centre of our course design and delivery. We orientate ourselves and our programs around the principles of excellence, autonomy, scholarship, self-inquiry and creativity.
    Our courses enable students to graduate as knowledgeable, critically reflective and resilient educators who are able to influence the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of the children in their care. We strive to model good practice in the way we teach, lead and care for our student teachers and thus also actively engage in critical reflection. We welcome feedback from our students, alumni, and participating school communities, and actively seek this in a variety of forms.
    Our current new curriculum reflects many cycles of review, which has sought the opinions of many. On the macro level, this reflective process becomes the centre of our action learning to inform curricula and cultural change. On the micro-level, we encourage open dialogue and self-inquiry so that we can become the best teacher-educators we can be.
    We are committed to benchmarking our programs against world’s best practice, while retaining the best of what is unique and special about being situated in Tasmania. We aim to instil our programs with our practical understanding of what it means to teach and learn in a rural environment and amongst close-knit communities. We also hope to offer our students the many advantages of belonging to a relatively small campus, where we are able to offer readily accessible administrative support and pastoral care, as well as a personalised learning environment that encourages peer learning and networking to flourish.

    Yay!

  42. cohenite

    Deadman, you don’t like Dewey?

  43. cohenite

    painting the pedestrian crossings in the politically correct colours.

    Ha, ha; wouldn’t work in Newcastle, either graffitists or coal dust would cover it in no time at all.

  44. Cohenite, I do heretically blame Dewey and his epigoni for much of the sillier “progressive education” which infests modern schools.

  45. johanna

    The best courses I did in both undergraduate and post graduate study were those with a mix of core lecturers and guest lecturers. The guest lecturers could be either researchers or practitioners – some of them were inspirational, and I still remember (and have kept the notes from) some of them. It also gave the core lecturer a break from the weekly grind and time to do other stuff.

    It is certainly true that much of the burgeoning bureaucracy in universities is the result of a symbiotic relationship with the burgeoning bureaucracy in the Commonwealth that “administers” higher education. They make an ever increasing, and largely unproductive, workload for one another.

    The Federal government could enable universities to shed a lot of useless staff by shedding a lot of their own. No Federal government in living memory has had the courage to do it, unfortunately – quite the reverse. Ministers are mesmerised by the promise of “announceables” created by adding new and unproductive programs, with staff to match.

  46. Jim Rose

    Researchers are good teachers!. Not my experience.

    Different skill sets and reward structures.

    Business schools look for good teachers because their students pay full price.

  47. Splatacrobat

    Kiwis make the best Astronauts.

    They all took up space in school.

  48. Jim Rose

    kiwis that move to australia raise the IQs of both countries.

  49. Aliice

    ‘Universities need to get serious about their relationship with government. They need to get serious about what they do and how they do it. Government funding is itself a bubble.”

    Unis also need to get real serious about their relationship with their customers (students) and start providing a decent learning experience in uncrowded classrooms and lectures and some basic services (yes and at the very least bound copy of the unit guide to each student every semester).

  50. Aliice

    Researchers are good teachers? Not my experience either Jim rose. More commonly researchers dont give a flying fig about students (or classroom tutors concerns) and dont even answer the students emails.

  51. NoFixedAddress

    Cohenite, I do heretically blame Dewey and his epigoni for much of the sillier “progressive education” which infests modern schools.

    Researchers are good teachers? Not my experience either

    Unis also need to get real serious about their relationship with their customers (students) and start providing a decent learning experience

  52. Aliice

    Johanna has a point there up top. Get rid of some of the federal government bureaycrats whgo insist on quantifiable mesures and reporting according to their specific formulae and legislation and you will get rid of another bureaucratic feed chain in unis.
    So much waste at the top its almost obscene. top down culling – who si going to have the guts to do it?
    If it was the late 80s they would have called in the “streamlining experts” to get rid of a good chunk of bullshit regulation, reporting and paperwork.

    Time to get the streamlining people back. The uni sector is groaning under the weight of it.

  53. NoFixedAddress

    those three quotes are from,

    Deadman,
    Jim Rose, and
    Aliice.

  54. NoFixedAddress

    @Aliice 15 Apr 13 at 7:03 pm

    So much waste at the top its almost obscene. top down culling – who is going to have the guts to do it?

  55. NoFixedAddress

    Careful Aliice…

    Its people like you and me that red underpants is trying to lock away.

  56. Aliice

    Sorry – excuse spelling above but really I am incensed (actually down right pissed off) at the sort of cutbacks unis think they can keep shoving at students, classrooms and their “classroom teaching fodder” as Devinney so elegantly phrased it. Its all got a bit more than beyond the pale.
    If I had got the treatment today’s students get when I was doing my degree I would have been yelling high and loud.

  57. Aliice

    NFA

    I dont care if they want to lock me away. I am one of the pure who can speak their mind freely.

    Let me give a practical example.

    Students at a prestigious Sydney uni are told in lecture 1 “if you have any questions there is a hierarchy of responses”. Needless to say the first three on the hierarchy dont respond (probably because they are sessionals and no-one is paying them to respond) and by the time the student gets to the 4th on the hierarchy the response is “have you gone through the appropriate channels for your query?” They then refer the hapless student with a question to the help sessions which involve lodging your question beforehand and taking a ticket like at the deli counter at Woolies.
    As the victim said “I left – I really didnt feel like contending with thirty gooks and wasting an hour for an answer not knowing whether my logged question would even be got to.”

  58. Aliice

    Uncensored response but what is this? Student service? Hardly.

  59. Aliice

    Before long unis will be outsourcing students questions to India.

  60. NoFixedAddress

    @Aliice 15 Apr 13 at 7:29 pm

    Before long unis will be outsourcing students questions to India.

    thank you Aliice.

    I argued to canberra treasury ‘boffins’ that we could outsource the APS to India.

    Its what they were doing back in the 1990′s.

    Go online and check out what some other country was/is doing and spin that to the idiot australian uni arts/law/economics graduate.

  61. Aliice

    NFA
    I fear I have lots more practical examples of how students are getting ripped off in the cuurent uni system.
    What about the uni who’s IT system has taken over the world. No longer can classroom teachers save data to their hard drives, leaving the classroom teacher to use paper eg to take the roll, record assessments etc.
    The reason being that attempting to save data to your USB or even plug one in represents a “security event and you will be reported!!”
    Then there is also the uni in Sydney where tutors turn up to teach and they are given the solutions in piles of paper (pardon? When did the internet arrive and elctronic presentations arrie?) and are back to shuffling through papers solutions in class and nothing showable on screen to students (because they are only allowed to have paper solutions?)..

    I tell you honestly, unis are drowning in inefficiencies when it comes to teaching.

    Oh hang on I forgot another case where sessional teachers have to walk to Audio visual dept, collect their own projectors, wheel them to class and deliver them back to audio visual offices – all at no pay.

    I am honest when I say – classroom teachers are treated disgracefully. Its really bad and shows how little respect unis really have for teaching (fodder) or the students (despite all the nonsense they write about their committment to teaching).

  62. NoFixedAddress

    @Aliice 15 Apr 13 at 8:04 pm

    classroom teachers are treated disgracefully. Its really bad and shows how little respect unis really have for teaching

    i can nearly agree there Aliice but I am loath to do that when I know that the majority of teachers join a union that is affiliated with the ACTU which represents 3 fifths of f**k all of the workers of Australia.

    Anyone can and should be a teacher and be paid accordingly.

    Privatise the entire education system in every state in Australia is my belief.

    And pass the real tax savings back.

  63. Aliice

    NFA says

    “i can nearly agree there Aliice but I am loath to do that when I know that the majority of teachers join a union that is affiliated with the ACTU which represents 3 fifths of f**k all of the workers of Australia.”

    You have that totally wrong NFA. Not one sessional teacher in unis (and the vast majority are now sessional ie casual every semester) I know is a member of the union (NTEU). They dont join because the union keeps looking after the bloated admin and bloated high wages of the tenured and does nothing for the sessionals who do most of the teaching.
    please bear in mind we ARE the teaching fodder. We get screwed (along with the students) from all directions – even the union couldnt give a damn about us. We are Mcdonalds workers. The shame of it is many of us are, as mentioned before more highly qualified than those that still remain protected on staff but who got there before 1997 when they started the mass casualisation of uni teaching.

    You have that totally wrong NFA (about union membership in uni teachers). Its almost non existent.

  64. NoFixedAddress

    @Aliice 15 Apr 13 at 8:30 pm

    You have that totally wrong NFA (about union membership in uni teachers). Its almost non existent.

    I totally stand corrected Aliice.

    It was not my intention to cast aspersions on uni teachers…. at all.

    My comment was a generic use of the ‘teacher’ term.

    And State teachers do form a slice of union membership.

    Thats all.

    my humbles.

  65. Aliice

    No wories NFA. The NTEU works for the status quo of the tenured academics and the admin staff – where the majority of the waste is I might add – (hence not much use at all to the vast majority of uni classroom teachers).
    I find it really amusing now that the unis are all scrambling to decrie the “cuts to higher education” saying it will lower services to students.

    They couldnt get much lower now.

  66. When I first heard the announcement that Uni funding was to be cut I laughed because they were expecting more funding with the education revolution to increase the number of Uni students to some ridiculous level of the population.

    Aliice I find your comments interesting.

    Education spending is going the way of the US or in other words out of control.

    Between 2006–07 and 2010–11, national education expenditure in Australia rose from $64 billion to $94 billion (table 12.30). Education spending as a proportion of Australia’s GDP rose over the same period from 5.3% to 7.1%.

    Taken from ABS.

    Between 05/06 and 09/10 government spending on Universities has gone from $13.4 Billion to $18.2 Billion. A 36% increase over those 5 years and the numbers are probably even worse now as that data is a little old.

    That $2.3 billion number is wrong the total number is $2.8 billion anyway. The universities will only have a cut of $900 million. The other cuts are about the students paying for loans etc. which would have no effect on the university other than possibly fewer students. Now considering all the extra money they have recieved over recent years and much more than the increase in students number at about 25% if you add inflation there has not been a high degree of change at all on a per student basis. I still question the need for all these students though.

    Another interesting thing I have found out is that the average age is 26 years and 11 months for a student. This number seems too old to me and I am not keen on subsidising oldies to get higher education. If it was all getting higher degrees based on community need then ok but I doubt that.

  67. Aliice

    Kelly I seriously question why we need to direct so many students (domestic) now to university and were I to suspect that if they more vocational training and sufficient jobs available for school leavers or Tafe leavers, many wouldnt be there at all.

    Cant help thinking there is something wrong with the numbers of domestic student increases in unis and I really suspect that unis are also being seen as a useful holding camp for the otherwise unemployed.

    That takes me straight back in a loop to bad policies in general that have resulted in insufficient employment generation. Students are incurring considerable debt, many living from or with heavy subsidies from their parents already for this study (thus reducing their parents savings).
    Students often express the idea that “a degree is required to get even a basic job.” Well that just suggests to me there isnt enough jobs for them and that is an economic policy problem that goes beyond this higher education debate.

  68. Aliice

    There is also something instrinsically worng with universities aspiring to be “world class centres of research” in order to”attract (a dwindling supply) foreign students as more institutions across the globe get on this bandwagon.

    Foreign students IMO, the majority of them probably dont care about the “research reputation”. That is the interest of the minority. The majority come for the lifestyle, to learn english, and they, as much as domestic students, want to have a good learning experience and gain a qualification so they can work.

    So I see enormous waste at some levels in universities and I see objectives that to some extent should not be the overriding obsession. I have heard of research academics being flown to Australia with their wives who are then paid to lie on Balmoral beach and produce one paper in three months just to chalk up a universities paper tally.
    (while those foreign students the unis claim to be trying to attract are practically underserviced in the classroom and elsewhere as soon as they have paid their first semesters fees).

    They cant all be Ivy League universities. There is nothing wrong with (in particular Australian universities) fulfilling their obligations to their students with a sound, well delivered, high quality education service that does not turn a blind eye to the all too common inconveniences the students face, in pursuit of the “higher research ideal”.

  69. Students often express the idea that “a degree is required to get even a basic job.”

    I sense this is a real problem especially in the public service wanting people with higher qualifications but for no real reason. I don’t have any evidence but just a suspicion.

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