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QUT and USQ caught red handed

QUEENSLAND'S auditor-general has fired a salvo at two universities for running up excessive costs in send-offs for vice-chancellors.

Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland are in Len Scanlan's sights for spending more than $118,000 last year on dinners and gifts to farewell Dennis Gibson and Peter Swannell.

In the latest audit report, Mr Scanlan says the spending "could be considered to be excessive". He wants tighter guidelines adopted for entertainment expenses, which must be approved by council.

The report says QUT paid $53,000 for a dinner for long-serving vice-chancellor Professor Gibson, now chancellor of RMIT University. Among his parting gifts was a Kenneth McQueen watercolour chosen by chancellor Cherrell Hirst and worth $19,300 (half of which was fringe benefits tax, says QUT).

Former USQ vice-chancellor Professor Swannell's farewell artwork was worth much less - $2000 - but, unlike Professor Gibson, he approved the purchase himself.

The tab for USQ's send-off dinner functions was $41,000. Isn't this an utter waste of student's money ? We hope QUT and USQ dont indulge in this kind of activity again.

Sydney to get a new University

Fremantle's Notre Dame University will open an interstate campus within two years and spread its students across four States in what will represent the biggest expansion in the university's 14-year history.

The campus - which will be built in the Sydney suburb of Chippendale - will be set up with the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and will offer courses in law, medicine, business, nursing and education.

Its medical school will operate in association with St Vincent's Hospital and on-the-job training will be carried out in Melbourne, Brisbane and NSW and Victoria country areas.

It is believed that 60 nursing places and 80 teaching places will be offered in 2006 and 60 medicine places will be offered a year later.

There will be more than 200 teaching and medicine places by 2010.


University of Wollongong now a 5 Star University

THE University of Wollongong has been named among the top research universities in Australia.

The university joins an elite group of eight Australian institutions which have won national recognition for their research in the 2005 Good Universities Guide.

Wollongong has gained a five-star rating in the latest guide, up from four stars last year.

It is the only regional university - and one of only two universities in NSW - to top the rankings in the research category.

The university received six five-star ratings in the independent guide which ranks the nation's universities in a range of criteria.

But unfortunately, Wollongong is not considered as a regional city by DIMIA, so international students would not be able to gain 5 points for migration purposes.

Not expected from RMIT

When Chen Chen arrived at her marketing exams at RMIT University last month, she was shocked to discover her name had been stripped from the official list of students and she would be unable to sit the test.

Ms Chen, 20, an international student from China, was plunged into a bureaucratic nightmare after the university sent to the wrong address a series of letters warning she may be excluded.

The mix-up threatened to lead to her deportation from Australia because university officials had also informed the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs that she was no longer studying.

Only the intervention of a member of the student union, who ran downstairs during her reading time for the exam to plead with officials, ensured she could sit for the test.

"My name was not on the list when the exam started," Ms Chen said. "I just went to the student union. I think it's the language difficulties, you need ... very strong English to study in Australia."

The exam drama came weeks after RMIT pro vice-chancellor (students) Malcolm McCormack intervened in Ms Chen's case.

But the university failed to update the student's records, which meant officials were unaware she was enrolled at exam time !

SOURCE - The Australian newspaper
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Over crowded Universities revealed

AUSTRALIA's most overcrowded universities have been revealed in an official list of institutions that have accepted thousands of extra students without proper funding.

Figures prepared by the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee reveal some institutions will struggle to meet a government deadline designed to ensure universities meet a target of 5 per cent or less for over-enrolments by 2008.

Universities with over-enrolments above the target include Charles Sturt University (35.4 per cent); Swinburne University of Technology (16.6 per cent); The University of Newcastle (15.4 per cent); and the University of Adelaide (13.1 per cent).

The AVCC report found the universities with the highest percentage blow-outs in number of students per staff were Charles Sturt University (76 per cent), Charles Darwin University (74 per cent) and Central Queensland University (57 per cent).

Other blow outs had occurred at the University of Wollongong (56 per cent), James Cook University (55 per cent), the University of Sydney (50 per cent) and Curtin University (50 per cent).

These universities will have to shed hundreds of places to meet the 2008 deadline, forcing Dr Nelson to agree to negotiate with universities that will struggle to meet the deadline. This also reflects the fall in the quality of teaching at these universities. It is suprising to find prestegious universities like the University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide featuring on this list.

University of Sydney gets serious on e-learning

The University of Sydney is moving to mix conventional teaching with online learning and has hired 12 people in the past year to support its e-learning infrastructure.

Professor Peter Goodyear, co-director of Sydney University's Research Centre in Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo), said "the big trend is to mix online with conventional teaching -- 'blended learning' is the buzz phrase."

Goodyear said that the blended learning approach had been partly driven by student demand. "Students expect to get a certain amount of course information online -- they expect to get reading lists, timetables, course outlines... and have email contact with tutors and lecturers," he said.

"At Sydney [University] in the last year we've appointed 12 people to support our e-learning infrastructure because we want students to have a good experience of online learning mixed in with a good experience of face-to-face learning.

"So we're taking it seriously -- 12 people is quite a sizeable team compared to other unis," Goodyear said.

Regional Universities to help you with PR

The following are the key regional universities which will help overseas students in securing 5 bonus points for PR purposes -

University of Tasmania

University of Adelaide

University of South Australia

Charles Darwin University

USQ opens new campus in Dubai

Explaining the development of the USQ Dubai Centre and the opportunity to offer quality USQ degrees, Dr. Brian Cook, Executive Director, USQ International said: 'Traditionally, North America, Europe and Australia were places where international students went for higher education. In the very near future we will see a rise of a number of other regional education hubs which will attract international students. We believe that Dubai with its innovative Knowledge Village will be one of the leaders in this race to attract the international student community. Hence this move.'

USQ, with more than 27000 students has over 8000 international students from across the world is one of the fastest growing international universities in the world with student numbers expected to touch 12000 within the next 3 years.