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Curtin, UniSyd, UTAS and UQ opt for Mercer

Mercer Investment Consulting has secured another university mandate. Curtin University of Technology Western Australia has appointed Mercer to assist in the management of the University’s investment portfolio of over $50 million.

Curtin University joins the University of Sydney, University of Tasmania and Queensland University in appointing Mercer for their advisory services.

Following a tender process Mercer was selected on the basis of its global reach, risk management approach and client focus.

Mercer will work with the University’s finance committee in managing their investment portfolio. “This recent appointment continues to build Mercer’s presence in advisory areas beyond superannuation. We are pleased that Curtin University of Technology saw the benefit of our experience with similar organisations” said Mercer executive director Tony Cole

SOURCE - The Financial Standard
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DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

UNSW Singapore campus to open in 2007

Singapore's first entirely foreign university, the University of New South Wales Asia, opens in February 2007.

However while this university from Australia promises a wide range of degrees, there is one drawback - school fees will be about 4 times more expensive than at Singapore's local universities.

Like its parent campus in Sydney, the university in Singapore will also have an international student body.

The first intake will number around 550 and 70 percent will be from the region.

The university plans to focus on a few key areas - business, media studies, science and engineering courses.

The University of New South Wales Asia will be located at a multi-million dollar campus in Changi South.

But that will only be ready in 2008 so for the first year or so it plans to use Republic Polytechnic's temporary premises.

The university hopes to implement a one-semester long exchange programmes for students in Australia and Singapore, and it's hoping to set up scholarships to subsidise the programmes.

This is because fees are not cheap - the Australian university will charge between S$22,000 and S$24,000 a year.

Professor John Ingleson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor(International), UNSW, said: "We'll be working hard to raise scholarships here in Singapore, already one of our graduate has donated 100 thousand Australian dollars, or 120 thousand Singapore dollars, towards the scholarship."

But this may not be enough to entice local students.

"I won't go there because it's expensive," said one student.

"Even the private universities only charge 8000 a year so 20,000 is just a bit too much. Local universities are tried and tested, they have reputations but UNSW is an unknown," said another.

"I prefer to send them to the local university because they have a better system here," said one parent.

Local universities charge an average of S$6,000 a year.

To help students from the region who are weaker in English, the university will also start foundation courses at Temasek Polytechnic from March 2006 until its campus is ready.

The initial intake will comprise some 550 full-time students, a quarter of whom will be post-graduate students.

The staff ratio is set at 1 to 15 students, while the school hopes to bring about 25 senior staff members from Sydney, it will open the positions to everyone.

There'll be 40 academic staff when UNSW commences in 2008, the number will grow to 400 by the year 2016.

It also plans to send researchers to work with local companies from next year.

SOURCE - Channel News Asia
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DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.

Adelaide to get a new American University

A fourth university will be established in South Australia – a private, US-backed institution aimed at attracting students from China, South-East Asia and the Middle East.

Premier Mike Rann is scheduled to sign a heads of agreement with prestigious US university Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, today.

The plan is to have the new campus open by early 2006.

It will offer both US and Australian post-graduate degrees in areas likely to include computer science, information technology, public administration and management as well as business, trade and commerce.

Carnegie Mellon has been ranked number one computer science university in the US.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and Economic Development Board chairman Robert de Crespigny were key figures in the negotiations, which have been ongoing for months. They included a recent secret visit to SA by Carnegie Mellon executives for talks with Mr Rann and Mr Downer.

Mr Rann flew to Pennsylvania on Thursday for the signing ceremony after months of negotiations. He will spend several more days in the US holding talks with defence contractors about the SA bid to build the navy's new air warfare destroyers.

"This will be a real coup for our state," Mr Rann said yesterday from Pennsylvania.

"It will really give us clout in terms of attracting foreign students from the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East."

It is understood the new university, which Government sources said yesterday would "start out small and then build", will be located either in the CBD or close to the city.

Several sites have already been examined.

Legislation enabling the establishment of the university will be introduced into State Parliament early next year.

The agreement with Carnegie Mellon enables an intensive feasibility study to examine such issues as potential sites for the campus, the courses to be offered and initial operations.

"The goal is to develop a plan under which iCarnegie and the Heinz School – the IT and public administration schools of Carnegie Mellon – will assist in the creation of the new university," Mr Rann said.

The private university would be in competition with the state's three public universities – Adelaide, Flinders and UniSA.

Mr Rann said there would be talks over the next few months with Adelaide's three existing universities to work on how they could benefit from the new institution.

Mr Downer said Carnegie Mellon was a world-class university and its standing would attract students from China, India, South-East Asia and the Middle East.

"As Foreign Minister, I am enthusiastic about supporting projects that boost innovation in Australia, create export markets in education and add dynamism to our higher education sector," he said.

"This is an excellent project for SA with potential to further develop Adelaide into the future as an education centre of excellence. This is a great outcome for our state." Trustees for the university would include thinker-in-residence Baroness Susan Greenfield, former World Trade Organisation chief executive Mike Moore, Qantas chairwoman Margaret Jackson and former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer.

Carnegie Mellon provost Mark Kamlet said the university was a leader in creating educational partnerships across the globe.

"We are pleased to work with some of the world's leading institutions to offer programs in fields where Carnegie Mellon is a leader, such as policy and management, business and computer software," he said.

iCarnegie chief executive Allan Fisher said he was looking forward to working on the new university.

SOURCE - The Advertiser
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DISCLAIMER : Media releases are provided as is by the source mentioned and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the source of the article itself.


Curtin University holds Singapore graduation ceremony

Curtin University of Technology's Executive Dean of the prestigious Curtin Business School Professor Mike Wood presented the occasional address at the University's Singapore graduation ceremony in the Raffles Convention Centre.

Professor Wood joined Curtin's Chancellor Dr Eric Tan and Vice-Chancellor Professor Lance Twomey in congratulating 534 Singaporean students who have successfully completed their studies at the University.

The event is one of four international graduation ceremonies the University conducts, with Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Miri also holding similar ceremonies at this time each year.

1776 Singaporean students are currently studying at Curtin and contribute to a cohort of around 11 824 international students studying at the University.

Professor Wood took up the position of Executive Dean of Curtin Business School in 1999 following his position as Chairman of the Wood Consultancy Group and with 10 years of experience in public sector management and 17 years of teaching and research experience in schools and four Australian universities.

Professor Wood has degrees in economics and arts, a Master of Arts from the University of Tasmania and a PhD from The University of Western Australia. He has a particular interest in Asia and the Pacific and has contributed to AusAID programs on public sector reform and human resource development in the region. His areas of publication include elections, inter-governmental financial and political relationships, human resource management, local government management, ethics and codes of conduct and public sector change.

Under his leadership, Curtin Business School joined an elite group of international tertiary educational institutions in 2001 by being awarded the European Foundation for Management Development (efmd) European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation. Curtin Business School was the only Australian institution, and one of only 52 business schools in the world, to have met rigorous international quality benchmarks to qualify for the EQUIS quality award.

Last night about 160 Curtin alumni had the opportunity to meet and network with Vice-Chancellor Professor Lance Twomey, other University staff and fellow alumni at a reception at the Raffles Convention Centre.

For further information contact: Sally Rowe - Media Coordinator Corporate Public Relations Corporate Communications Curtin University of Technology - Western Australia tel: +61 08 9266 2793 or +61 401 103 373

SOURCE - Yahoo News
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UniSA and Adelaide University lower academic standards to make it easier for international students to pass

ADELAIDE University and UniSA are among 12 tertiary institutions in Australia where international students are marked more softly by lecturers and are alienated from mainstream students, academics have found.

The study, co-authored by Adelaide University head of media Dr Chika Anyanwu, found the so-called "internationalisation" trend in universities had caused a decline in academic standards.

Some international students said they were marked more leniently.

"Even though there was no identifiable conscious effort by academics to lower the quality of their teaching during the course of this research, there was an inherent implication of such during our discussions with them," the report stated. Poor language skills and conflicting work commitments to pay the high cost of fees were cited as the cause of softer expectations for international students.

The study also found some international students in NSW had been subjected to physical and verbal abuse at the hands of an organisation called The Patriotic Youth League.

Students at another university, which was not identified, had complained of racist posters and graffiti on university noticeboards telling them to "go home".

Other complaints and problems identified in interviews with 175 staff and 270 international students were that:

THEY were "lost and are left in the deep end".

UNIVERSITY websites lacked information for new students.

VISA requirements don't allow international students to take leave during post-graduate studies, unlike Australian students.

THERE was a lack of leadership from lecturers, who are seen more as authority figures in Asian countries.

The study also cited the benefits of internationalisation as being worth $5 billion per year to national income, $1.8 billion per year in consumer spending and generating 42,000 jobs.

UniSA vice-president of international development Dr Anna Ciccarelli said enormous efforts were made to make students from overseas feel welcome at all Adelaide institutions.

"We take a whole of city view that this is important to the state, to the institutions, school and university," she said.

SOURCE - The Advertiser
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New Regional Australia List to be announced in August 2006

As per the Coalition Government's immigration policy, Regional Australia List has been prepared on the basis of 2001 Census data. Regional Australia List includes any Australian city with a population of less than 300,000. Adelaide is an exception to this rule. The Coalition Government has included Adelaide in the Regional Australia List as Adelaide's population growth rate at the moment is less than 50 percent of the national population growth. Therefore, there are two sub categories in the Regional Australia List -

1) Any Australian city with a population of less than 300,000.

2) Any Australian Capital city having a population growth rate less than 50 percent of national population growth rate (even though its total population is more than 300,000).

Census takes place every 5 years in Australia. The Census is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Government and also one of the most important. The Coalition Government has announced that the next Census would be conducted on August 8, 2006. The 2006 Census would be the first census in Australia where collection of information as well as processing of information would be done electronically.

Therefore, the Coalition Government would be announcing a new Regional Australia List based on the data collected on August 8, 2006. The Coalition Government/DIMIA has the power to ammend any immigration legislation without any prior notice. Hence, minor changes can be made to the Regional Australia List even before 2006. However, major changes would be made in August 2006.

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UTAS makes an impression in South Australia

NOT even interstate borders or Bass Strait can stop the University of Tasmania Aquaculture School from expanding its expertise.

As an example, spend some time in the South Australian coastal town of Port Lincoln and chances are you'll glimpse a car bearing the university's name.

It is not lost, nor is it just visiting.

Behind the wheel will be one of the two University of Tasmania personnel permanently based in the town researching fish health.

With Port Lincoln being a major tuna centre, the university saw an opportunity to expand its research operations interstate, and using funding from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture of Finfish, established a full-time research facility.

Currently staffed by parasitologist Dr Craig Hayward, and PhD student Hamish Aiken, next year will see two more of the university's honours students join the pair to do field work at Port Lincoln before returning to Launceston to write up their results.

But even getting out of Tasmania is not enough remoteness for Dr Hayward and Mr Aiken. Both are heading overseas after the tuna farming season this year, Dr Hayward collecting tuna parasites from Japan for comparative work, and Dr Aiken sampling Mediterranean tuna in Spain.

The work in Port Lincoln during the past two years is already producing results, with research suggesting farmed tuna have diverse, but not numerous, parasites.

Dr Hayward said while this was the case, none of the parasites posed any danger to consumers -- and actually had no significant effect on tuna health.

This research already has been presented to an Australasian Aquaculture Conference in Sydney, as well as a European conference.

South Australian industry players have backed the university's involvement in the state's rapidly developing aquaculture industry, which apart from tuna, includes kingfish, abalone and oysters.

SOURCE - Sunday Tasmanian
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UTS Malaysia program awarded

UNIVERSITY Technology Sydney’s (UTS) business degree programme, offered jointly with Taylor’s Business School (TBS), has won the Malaysia Australia Business Council’s (MABC) Small medium enterprise of the year award.

The award was presented by minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Dr Mustapa Mohamed at the MABC annual dinner. About 400 members and VIP guests, including Australian High Commissioner and MABC co-patron James Wise, graced the occasion.

MABC committee chairman Eric Pringle said the award would foster business excellence and promote bilateral trade and investment ties.

Since the inception of the programme in 1993, more than a thousand students have graduated. The programme currently has about 1,034 students.

Pringle said UTS has a good reputation as far as marketability and employability of its fresh graduates is concerned.

“The University is known as the 'powerhouse' of-Australian business. The tie-up between the two institutions has led to transfer of technology from Australia to Malaysia and encouraged the sharing of academic resources,” he added.

UTS director in Malaysia Peter Meyer said UTS was honoured to receive the award. He paid tribute to Taylor's College “without whom we would not have had such success.”

“The UTS-TBS collaboration has helped to strengthen Malaysia-Australia bilateral relationships by providing students with the option of completing their courses in Australia,” he explained.

He attributed two key factors for the success of the business degree programme – the fact that it was industry-driven and the high quality of its graduates .

The UTS-TBS programme also supports students who are financially disadvantaged by offering scholarships exceeding RM1mil.

SOURCE - The Star
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Top 15 Research Australian Universities

The Federal Committee for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, owned by the Australian Department of Higher Education, has published its report detrmining the research centric universities in Australia. The FCQA analysed the research activites at 36 australian universities. The following are the rankings of the Top 15 research universities as per FCQA report.

Rank 1 - Australian National University
Rank 2 - University of Melbourne
Rank 3 - University of New South Wales
Rank 4 - University of Sydney
Rank 5 - University of Queensland
Rank 6 - University of Western Australia
Rank 7 - Monash University
Rank 8 - University of Adelaide
Rank 9 - Flinders University
Rank 10 - Griffith University
Rank 11 - University of Tasmania
Rank 12 - La Trobe University
Rank 13 - University of New England
Rank 14 - Macquarie University
Rank 15 - Queensland University of Technology

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CQU researcher challenges maternity care in Australia

A Central Queensland University postgraduate has suggested maternity care in Australia needs an overhaul to meet the needs of today's midwives and expecting parents.

Midwife and CQU Masters degree graduate Kathy Lerato believes a holistic approach to midwifery would benefit both midwives and expecting parents.

"As in all areas of nursing, midwifery is currently suffering a severe skill shortage and a continuing high turnover," Ms Lerato explained.

"My research involved looking at work environments in which midwives were most professionally satisfied.

"The results suggested that when midwives were able to coordinate the care of women and their families throughout the pregnancy, birth and post-natal period, they feel significantly more rewarded by their work.

"Both mine and overseas research suggests this type of maternity care gives midwives and their clients a greater amount of satisfaction than the current medically led maternity care.".

Ms Lerato hopes the recommendations outlined by her research will be applied in a wide range of maternity care areas.

"Already the hospital in which I work (Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne) has expanded their midwifery-led services in line with my research recommendations.".

The Department of Health in Victoria is also using Ms Lerato's research to support the push for caseload midwifery in Victorian Maternity Services.

Ms Lerato presented her research into midwifery at the Australian College of Midwives National Conference in Perth (in September this year ) where about 600 midwives attended from around Australia.

Ms Lerato has worked as a nurse for nine years, much of that time in intensive care units. She has worked in Australia, England and Canada and also managed a health clinic in Tibet where she decided to become a midwife.

"After working in intensive care where you see so much death I decided I would like to see some life," she explained.

"The look on the faces of new parents when they see their baby for the first time is indescribably beautiful. It is a privilege to be able to share in such an extraordinary time in their lives.".

Ms Lerato competed a Graduate Diploma in Midwifery in July of 2002 and continued on to complete a Master in Midwifery at Central Queensland University in January this year.

"I looked into all the available courses in midwifery before enrolling and I found CQU offered the most flexibility with an external study option.

"Working shifts made contact hours at university difficult. Without the option to study externally, I would never have been able to continue my studies and achieve my Masters.

“Further to this, CQU offered a large practical component - larger than most other university programs offered - which definitely made me more prepared to practice midwifery upon graduating."

SOURCE - News-Medical.Net
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La Trobe students concerned

LA TROBE University Bendigo students are concerned permanent teaching staff in the second largest course on campus are being replaced with casuals.

The Bendigo Student Association and National Tertiary Education Union say the Business and Technology department has been unable to fill teaching vacancies and has employed a number of sessional, or casual, staff rather than full-time lecturers and tutors.It is claimed the staffing issue has also flared because the absence of staff going on professional leave had not been planned for.

The National Tertiary Education Union said it raised the issue with university management in August.

Concerns were also aired at a Business and Technology department board meeting earlier this month, where motions were raised calling for appropriate measures to deal with planned staff absences.

"Students are fed up with the use of sessional staff replacing full-time staff," the preamble to the motions stated.

But La Trobe University Bendigo Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, Professor Peter Sullivan, said he was unaware of any staffing problems, and casual staff were often employed in the department to provide specialist expertise.

"It's something that's completely the responsibility of the business group, because they're in charge of their own staffing," he said.

A motion put forward at the department board meeting asked that the head of the school - and the Bundoora faculty the department will merge with - ensure all full-time academic vacancies were filled before the next academic year.Bendigo sub branch of the National Tertiary Education Union representative Mary Martin said university management indicated staff replacements needed approval by the Bundoora campus faculty, which will absorb the Bendigo business department next year under the academic alignment.

She said to date this had not happened.

The Bendigo Student Association is also concerned about staffing levels in the department.Association president Peter Benne said it was important students had quality teaching staff who were more permanently involved in the campus and readily available for assistance.

"In addressing concerns with the university earlier this year, the BSA outlined students felt face-to-face access to academic staff was one of the most important factors in receiving a quality education," he said.

"Full time lecturers always have an open door for students and some have extra time blocked out to see students."The Business and Technology department has about 17 full time academic staff and 20 sessional staff cater to a student load of more than 600.

Head of School of Business and Technology, Meeuwis Boelen, said concerns about full time and sessional staff were ongoing and the department addressed issues as they arose.

"I'm concerned about any issue being raised but it's nothing out of the ordinary," he said.

Prof. Sullivan said as far as he was aware, the university had no staffing problem.

He said students were taught by a mix of permanent and casual staff, as casual staff with practical and specialist industry knowledge were occasionally employed to teach.

"We have a deliberate plan to make sure we get the best possible teaching from students," he said.

"Sometimes that means we've having permanent and long term staff and having people directly from the field to take classes.

"It's our plan that we'd have some casual staff taking students, because we value the currency of practical experience."Prof. Sullivan said the business department controlled staff management.

SOURCE - The Advertiser
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Monash establishes the largest Business School in Australia

Monash will become home to Australia's largest business school when it introduces its new Graduate School of Business (GSB) this month.

Founding director: Professor Owen Hughes.
Photo: Melissa Di Ciero

The school has been created by the merging of the Business and Economics faculty's large suite of graduate programs.

GSB founding director Professor Owen Hughes said the new centre would offer coursework programs including the MBA and the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) as well as masters programs in accounting, management, marketing and international business.

"The concept is unique in that the high-ranking MBA program will sit alongside the large range of specialist masters degrees offered by the faculty," he said.

Professor Hughes said the new school would satisfy an important, growing market when it is officially unveiled to key stakeholders, including business leaders, on 13 October. "In a departure from the traditional business school model, the Monash Graduate Business School will reside within the university," Professor Hughes said.

"Rather than competing with the university, the school will harness the vast academic resources and facilities of Monash to offer an unprecedented range of programs.

"Our scale and diversity allow an unparalleled range of study choices, with the flexibility of a variety of teaching modes in different locations."

The Business and Economics faculty already has more than 4000 graduate students, including 300 PhD candidates.

"The creation of this centre will also enhance the recognition of Monash graduate business qualifications in Australia and overseas," Professor Hughes said.

SOURCE - Monash website
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University of Canberra to close its Brisbane campus

The University of Canberra says Federal Government restrictions on enrolments have prompted the decision to close its Brisbane campus.

The campus's existing 90 students will be allowed to complete their course but no new domestic or international students will be enrolled from next semester.

University vice-chancellor Roger Dean says the Brisbane facility was successfully tapping into the business student market.

But he says a cap on the number of HECS places will stifle efforts to produce more Australian graduates.

"Eventually it will be a lack of educational power, we (Australia) only have 21 per cent of people in the workforce being graduates," he said.

"For us to be continually international competitive in science and research, and equally in the economy, we need more so the Government's making a mistake and judgment about the number of students which are needed," he said.

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DIMIA arrests 42 illegal people in Victoria

Forty-two people are in immigration detention following operations in Northern Victoria, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) said today.

Between 11 and 15 October, with the assistance of Victorian Police, DIMIA officers from Victoria and the ACT visited sites in the Victorian towns of Robinvale, Swan Hill, Piangil, Beverford, Wodonga and Namurkah. The visits targeted the agricultural industry, restaurants and residential addresses.

A DIMIA spokesperson said community information led to the location of the 42 people. Twenty-six people had overstayed their visas and the remaining 16 were working in breach of their visa conditions.

They are now in immigration detention where arrangements will be made for their removal from Australia, as required by law.

The 31 men and 11 women are from Malaysia (35), Vietnam (2) Thailand (2), The People’s Republic of China (2) and Indonesia (1).

‘In the 2003-04 financial year the department located over 20 000 people who had overstayed their visas or breached their visa conditions,’ the spokesperson said.

‘People with information on illegal workers or visas overstayers should call the Immigration Dob-In-Line on 1800 009 623.’

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DIMIA catches 12 illegal workers in Queensland

A TOTAL of 12 illegal employees have been caught working on a farm in Emerald, in central Queensland, after they were dobbed in on an Immigration Department hotline.

The department said the seven men and five women from Thailand, China, Fiji and Malaysia had either overstayed their visas or were working in breach of their visa conditions.

"It is expected all 12 will be detained in immigration detention where arrangements will be made for their removal from Australia, as required by law," it said.

The Immigration Department said it received information about the illegal workers through the department's dob-in line and encouraged anyone who knew of illegal workers to call the hotline on 1800 009 623 (1800 009 623).

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New South Wales - The first state

No matter where you are in the world you will meet people who want to talk about Sydney. no, I don't live there, you explain. No, it's not the capital. Yes, it's very beautiful you reassure them. the Harbour Bridge... very good! Ah, yes, the Opera House. Excellent, you tell them. Is that all there is to Sydney? To most tourists, probably. Ask a local, however, and the answer is a very strong No way!

While Sydney certainly has a lot going for it, it also has a lot against it and it is probably the most avoided city in Australia. It’s super high real estate prices (and cost of living in general) is often cited as a reason for not living there.

If you are a person who loves the big city, then Sydney is the place for you.

For people looking to avoid the big city and all of its distractions, then Wollongong, Newcastle and even Wagga Wagga are probably your best bet.

Maybe even Canberra could be more your style?

6.6 Million people call NSW home, and the mix of races is about 92% Caucasian, 7% asian and 1% aboriginal. Just in case you were wondering.

Does it ever get cold in Sydney?
If you close your eyes and imagine Sydney, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and beautiful blue skies are (hopefully) going to come to straight to mind. Beautiful Bondi with its golden sand and bronzed bodies; Sydney is home to perfect weather. Sometimes.

The reality is, and lots of people seem to forget this, is that it is going to rain, it does get cold and even during summer it’s going to rain. The good news is, however, that most of the time there are more sunny days than rainy days.

Inland NSW includes the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and the western plains. Temperatures here can sit around 40 degrees during a summers day, or get down around 0 degrees on a winter evening.

The highest temperature recorded in NSW is 52.8 degrees, at Bourke and the lowest is -23 at Charlottes Pass. The most rain falls in Dorrigo, with an average rainfall of 2,004mm per year. So it's not all beaches and boardshorts, though there is plenty of that too.

Facts about New South Wales
NSW, on the east coast of Australia, runs from just north of the most easterly point in Australia at Byron Bay, down to Eden in the south, a distance of about 1000 kilomters. NSW stretches out across the mountains and out into the plains and then the desert, where it meet the SA border.

The Great Dividing Range is a major attraction for a lot of people and is a great location for a range of outdoor activities from hiking to sky diving to mountain biking.

The population loves to live near the coast, and that is where you are going to find the biggest universities. Farming and agriculture is the big feature of inland NSW. Lots of big, big farms.

Major Cities in New South Wales
NSW is divided into 4 regions: Northern, Southern, Sydney, and Western and the majority of the population can be found in the first three.

Top 5 attractions in Sydney
1. Take a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The hard way! Not for the faint haearted or the tourist short on cash. Bridge Climb, Sydney Harbour Bridge

2. Sit back and relax and enjoy the harbour views: Take the Manly Ferry and visit Manly

3. It's reallynot just for kids y'know: The Powerhouse Museum

4. Time for lunch? Head into the city and then up into the sky for a buffet meal with a view at AMP Tower

5. And now you're totally bloated and exhausted, head out to Bondi Beach and watch the sunset. Ahh, what a day!

How many international students study in NSW?
Based on figures for the year 2003, there were 45,000 international students in New South Wales. That's the second highest in Australia, behind Victoria.

Most popular beer
Tough to call, this one, but Tooheys New is probably in the lead. You’re going to have to order it in a middie or a schooner.

UniSyd - Pay battle, the first of many

THE battle for the pay and conditions of nearly 200 staff to be transferred from the University of Sydney to other institutions is a taste of things to come as universities rationalise, unions have warned.

National Tertiary Education Union NSW state president Stuart Rosewarne said while his union was happy with the outcome of negotiations, which closed last week, "we remain uncomfortable about the rationalisation at the University of Sydney".

"The distinct impression that the union has is this will be the start of something that will occur right across the higher education sector," Mr Rosewarne said.

Community and Public Sector Union senior federal industrial officer David Mendelssohn agreed Sydney's was likely to be the first in a series of rationalisations.

"It's a bit unpredictable where the next one is going to arise, so we need to be prepared to go through this sort of exercise again," he said.

NTEU and Sydney University are negotiating the transfer of about 60 nursing staff to the Australian Catholic University and the University of Technology, Sydney.

The university also plans to transfer more than 100 staff at its faculty of rural management in Orange, central NSW, to Charles Sturt University.

Mr Rosewarne said foremost in the minds of negotiators was that the results of seven months of talks, which culminated in a three-day session last week, would "in effect, set the benchmark for what staff can expect to have when they are transferred".

All transferred staff will keep their University of Sydney terms and conditions for the next 18 months, including 36 weeks paid parental leave. They will have job security until the end of 2007.

There is a $2500 goodwill payment to all staff. Staff will also be able to apply for pre-retirement contracts of up to five years with a salary loading of up to 30 per cent.

Mr Rosewarne said the union had negotiated an agreement that Sydney University would talk to ACU and UTS about paying the salaries, (or part thereof) of six to 10 transferred nursing staff for six to 12 months.

Sydney vice-chancellor Gavin Brown also agreed to allocate $500,000 to address the urgent need for more research in nursing.

In July, federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson confirmed he would allow Sydney University to transfer 515 nursing places to ACU and UTS.

The CPSU is still negotiating with the university about the fate of 60 staff.

The potential for job losses at Orange was impossible to quantify because CSU had not yet made an assessment of its staff needs. "There is also yet to be an assessment of general staff needs at nursing in Sydney," Mr Mendelssohn said. CPSU staff in the nursing faculty will be redeployed within Sydney University.

Mr Mendelssohn said it was difficult to name Sydney as a benchmark, because it was "one of the more cashed-up universities" and "could afford to be more generous than some of the other institutions". "It'll be a benchmark in that the unions will be trying to achieve similar outcomes elsewhere but whether they will be achievable in the context of other universities' financial situation is another matter."

SOURCE - The Australian
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RMIT playing safe

AS part of a plan to further entice international students, the financially troubled RMIT University has given the go-ahead to a $60 million student accommodation project - but will not underwrite the deal.

The university has cut a deal with the Tuscan Corporation, which also developed the Sydney University Village, to build, own and operate the apartments - and carry the financial risk of the whole project.

The University of Sydney project was the first build, own and operate scheme to be negotiated in Australia, something that looks likely to become a popular alternative for cash-strapped universities such as RMIT.

RMIT pro vice-chancellor (finance and business services) Cameron Moroney said the deal was a reflection of the growth of the general market for student accommodation.

"The general market for this sort of fully fledged student accommodation and full-care environment has matured a little bit over recent years," Mr Moroney said.

"Some years ago we went out to build a student village on the northern end of the Carlton United Brewery site [owned by RMIT] and that came to nought at the end of the day. One of the key things in that was that RMIT had to underwrite - as did most universities at the time - and carry the risk of the whole project.

"Things have moved on a bit since then, so the arrangement with Tuscan is that they are going to build, own and operate the facility."

Student accommodation involves large capital expenditure - $65,000 to $90,000 per bed - and Mr Moroney said he felt it would be a popular way forward for universities.

The RMIT development will be located close to the university's city campus. The first stage, due to be finished by next January, will provide accommodation for 470 students - at an approximate cost of $175 per person per week in a two-person apartment.

Tuscan plans to house another 200 students in an extension of the facility, which has yet to receive planning approval.

"The understanding we have with them is around a marketing and full integration of it with our student services ... we have pretty consistent involvement with how the facility is run and how it dovetails with the university, and our arrangement has a number of performance parameters around it," Mr Moroney said.

He said that while the accommodation would be available to both local and international students, the project was part of an overall pitch to the international student market.

"We feel that we need to rebuild and re-establish a much stronger end-to-end experience for international students and, first things first, it starts right from the beginning with their accommodation."

SOURCE - The Australian
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See more Indian faces around Uni Campus? This article explains why

Even as the number of overseas students rises steeply on Australian campuses, with a whopping 12 per cent increase recorded in the last financial year, India lags behind, with experts indicating that Indian students are yet to realise the multiple benefits of studying Down Under and continue to look more at the US and Europe.

The major source countries for visa grants offshore in 2002-03 period does not include India, even as China (14,215), US (10,477), Malaysia (8,032), Korea (7,323), Hong Kong (6,576), and Japan (6,319) making it to the top five slots.

"After decades of immigration to the US, Indians virtually feel at home there rather than in Australia, which has begun opening up since 2001. There are other factors too like Australia demands one to show proof of liquidity status that can help a student fund the studies, which few students can afford. Moreover, the two-year study period does not permit self-funded study (earn while you learn) like in the US and even the eligibility criteria like English proficiency has been a barrier," says Ashok Dhruva of Capri Overseas, an education consultancy firm here.

Australia not only ranks fifth in the world for having the most effective education system after South Korea, which leads the ranking ahead of Japan, Finland, and Canada, but also offers a PR for skilled migrants even before he or she is made a job offer in the country.

"Education loans is an issue as not many are ready to pay an interest of 11 per cent on the loan. But, they can repay it in a span of three years if they get a job under the skilled category after they pass out. It is a fact th at students, most of whom are aspiring immigrants, never make an effort to study subjects which are in great demand and have high employment potential," says Dhruva.

Australia could be an ideal immigration destination as it will face a labour shortfall of 500,000 workers by 2020 and India will have up to 47 million unemployed, most of them young and educated.

"The country has several shortage categories like accountants, pharmacists and engineering. But owing to high costs of education, which demands at least Rs 15-20 lakh for a two-year course, there are not many takers," says Vishal Shah of Om International, an immigration consultancy firm.

Australian government statistics confirm that 89 per cent of Skilled Independent visa holders gain employment within first six months and 92 per cent within 18 months.

Immigration consultants say Australia is one of the countries which has a wide choice under its Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) and the visa and PR norms are not as tough as the US.

"Students and immigrants get the Australian visas at home,while PR is offered on a platter if you fall into the MODL. This despite the fact that you have no job offer on hand," asserts Dhruva.

SOURCE - The Times of India
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FROM THE ARCHIVES SECTION: University of Tasmania makes it easier to migrate to Australia

The University of Tasmania recently announced new Accountancy courses. In describing new Master of Professional Accounting Specialisation (MPAS) course the University doesn't hesitate to point out the following ...

"This course will be of particular interest to international students who are considering permanently residing in Australia as it fulfils the current requirements laid out by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs with regard to the Graduate Skilled Migration to Australia program."

This course would make it extremely easy for accounting graduates to obtain PR as University of Tasmania has been notified by DIMIA as a regional university and therefore, students studying at the University of Tasmania would be able to obtain 5 additional points for their PR purposes. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT STUDENTS FROM ANY BACKGROUND CAN STUDY MPAS. EVEN ENGINEERING OR ARTS STUDENTS CAN STUDY MPAS AT UTAS AS MPAS HAS BEEN SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT ANY BACKGROUND IN ACCOUNTING.
The University of Tasmania also offers various Master's programs in Information Technology, Information Systems and Computing for international students who wish to study IT and migrate to Australia.

The University of Tasmania is one of the oldest universities in Australia. Founded in Hobart in 1890, it was the fourth university to be established in Australia. It is highly regarded internationally as a teaching and research institution and offers a wide range of courses. The University has a student population of 15,000 including approximately 1500 international students. Class sizes are generally small and lecturers and tutors can be consulted without difficulty.

The University offers a pleasant, enjoyable natural environment for study. The University has two major campuses, in Hobart and in Launceston, and a study centre situated at Burnie, on the State's north west coast. Both major campuses are set in beautiful landscaped grounds a few kilometres from the city centre and most students are able to live within walking distance of their campus.

Graduates of the university have reached senior levels in business, the professions and government, and are numbered among the ranks of governors, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, university vice-chancellors, heads of government departments, professors, leading scientists and artists.

A University of international standing, committed to excellent teaching and quality learning opportunities for its students, the University of Tasmania offers one of the best choices available in Australian higher education.

The University of Tasmania's international full fee program has grown rapidly in recent years. The combination of lower living costs in Tasmanian cities and tuition fees that are less than most comparable universities in Australia have attracted increasing numbers of international students seeking value in overseas education. The University also has one of the most generous international scholarship schemes available. It has the highest rating possible (five stars) for graduate outcomes in the Good Universities Guide, 2004.

All this makes this University one of the best option for international students as it offers world class education along with an opportunity to migrate to Australia.

SOURCE - Auggis
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Australian University Championships Rowing 2004

The 2004 Australian University Championships - Rowing Regatta was held on Lake Barrington, located approximately 50kms from Devonport in Northern Tasmania.

Many rowing events have been hosted on Lake Barrington most recently the AustralianNationals in 2003. Lake Barrington was custom built for the World Championships in the early 1990’s, since then it has hosted 4 national Championships and is recognised within the top 3 of the worlds best natural courses.

20 universities participated in this 5 day championships.

The results are as follows -

GOLD - University of Melbourne

SILVER - University of Sydney

BRONZE - University of Tasmania

SOURCE - Australian University Sport
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Indian students prefer Australia over US

The United States continues to receive the largest number of Indian students every year, but the growth in the number of Indian students pursuing higher studies in universities and colleges in Australia has been the fastest among all countries.

The gap between the number of Indian students enrolled for post-graduate studies in the US and in Australia has narrowed considerably in the last few years.

This is based on the official estimate that only 25 per cent of all Indian students in the US go for post-graduate studies, compared to 90 per cent of Indian students in Australia going for post-graduate studies.

Thus, 13,666 students out of a total Indian students' strength of 54,664, were enrolled for post-graduate studies in the US in 2001. This figure went up to 18,650 in 2003.

The similar figures for Indian students in universities and colleges in Australia were 9,360 in 2001, and this almost doubled to 17,100 in 2004.

The Australian government has relaxed the conditions required for Australian Student Visa for post-graduate, under-graduate and vocational or polytechnic students on two occasions since the introduction of the current student visa system on July 1, 2001, according to an educational counselor at the Australian High Commission.

From over 10,400 enrollments in 2001, the number has surged to over 19,000 expected in 2004 (China had sent 29,000 students to Australia in the same year). The rapid increase in the popularity of Australia as a preferred study destination for Indian students is demonstrated by the fact that there were only 1,500 Indian student enrollments in 1994.

Most of the post-graduate students were undertaking study in the fields of computing science, business administration and accounting; and engineering. India provides the highest numbers of computing science and engineering student enrollments for Australia's higher education institutions.

Of these, 17,000 higher education enrollments from India, 13,000 or 75 per cent are undertaking a post-graduate qualification by course work, the highest number of any country.

For the next year, the Australian High Commission expects more than 20,000 Indian student enrollments in Australia. India is now expected to be ranked fourth among countries sending their students for enrollments in Australia, up from the 9th position at the start of 2004.

"The Indian student has become mature, he is not in a hurry to finish off studies. Students take breaks in between, the profiles of students coming to us are changing, most of them are working. They are taking informed decisions. Besides, since India is an emerging economy, remunerations within the country have improved considerably," reasoned a counselor at USEFI.

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Student in court over uni 'prank'

INITIATION rituals at the University of NSW will be investigated to stem a culture of binge drinking and criminal activity.

It has emerged that first-year students were coerced into dangerous practices by a fraternity group operating in UNSW's residential colleges.

Police charged two students in relation to Baxter College's "Third Last Wednesday of Spring" ritual held in August.

The allegedly heavily-intoxicated students were arrested for stealing men's magazines.

A letter obtained by The Daily Telegraph was sent to 10 college students "nominated" to take part in the event, described as "the single greatest test of manhood, to uphold the traditions that have been fused in the crucible of Baxter life".

The students were required at a secret location at 5.30am on August 11 to "push [their] livers to limits considered cruel".

Bound by a code of secrecy, the "freshers" or first-year students, were allegedly made to binge drink and carry out dares.

Maroubra detectives crime manager Peter Thorne said an officer would visit the campus this week to ascertain the extent of the activities.

"This goes on in universities throughout the world [but] if they are encouraging or actually inciting criminal offences we will act swiftly and take action," Mr Thorne said.

"If this type of initiation process is going on and is continuing it will not be tolerated."

A UNSW spokesman said the college had launched its own investigation into the incident and students found to have coerced others would be expelled.

"We are still working to identify the other students involved," Kensington Colleges principal fellow Dr Ian Walker said.

"Disciplinary action will be taken - those identified as leaders will not be returning to college.

"This sort of behaviour has no place in college or campus life - it is totally unacceptable. The colleges have strict policies in relation to conduct such as harassment, bullying and alcohol use. Any future participation in such activities will lead to immediate expulsion."

Jacques Cotterill, 19, appeared in Downing Centre Local Court last week after pleading guilty to shoplifting Australian Penthouse magazines with a fellow Baxter College student.

Court documents claim that the pair entered the 7-11 store in Elizabeth St, Surry Hills at 11.15am and grabbed four magazines before fleeing to a nearby hotel.

They continued to Central railway station, where they were stopped by police.

"[The youths] appeared to be well-affected by intoxicating liquor," police said.

"They both smelt highly of intoxicating liquor, had red, bloodshot eyes and were unsteady on their feet."

The offence was found proved but no conviction recorded.

Cotterill was ordered to compensate the store's owners for the stolen magazines.

On hearing evidence of Baxter College practices, magistrate Helen Syme ordered a transcript of court proceedings to be sent to UNSW.

SOURCE - The Advertiser
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University of Melbourne to axe courses at four campuses

Melbourne University looks set to axe full-time agricultural courses at four of its five campuses in regional Victoria because of declining student numbers.

The university said it could no longer afford to teach full-time Vocational Education and Training (VET) agriculture courses at the regional campuses.

The affected campuses are at Glenormiston, near Terang, in the state's south-west, McMillan, in Warragul, south-east of Melbourne, Longerenong near Horsham, in the state's west, and Gilbert Chandler in Werribee, south-west of Melbourne.

The university said if it failed to find alternative rural institutions to teach its agriculture courses by mid-November, it would move them to its Dookie campus, near Shepparton in central Victoria.

The move has angered unions, with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) saying the university had abrogated its responsibility to regional Victorians.

"It seems as if our universities treat their regional responsibilities in the same way Australian banks do," NTEU Victorian branch secretary Matthew McGowan said.

"When was the last time we saw a campus open in regional Victoria.

"I think it is time the universities took their responsibilities to the staff and to the communities they service seriously."

Mr McGowan warned changes to the higher education sector could result in course closures at other universities.

"The increased reliance on an entrepreneurial approach, deregulation of fees and removing community representatives from university councils and stacking them with business representatives means that universities no longer have as a primary focus community responsibility," he said.

But Melbourne University said its land and food resources faculty, which ran the full-time VET agriculture courses, had accumulated a $15 million deficit over the last five years.

"Despite extensive marketing efforts over three years, there has been a disappointing demand for undergraduate courses offered at the Dookie campus and for full-time VET programs offered at Glenormiston, Longerenong and McMillan," Land and food resources dean Bob Richardson said.

"Unless circumstances change dramatically, the university cannot sustain the delivery of high-quality full-time higher education and VET courses from a multiple number of campuses in regional Victoria."

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CQU to conduct its 6th annual social survey

A phone survey starting today will seek the attitudes and opinions of people from 1,200 households across central Queensland.

The Population Research Lab, based at Central Queensland University, will undertake its sixth annual social survey for the region that includes Bundaberg and extends west to the Northern Territory border.

Lab manager Lindsay Greer says results of the study will help researchers, government departments and non-profit organisations.

"The survey will ask respondents [about] their attitudes towards health, quality of life, changing lifestyles, tourism and education," he said.

"The Population Research Laboratory itself, we collect a lot of demographic data which we plan to [collect] on a sort of longitudinal kind of basis.

"So in 10 years time we will be able to look back and look at trends that are occurring within central Queensland."

SOURCE - ABC Central Queensland
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QUT study considers drug driving

Saliva samples are being taken from drivers in Townsville, in north Queensland, in a pilot study to determine what drugs motorists are taking before driving.

Queensland University of Technology's Centre for Accident Research is offering drivers $20 in exchange for one milligram of saliva.

The centre's Dr Jeremy Davey says researchers are looking for levels of cannabis, speed and heroin.

He says the study will help formulate education campaigns aimed at younger drivers.

"Some of our earlier work that we looked at when we were sampling university students in the Brisbane area found that drug driving was even more prevalent than drink-driving in that the younger population and the majority of people didn't think it was harmful," he said.

The samples are being taken near police random breath test sites, but will not be passed onto police.

SOURCE - ABC Queensland
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Students duped in uni racket

UNSCRUPULOUS education agents duped 32 foreign university students into paying up to $15,000 each for forged documents falsely showing they had passed a bridging course that was a gateway to further study, the NSW anti-corruption body has found.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption criticised the University of Sydney for delays in reporting the fraud, saying this had hampered investigators' efforts.

The commission said staff at the university's International Office "failed to report the frauds up the line" when they came to light in October 2003.

ICAC found the full-fee-paying students had presented to the University of Sydney, Macquarie University and the University of Technology, Sydney, documents that claimed they had graduated from the bridging course, run by the University of NSW.

The students had paid Sydney-based education agents between $11,000 and $15,000 for the documents, which falsely showed they had passed the course, or inflated poor marks up to a pass grade.

In her report, Commissioner Irene Moss said unregulated agents threatened the reputation of the multi-billion dollar education sector.

ICAC concentrated on the transfer of 24 students from UNSW to Sydney University.

The commission was unable to determine when International Office managing director Peter Dodd became aware of the fraud.

Mr Dodd told the university's Internal Audit and Review unit "he had not reported the matter earlier because he had not considered it necessary", the report said.

The commission pursued the education agency thought to be behind much of the fraud, but was told the employee it wanted to question had fled home to Malaysia.

ICAC staff were unable to question any agents or their subcontracted employees.

"The commission found itself traversing an investigation trail that had long since become cold," it says in yesterday's report.

"Its capacity to identify core offenders was severely diminished, as was its capacity to generate compelling evidence in relation to the nature and extent of the involvement of those persons (agents) that could be identified."

Ms Moss said the use of unregulated education agents increased the risk of fraud against the nation's universities, which the report says earned $2.7billion from foreign students in 2002.

"The financial imperatives of universities, their reliance on overseas students for income and the widespread use of unregulated agents spruiking for business means the sector is clearly vulnerable to fraud," she said.

ICAC found no evidence of corruption at the University of Sydney's International Office, but said it suffered serious staff shortages, had poor file-keeping and told an admissions officer it "did not want to get involved" in the fraud allegations.

University of Sydney vice-chancellor Gavin Brown welcomed the report, saying an internal review "actually identified 16 fraudulent applications, and that investigation greatly assisted the ICAC inquiries".

Professor Brown said the university had already complied with the ICAC recommendations, including that it revise its corruption reporting guidelines, educate staff on the guidelines, use only electronic systems to transfer students from foundation courses, and ban agents from verifying students' forms.

UNSW deputy vice-chancellor, international, John Ingleson, said his university had detected the initial fraud and immediately informed the police, all universities in Australia and New Zealand and the Department of Immigration.

UNSW introduced an online checking system in March.

SOURCE - The Australian
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UniSyd Orange campus to be transferred to CSU

THE University of Sydney Orange campus (USO) could be under the control of Charles Sturt University (CSU) from as early as January 1, 2005.

The institutions are meeting almost daily as part of a continuing negotiation process to devise a transfer proposal that addresses every aspect of campus operation.

USO dean and campus director Professor Kevin Parton said there were a range of details to be decided prior to the proposed transfer date of January 1, 2005.

"We are trying to make sure that if the transfer proceeds the way we do things in Orange fits into CSU's way of doing things in every aspect - from the enrolment of students to the organisation of accommodation for students," he said.

Prof Parton hopes details of the transfer will be finalised in the next couple of weeks.

"A series of discussions will continue and eventually I expect there will be some resolution with a proposal that everyone can accept that finalises the issue," he said.

Negotiations related to the future of USO staff are still under way.

In July Federal Minister for Education Brendan Nelson announced the transfer of 240 student places from USO to CSU during the allocation of student places to Australian universities.

SOURCE - Central Western Daily
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Strike at University of Ballarat

UNIVERSITY of Ballarat staff will walk off the job on Tuesday for 24 hours in protest over work and pay conditions.

The National Tertiary Education Union claimed staff were unhappy with the university's new pay offer included in the latest round of enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations.

"The university's salary offer of 13.2 per cent over three years is significantly below offers made at other Victorian universities," NTEU Victorian division secretary Matthew McGowan said.

"We would reasonably expect the university to make a more realistic offer."

Staff at other universities have been offered between 15 and 19 per cent.

University of Ballarat vice-chancellor Kerry Cox said the offer made by the university was financially responsible.

"I believe the hard-working staff that we have at the university deserve a significant pay rise and I would hope that that would come sooner rather than later," Prof Cox told The Courier.

"But we cannot agree to salary rises that are going to put the university's financial position in jeopardy. We have to manage the university over a five, 10 and 15-year period, not over the next six months."

Prof Cox, speaking from southern China where the University of Ballarat was hosting a distant education graduation ceremony yesterday, said the university had been negotiating with the unions for a "very long time" and had reached agreements on a range

of staffing matters and conditions.

"The NTEU is pursuing a single pattern of bargaining across Australia but our conditions and needs at the University of Ballarat are quite different to the University of Melbourne or Monash University or Latrobe," Prof Cox said.

Mr McGowan said as a regional university, it was important that the University of Ballarat offered reasonable salaries and employment conditions to continue to attract high quality staff to the area.

"With the federal election out of the way, universities are clear about the funding regime and their income sources," Mr McGowan said. "Like many other universities, Ballarat has increased HECS fees for most courses by 25 per cent from 2005. Income from

full-fee paying overseas students has also increased dramatically in 2004."

Prof Cox, however, felt strike action was unnecessary.

"I think it is unfortunate in circumstances where we have had a good progressive relationship with the unions that it would now result in strike action," Prof Cox said.

SOURCE - Ballarat your guide
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Employers provide work experience for 400 university accounting students

Approximately 400 university accounting students will complete their two-week placement with Australian and Asian employers today as part of their free membership with the CPA Passport program.

The CPA Passport Work Experience Program is the largest of its type in Australia and is highly valued by university accounting students. It is run twice annually, in December and February.

Students are placed with employers such as Coles Myer, Cadbury Schweppes, ANZ, HSBC, American Express, Nestle, Ernst & Young, Lonely Planet Publications, and government departments.

The Director of Marketing at CPA Australia, Ian Mayer, said the placements provide students with the opportunity to gain hands on practical experience in finance, accounting and business to assist with their transition from study to full-time work.

'This is a win-win situation. Employers gauge the quality of students that will be graduating in the next 12 months, and some students 'get a foot in the door' to enhance their career prospects,' Mr Mayer said.

'In fact, a number of students have received either part time, full-time or casual employment as a direct result of their placement.

'For CPA Australia, it is an opportunity to contribute to the professional development of young prospective accountants. It also helps build relationships and goodwill between our organisation, students and the business world in Australia and Asia.'

The program doesn't cost employers anything and the students only incur a $20 fee to cover administrative costs. Employers who participate and who are CPAs receive 10 CPD hours for their time.

The Program also provided the opportunity for five students from Australia to travel to Asia for a three-week placement with a foreign company. To be eligible for the Asia placement, all five had to complete a rigorous selection process that included two rounds of interviews and an essay. CPA Australia paid for their airfare, accommodation and gave them $1000 spending money.

Of the five currently undertaking the program, two travelled to Hong Kong, two to Singapore and one to Malaysia.

SOURCE - CPA Australia Media Centre
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Record first semester enrolments in CPA Program

Australia's leading professional finance and accounting body, CPA Australia, recorded its sixth consecutive record for first semester enrolments in the CPA Program, cementing it as the most popular professional accounting program in Australia and the nation's largest postgraduate distance education course.

There were 18,450 enrolments in 1st semester 2004, representing an 11 per cent increase on the 1999 corresponding semester. The rise comes at a time when in 2004 the CPA Program increased from five to six segments – three compulsory and three electives.

The new CPA Program has a greater management focus with the introduction of two new segments. The new compulsory subject, Business Strategy & Leadership, provides an understanding of business strategies for long term performance and growth. The new elective, Knowledge Management, focuses on intellectual capital, the role of information technology, and the impact of knowledge and organisational change.

CPA Australia's Director of Education, Ann Johns, said the increase in enrolments were an endorsement of the CPA Program by future leaders in finance, accounting and business.

'Although the requirements of the CPA Program increased by a segment, it continues to be the most sought after postgraduate qualification in business,' Ms Johns said.

'The program is recognised worldwide and, because of its international portability and wide range of segments, offers the kind of flexibility that attracts high calibre candidates.

'Demand for CPAs continues at an all time high. There are more CPAs than any other professional body advising in finance, accounting and business.

'Graduates realise the many advantages of completing the CPA Program and more than ever are taking up the challenge to attain the CPA designation.'

Ms Johns said CPA Australia will continue to update the program to keep ahead of market demands and consult extensively with key stakeholders.

'We spend a lot of time researching and considering the needs of finance, accounting and business professionals in industry, commerce, public practice and government. This ensures the CPA Program will deliver graduates who can help businesses grow and prosper,' Ms Johns said.

'CPA Program segments are updated every semester, with revisions made as a result of changes to legislation, accounting standards and industry developments.'

SOURCE - CPA Australia Media Centre
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UTS new midwifery degree course flooded with applications - 400 applications for 30 seats !

THE University of Technology, Sydney, without a single advertisement for its new midwifery degree course, has fielded 400 applications for the program, which has an intake for its first cohort next year of just 30.

Asked how UTS would cull the 400 down to 30, dean of Nursing Midwifery and Health Jill White told the HES: "With great difficulty."

The "first point of culling" will be a questionnaire for hopefuls.

"There is a strict protocol established in the university to make sure it's done fairly."

Professor White and her team have until the end of next month to make the cuts but it was hoped that more places would be made available in future years.

Professor White said UTS was able to offer the course after years of lobbying that culminated in the passage of enabling legislation in the NSW parliament.

Midwifery degree courses are available in Victoria and South Australia but UTS's is the first in NSW.

Professor White said the establishment of the course was in response to a "staggering shortage" across the country of midwife numbers.

"It's really worse than the shortage of nurses," she said.

Graduates of similar courses in Britain and New Zealand "were warmly welcomed in the practice" and Professor White expected UTS midwives to also be in demand from employers.

UTS worked with the NSW Nurses Association, the Nurses and Midwives Association and the midwives' national peak body, the Australian College of Midwives, to lobby for the legislation.

The Nurses and Midwives Board of NSW has accredited the course for seven years.

Professor White said the program meant those who wanted to be midwives could focus on that area instead of completing general nursing studies only to need a further qualification for midwifery.

"There are a lot of people who want to be part of midwifery, part of the joyous experience in life, who don't necessarily want to be nurses first," Professor White said.

UTS would keep its 14-month graduate diploma in midwifery for trained nurses who wanted to branch out.

Students will have practical training in their first year and will be partnered with a mother-to-be throughout her pregnancy, labour and post-natal period.

The biggest issue for the university was insurance.

"No insurance company would come to the party [to cover the birthing process]," Professor White said.

The NSW Department of Health will cover the course's first year but the university will have to work with the department to try to secure backing from the federal Government or insurance companies for coverage beyond that.

"This is really very low risk but there is just no insurance available at the moment," Professor White said.

SOURCE - The Australian
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Iraq campuses rebuild in hope

THE higher education and research infrastructure of Iraq not only suffered substantially after the collapse of the former regime but continues to face the cumulative effects of three decades of mismanagement, Baathist cultural indoctrination, and regime corruption of academic ethics.

As a consequence, many Iraqi universities regressed or are frozen in terms of development. The last humiliating act in the long process of erosion was the looting and destruction.

The sequence of devastations inflicted on Iraqi universities transformed what was perhaps the most respected and well-developed higher educational and research system in the Middle East to a miniature shadow of its former self. The University of Baghdad, as an example, was known as the Harvard of the Middle East.

For most of the past two decades, Iraqi higher education institutions faced fundamental problems in being cut off from any significant international contact. What this meant practically was the suspension of library subscriptions to academic journals and the acquisition of new books and having to train students and conduct research using outdated laboratory and computing equipment.

Travel abroad for faculty members and students was extremely restricted. Throughout the last 3 1/2 decades of Baath Party rule, academic independence and freedom of thought and expression were severely constrained.

Under the former regime, the well-established universities in Baghdad and provincial centres were neglected to the benefit of ad hoc elite institutions such as Saddam University - which was lavished with resources and staffed with the best academics in Iraq. The intent was to supply the state a loyal class of highly educated and competent technocrats.

Over the past two weeks, a high-level delegation from the University of Baghdad and the Iraqi National Academy of Sciences visited Australia at the invitation of the Australian Iraqi Forum. The delegation was headed by dissident scientist Hussain Al-Shahristani, who spent 11 years in solitary confinement for refusing to join Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program. He is now president of the Iraqi National Academy of Sciences. The delegation also included University of Baghdad president Mosa Al-Mosawe and its engineering faculty dean Ali Al-Kiliddar.

The story they conveyed to us, and to the senior university managements and government officials they visited, carried signs of hope and optimism in the new Iraq. Iraqi universities are functioning regularly despite of all the difficulties they face. The delegation demonstrated how determined they are to revive higher education and to elevate research standards at their institutions. Their commitment was remarkable.

The group visited seven universities and signed two memoranda of understanding with Monash University and another with the University of Technology, Sydney. A draft MOU with the Australian National University is under review.

In meetings with senior management of the universities visited, the delegation discussed areas of possible co-operation including exchange of faculty members and students, joint research projects, joint conferences, joint cultural programs, assistance in curriculum development and short courses for professional development.

In meetings in Canberra with the Department of Education, Science and Training, AusAid and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the delegation put forward a compelling case for the need for Australia's assistance to revive Iraq's higher education system.

In two visits to Iraq over the past 18 months and in discussions with the higher education delegation last week, I found that in spite of all the adversities and instead of despairing, staff and students remain remarkably upbeat and optimistic. Universities recessed for the duration of the war and continued their classes and scheduled exams from mid-May to mid-July 2003. Students in their final year have already graduated. The new academic year has already commenced as of the start of October 2004.

The higher education system in Iraq comprises 22 major public universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges. At the start of the 2002-2003 academic year, these institutions had more than 240,000 students with nearly 14,700 full-time academic staff.

Australian universities, with their global focus and their internationally recognised role in advancing research in various fields, are ideally suited to help revive Iraq's university system and rebuild its skills base by training students and staff who now represent the future of their country. This could best be achieved by building a national consortium of university programs in collaboration with Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education, with financial and in-kind support to be provided by the Iraqi government, AusAid, the World Bank and the universities forming the consortium.

Advancing academic programs with the new Iraq would be an investment in future collaboration between Iraqi and Australian universities, with the potential for fee-paying students and academic staff trainees coming to Australia in the years to come.

Through such programs, Australian universities have a unique opportunity to stand at the centre of world events and expand their global vision - an opportunity that should be embraced.

Riadh Al-Mahaidi is president of the Australian Iraqi Forum and head of the structural engineering group in the department of civil engineering at Monash University.

SOURCE - The Australian
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Tiny fish make big splash in e-learning : The changing face of Australian education

Subtle changes are occurring throughout Australia's universities as e-learning forges new links between academics and students - both off and on campus - sometimes blurring the boundaries between educational sectors.

This was highlighted by e-learning software executives at the WebCT user conference held at Manly in Sydney last month. Now claiming more than a million users, the platform was touted as supporting distance education and transforming university campus life.

"What we have found is the students who are taking fully online courses come from on-campus too, because for one subject it might be more convenient," says Karen Gage, WebCT's vice-president of marketing. "There is also a phenomenon where different people participate when it's online, maybe because they are shy or because they want more time to compose their thoughts, which they can have online."

Peter Segall, the company's executive vice-president of global sales, says lecturers are now using e-learning systems to achieve greater flexibility in maintaining on-campus student contact. "If a student wants to see them, they don't have to sit in their office," he says. "They can handle it online. And you can have students submit assignments online where the dates don't even match up with their classes."

Regional account manager Melissa Hurrell says one lecturer at the University of Wollongong maintains one-on-one online interactions in classes of up to 300, which doesn't happen during a traditional lecture.

Lecturer life is also changing at the University of New South Wales, and Deakin University in Victoria, with specific funding to develop e-learning courseware. Hurrell says that to gain access to these funds, the development must be done in accordance with university guidelines. However, there are also new academic freedoms. Some lecturers are building specialist courses that, only because of e-learning, can recoup their costs.

"The University of Tasmania has specialised courses in fisheries, which also attract off-campus students," Hurrell says. "Ballarat University has one on brewing beer. But running it in Ballarat (alone) is not viable, so they are offering it in China as well."

Online curriculum is allowing the University of Tasmania to have an influence in Malaysia, China and Singapore. Christine Goodacre, the institution's director of flexible education, believes straight campus-based teaching, where every lesson is face-to-face, is going the way of the dodo.
"The traditional notion of people coming on campus doesn't work any more," she says. "Universities need to adjust for that. We aim to improve the participation rate in higher education. It includes e-learning and other strategies, such as video-conferencing and intensive block teaching. Students are going to work much more in groups using case-based work from different locations, with (online) discussion boards and chats."

WebCT's Hurrell says the distinctions between online and campus-based students are starting to disappear at many universities.

"In Australia this is very common and increasingly the case," Hurrell says. "At Monash University (in Victoria) they record each cohort separately but have a policy to make them study together online, to get the same educational experience. Across South-East Asia it's bringing students of different cultures together in discussion forums - looking at different ways they solve problems and can work together."

However, being a big fish in a small pond, it's the University of Tasmania that's fostering cross-cultural collaboration, by building IT bridges between education sectors that in some states hardly talk to each other.

It's been researching the thorny issue of e-learning sharing and trading between institutions, a practice Goodacre says is in its infancy.

"We received a federal grant last year to develop a schema for describing resources which would work between the university, TAFE, schools and the State Library," Goodacre says. "The outcome was a minimalist and affordable metadata schema. It's probably our greatest achievement in terms of collaboration."

Yet it's one thing to get the plumbing right, but another to get people thinking in terms of online collaboration instead of institutional fiefdoms. Goodacre believes the university sector faces more information-sharing challenges than other parts of education, being autonomous by nature. The concept of sharing and building content together is therefore foreign.

Segall says the answer is to start with small steps. "One technique that is very helpful is to get academic staff to do their administrative tasks through WebCT," he says. "Then they start using the tools a little, which helps adoption. There is a worldwide trend of collaboration across educational institutions, which is also across Australia."

The sales boss admits there's an upfront cost in setting up the technology and developing courseware; but over time, lecturers create repositories of material, which can be reused. He says this leads to productivity gains and revenue growth opportunities. And he argues that not going far enough with e-learning can be costly, linking enrolment growth directly to the ability to fund more buildings.

However, e-learning is not only pulling down physical infrastructure and educational sector walls. Exporting education online often involves different time zones, leading to timetable changes.

"Tutor hours are changing," Segall says. "It's an evolution to offer this at different hours during the day. It is a re-engineering which is a slow process, but unit and semester-based training is slowly changing to learner-centric schedules."

SOURCE - The Age
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Top businessmen urge Howard Govt to increase immigration

Two of Australia's most successful businessmen have some advice for the Howard Government after its historic fourth election win: Australia needs more immigrants and should consider capping the working week.

Solomon Lew, Century Plaza group of companies chairman and a former Coles Myer chairman, told a Sydney lunch yesterday that under current immigration laws his parents would not have gained entry from Poland.

"We need migrants as much as they need us," Mr Lew told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce function. "Migrants are critical to nation-building.

"There are skills that are needed here in Australia - we need to go back to some kind of a manufacturing base."

Australia needed a strong population to maintain its national security, he said.

"We need more people so we can protect our shores.

"We have got billions of people up north of us and I just can't imagine that those countries are going to let us exist with all our natural wealth, our natural resources.

"In 20 to 30 years' time we are going to have major problems."

He said there was a risk that Australia was "running out of steam" and the Government needed to address the issue urgently.

Mr Lew said Australia's isolation raised the risk of mediocrity and clubbishness in the business community. He criticised CEOs earning world-class salaries but achieving mediocre returns.

Mr Lew's long-time friend Lindsay Fox, founder of transport company Linfox, said the rise of the Family First Party at last weekend's election "comes as a result of people looking for something they cannot find in the major parties".

He said he could see a case for "regulated maximum working hours" and that workers earning up to $20,000 should pay no tax.

Mr Lew also criticised Coles Myer's bid for pubs owner ALH.

"I think this could have been handled a lot better," said Mr Lew, who has sniped at Coles since being booted off the board in 2002.

SOURCE - The Age
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Immigration reforms pay off

THE relaxation of immigration regulations for foreign students has led to rapid increases in enrolments in some courses, research conducted for IDP Education Australia has revealed.

Changes since 1998 that gave immigration priority to overseas students who had completed their education or training in Australia were a leading inducement for students from Asia to study and live in Australia.

Growing prosperity, which allowed more families to send their children overseas, was also a factor, Monash University demographer Bob Birrell said at the IDP Australian International Education conference in Sydney last week.

According to Australian Education International, overseas student enrolments in Australia increased by 15 per cent a year from 1997 to 2003. China and India were Australia's most promising markets because of rapid economic growth. There were 16,311 Chinese students in 2002 and 22,374 in 2003, a 37 per cent increase. Numbers of Indian students in the same period rose from 8884 to 12,340, an increase of 38.9 per cent.

Dr Birrell's research also showed that students from poorer countries, where professional wages were low, were more likely to apply for permanent residency in Australia.

China and India also led this field. Students from richer Asian nations, such as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, were less likely to apply.

"Between mid-2001 and January 2004, of 23,000 who got an immigration outcome who applied onshore, 23 per cent were from India, 20 per cent were from China and 14 per cent were from Indonesia," Dr Birrell said.

The immigration reforms were prompted by labour shortages in accounting and information technology in the 1990s. Amendments included awarding credit points for completing studies in Australia, dropping occupational experience requirements and waiving the condition that hopefuls must go offshore to apply for residency.

"After these reforms, for an investment of $30,000 or $40,000 in fees and expenses, an immigration outcome would seem to be assured," Dr Birrell said.

Successful on-shore visa applications had soared from 5480 in 2001-02 to an estimated 12,000 for 2003-04.

"This supports the explanation that growth in those countries [India and China] would be linked to the growing possibility of an immigration outcome," Dr Birrell said.

SOURCE - IDP / The Australian
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RMIT boss sharpens the axe

RMIT University must find an extra $40 million a year to return the troubled institution to a position of financial stability and staff cuts have been flagged as one way of achieving the figure.

Interim vice-chancellor Chris Whitaker said he hoped to realise the sum by a combination of cost-cutting measures and boosting revenue in key areas.

Staff redundancies are also part of a financial plan being developed by Professor Whitaker, who is attempting to steer the institution to recovery after enduring one of the worst financial disasters an Australian university has experienced.

Professor Whitaker said although no time frame had yet been established, it was his aim that the university would achieve the extra $40 million within about three to five years.

"That $40 million is not something that we are going to suddenly achieve next year," Professor Whitaker said.

"It's going to take a few years to get there and getting there will be a combination of areas where we may [increase] the revenue over and above what it is today and also areas where we address some of our cost structures."

RMIT, often accused of being a closed shop during the reign of former vice-chancellor Ruth Dunkin, took the unusual step of issuing a short press release the day before the federal election about its financial strategies, in which it flagged "the possibility of staff redundancies".

Professor Whitaker told the HES that redundancies were "a last resort" and said he did not know how many staff would go if it became a reality.

"It's not a preferred path ... and in any case we have an absolutely rock-solid commitment to the unions that we will pursue all other options including redeployment, retraining, secondment, leave without pay - all the things that one can do in those circumstances," he said.

"But I'm being up-front and honest and saying that there may well be circumstances where redundancy is the only option that remains."

RMIT employs about 3000 staff at its six Victorian campuses.

Professor Whitaker was appointed interim vice-chancellor after the resignation in August of Ruth Dunkin. Dr Dunkin stepped down after two years of broad criticism for her role in the institution's financial woes.

In 2001 Dr Dunkin oversaw the botched introduction of a $12million computer system that eventually cost the university $47million to repair.

She was threatened with the sack after a damning auditor-general's report that identified serious financial management problems, including budget blow-outs and poor business planning at the university.

One RMIT source told the HES that staff redundancies were more than a possibility.

"The staff are now very worried about their futures and upset," the source said.

"Clearly we are at the last possible resort because there is no way they would even mention the word redundancy in a press release if it wasn't about to happen."

The National Tertiary Education Union said staff had unfairly borne the brunt of the university's reforms.

NTEU Victorian division secretary Matthew McGowan said staff "shouldn't have to bear a further burden from management's attempts to get its house in order".

"Over the last two years, change processes have lurched from disaster to disaster, as RMIT management has attempted to cope with its financial problems," Mr McGowan said.

SOURCE - The Australian
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