The pandemic is forcing many academics to consider their future. These are tough times for universities and many have lost jobs, but those fortunate enough to have a choice should weigh up all options.
It is the work of social scientists to understand how societies operate and, based on that knowledge, how populations can apply evidence-based solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.
The world today needs a critical understanding of religion, not a return to the historical tradition of universities dominated by faith-based study.
Workplace stress among academics has long been higher in Australia and New Zealand than overseas, and research suggests the flow-on impacts on students could fuel a vicious cycle of negative feedback.
Australia has gone backwards in global gender parity rankings, with even universities, which should be leading the way, failing on this front. But women are now saying enough is enough.
The budget splashed out extra money for almost every sector deemed important to economic recovery (or politically sensitive). But with universities in a state of financial crisis, they missed out.
You might expect progressive policies in our universities, but a parental leave system of primary and secondary caregivers – the first 93% women, the second 96% men – perpetuates the gender gap.
Treating online education as a cheap alternative to lectures will be a mistake. At first universities will probably have to allow more preparation time and invest more in training and technology.
On International Women’s Day, universities should resolve to lead the way in reshaping workplace rituals, rules and routines to advance gender equality and ensure safe workplaces.
International Women’s Day is a time to take stock of what has been achieved and what remains to be done. 2020 was a massive missed opportunity to improve gender equity among university leaders.
Universities have legitimate reasons for employing some staff on casual contracts, but the impacts of the COVID pandemic have brought long-standing problems to a head. Now is the time to act on these.
To navigate the toughest phase of their careers, junior academics need to know more than how to write research papers and apply for grants. Structured mentoring, based on their input, is a huge help.
More than a dozen Australian universities have been publicly accused of underpaying staff. Some have paid millions in backpay after audits. And a big factor in wage theft is the rise of casualisation.
Teaching loads, family responsibilities and lack of research resources and mentors have hampered the progress of women in universities. And when the pandemic hit, it made the situation worse.
The pandemic has restricted protests, but more Australians benefit directly from higher education than ever before.
Three decades ago, in another time of upheaval in higher education, 7% of working-age Australians had a degree. Today 33% have one. More people than ever have a stake in what happens to universities.
John Howard’s education minister sought to refashion university councils in the image of corporate boards.
Decades of legislative change made the councils that govern universities more like corporate boards and less accountable to academic communities. The problems this created are coming home to roost.
The early and mid-career researchers who bear most of the teaching and research workload are exhausted and underpaid. Many won’t survive the funding squeeze, but Australia can’t afford to lose them.
Universities have financial resources — property, bequests and philanthropic funds, and access to lines of credit — they can access rather than forcing staff to sacrifice their jobs.
Are the Australian government’s successive changes to JobKeeper specifically designed to exclude universities? And if so, why?
The National Tertiary Education Union has agreed to a deal with universities that aims to save at least 12,000 jobs. But universities aren’t obliged to sign up.