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The Buzz

Congratulations to our appointment Kevin Bell commencing as PVC @westernsydneyu

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Online and digital learning expert Professor Kevin Bell is set to join Western Sydney University as its new pro vice-chancellor (digital futures). Professor Bell was most recently executive director for curriculum development and deployment at Northeastern University in Boston. He was a senior fellow with the Lowell Institute in Boston, where he led a federally-funded multi-million dollar project that investigated how to engage students, particularly first generation and under represented students, in online STEM education. He will join WSU on July 11. News via The Australian 5 July 2016 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/consulting-the-consultants/news-story/eb368e43ae6278fdbc689ba5a5c79739

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What’s needed now to grow the numbers of women in STEMM

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  Increasing the participation of women in STEMM is not just about equity, it’s about ensuring the best share of bright minds. It’s about the future of our economies and solving the big problems we all face. And it is about equity too. What’s needed is long-term sustained, comprehensive efforts spread across the entire life span, to attract and retain more women in sciences. Participation is how it works. Participation means role models. It also changes the culture and unspoken biases that either block girls from choosing science, or make them want to leave too early in their STEM careers….

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How creative industries revitalise regions after the heavy industries party has moved on

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The Brookings report on the rise of innovation districts (http://www.brookings.edu/about/programs/metro/innovation-districts), and other sources, detail how regions across developed economies in the USA, UK, Europe and now Australia are diversifying through creative industries. Some themes: It’s important to get the balanced scorecard right Benefits have to be assessed on long-term and sustainable growth and social values eg community infrastructure The important role of universities Government can clear the way and support, but only universities can help convene all stakeholders, lending knowledge, infrastructure, people and of course, developing skills for graduates to be successful in the burgeoning sector Developing an innovation district…

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Why academics love Newcastle, NSW

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In no particular order, here are the top ten reasons why academics tell me they love living and working in Newcastle, in Australia’s Hunter region. 1. Close community breeds collegiality The same people you met with today to discuss a research project you may say hello to again at the beach, jogging along the waterfront or at the supermarket. 2. Open culture: build links easily People are amazed how easy it is to approach anyone with a good idea, to explore and build new partnerships and projects. This applies to both public and private sectors. 3. Great workplaces Staff at University of Newcastle tell…

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Taking your academic career to Australia: what to consider

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Australia’s strong higher education system, and terrific lifestyle, mean that every world-class academic should go down under, if only for part of their training, or career. The sector punches above its weight in excellence; with five universities in the world top 100 and 19 in the top 500, Australia has one of the most globally competitive higher education systems in the world, as measured by Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) out of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Half of Australia’s universities are in the global top rankings. Other similarly ranked countries have much larger GDP, population — and larger, older, higher education sectors. And…

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Higher education vs politicking and the future of the Australian automotive industry

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The Australian automotive industry grabs news headlines, particularly as the political parties wrestle for hearts and minds during an election campaign. But what’s happening on university campuses tells a very different story of demand and investment  – and where Australia’s automotive engineering fits into the nation’s future. The Labor party began its election campaign by announcing funding for the automotive industry and a target to boost the market by acquiring Australian cars for Commonwealth fleets, followed up with further funding commitments. Innovation Minister Kim Carr says, “The automotive industry is vital to Australia’s economic future”. A survey for The Australian newspaper found a majority of…

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