The Noticeboard | November update

Posted in Noticeboard on 27 November 2023

Welcome to the November edition of the Noticeboard, a monthly update with news and opportunities from around the sector. If you have anything you’d like to share with members please contact our Policy and Communications Officer Rebekah Harms.

The DASSH Lounge

Join the DASSH Lounge, our exclusive LinkedIn group for DASSH Members where we share the latest news, jobs and opportunities from DASSH and around the sector.

Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences Centres of Excellence Workshop

Join us on 5 December for a free workshop on the Australian Research Council’s Centres of Excellence program jointly hosted with the Australian Research Council, the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. See more details at the end of this email.

News from dassh

A note from the Executive Director

I have recently returned from the US where I attended the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences Annual Meeting. It was a fantastic event (my welcome included DASSH-branded cocktail napkins, Australian flags and party pies at the opening reception!). The event brought together about 500 Deans from across a diverse range of US institutions.

During my visit I had the opportunity to visit Cal State East Bay University, San Diego State University and University of California, Berkley. I received a very warm welcome from Deans at each of these institutions and gained new insights and perspectives on the world of higher education in the US.

I was also excited to meet with some key leaders and advocates for our disciplines in Washington DC including the Consortium of Social Science AssociationsThe National Academies Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences Education and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

I am looking forward to sharing more through recorded interviews in the new year covering topics like:

  • Women in leadership
  • Using digital tools to increase equity and participation
  • Asking the questions should all university teachers be required to conduct research?
  • And how are people getting students back on campus after COVID?

Around the traps

Concerns about proposed Tertiary Education Commission

Researcher Professor Andrew Norton has raised concerns about the Tertiary Education Commission proposed as part of the Universities Accord process in his recent report Job-ready Graduates 2.0.
DASSH members have argued a Commission could contribute to the increasing bureaucratisation of the higher education sector and could undermine institutions’ independence.
Norton says a Tertiary Education Commission would be unlikely to outperform the current demand driven system and would face particular challenges due to the unpredictability of the labour market and constraints around student demand.
“Bureaucratic systems could lock public funding into yesterday’s labour market needs, causing stranded resources that cannot be used effectively”, his report says.
Statutory body Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) could form part of the process. We are working with JSA on a skills mapping project that would give a clearer idea of the skills obtained in the humanities, arts and social sciences. 
We will be inviting members to get involved in this process so stay tuned in coming weeks.

Higher Education Support Amendment Bill

The Higher Education Support Amendment Bill 2023 Bill was passed in the Australian Parliament last month. The Bill removes the 50 per cent pass rule and provides demand-driven funding for all Indigenous students as was recommended by the Universities Accord Panel in their Interim Report. The Bill also requires that universities implement a Support-For-Students policy for students at risk of failing their courses. Read more here.

Discovery Projects application process

The Australian Research Council has announced a new two-stage application process for the 2025 round of Discovery Projects. The first stage of the new application process will involve a shorter Expressions of Interest application. Those progressing to the next round will be required to submit a full application. These changes reflect recommendations that were made in the recent ARC Review. Read more here.

Financial factors main barrier to education

A University of Melbourne survey has found that financial factors represent the main barriers to university education in Australia. Perceived barriers were broadly similar between those with and without a university degree. Read more here.

Needs-based funding in higher education

Researchers at Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute have shown that a needs-based funding approach in Australian higher education would result in an 11 per cent increase in base funding for government-funded students. It is estimated that this would cost government an additional $1.3 billion per year. Universities with large numbers of low-SES students stand to gain the most under this model. Read the report here.

Negative impact of research assessment on humanities, arts and social sciences

New research from the Australian Council of Learned Academies highlights the devaluing of humanities, arts and social sciences within current research assessment practices. 73 per cent of respondents to ACOLA’s survey believed that assessment processes are not consistently or equitably applied across different disciplines, particularly between HASS and STEM fields. Read more here.


National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education Visiting Fellowships

Applications are invited from researchers, educators, policymakers and practitioners passionate about student equity in higher education to participate in the NCSEHE Visiting Fellowship initiative.

Now in its tenth year at Curtin, NCSEHE is a What Works Centre dedicated to advancing equity in higher education through research, trials and evaluation and data-driven collaborations. NCSEHE Visiting Fellowships are an opportunity to engage in capacity building research, produce tangible policy and practice outcomes, and exemplify the conduct of research in the student equity field.

Fellows will be funded up to AUD$9,000 for domestic (Australia-based) applicants and up to AUD$12,000 for international applicants at all career stages to join NCSEHE at Curtin University in Western Australia and spend between 30 and 60 days focused on making a difference.

For more information, please visit NCSEHE’s website. Applications close at 4pm (AWST) on Wednesday, 24 January 2024.


ACHRC Annual Meeting

University of Sydney
Thursday 30 November
More information

The Australasian Consortium of Humanities Centres and Researchers annual meeting will be held under the umbrella of the Congress of HASS. In some ways, it will mirror the meeting called by Iain McCalman at Sydney in 2010, which addressed the need for a network and called the ACHRC into being. While the need for the consortium is strong, this discussion will focus on whether it’s the last dance or a rebirth for the ACHRC. Consequently, we will address the central practical question: where do research centres in the humanities and creative arts now find themselves?

Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences Centres of Excellence Workshop

Canberra & online
Tuesday 5 December
8:30 am – 5 pm (AEDT)
Register here

Join us in Canberra or online for insights on the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) premier Centres of Excellence program. There are major opportunities for aspiring researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences to design transformational research programs and strategic partnerships with enduring impact in the leadup to the 2026 CoE round and beyond. The workshop is a joint initiative of the Australian Research Council, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.