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vol. 50, no. 2, 2008 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

AUR

Australian Universities’Review


AUR Editor Dr Ian R Dobson

AUR Editorial Board Dr Carolyn Allport Professor Walter Bloom

Editorial Policy

Book Reviews

The Australian Universities’ Review (AUR, formerly Vestes) is published by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) to encourage debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life, with an emphasis on those matters of concern to NTEU members.

Books for review should be sent to the AUR Editor. Our policy is to review books dealing either with tertiary education or with matters pertinent to issues in tertiary education.

Editorial decisions are made by the Editor, assisted by the AUR Editorial Board. The views expressed in articles in this publication, unless otherwise stated, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor, the Editorial Board or the publisher. Although some contributions are solicited by the Editor or the Editorial Board, AUR is anxious to receive contributions independently from staff and students in the higher education sector and other readers.

Ms Anita Devos Dr Jamie Doughney Professor Ralph Hall

AUR publishes both articles and other contributions, including short commentary and satire. Articles will be assessed by independent referees before publication. Priority is given to contributions which are substantial, lively, original and have a broad appeal. Responses to previously published contributions are encouraged.

Professor Simon Marginson Mr Grahame McCulloch Dr Alex Millmow Dr Paul Rodan Dr Leesa Wheelahan

AUR is listed on the DEEWR (formerly DEST) register of refereed journals.

Production Design & layout: Paul Clifton

Contributions

Editorial support: Alex Schlotzer, Anastasia Kotaidis

Please adhere to the style notes outlined on this page.

Cover photograph: Makoto Yamashita ©2007, If I Were A Bird (location: Edith Cowan University)

Contributions should be sent to the AUR Editor as digital manuscripts in Microsoft Word format, preferably by email or CD.

Contact Details Australian Universities’ Review, c/- NTEU National Office, PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC Australia 3205 Phone: +613 9254 1910

Fax: +613 9254 1915

Email: editor@aur.org.au

Website

Contributions should normally be between 1,000 and 5,000 words, although longer articles will be considered. All articles should be accompanied by an abstract that would not usually be longer than 150 words. The author’s full contact details should be provided, including email address, telephone and fax. If there are any queries at proof stage, proofs will be sent to the author who must return them within ten working days. Authors should not rewrite significantly at proof stage. Contributions are sent to a minimum of two referees, in accordance with DEEWR requirements for blind peer review.

www.aur.org.au

Book reviews should be between 200 and 800 words; review essays may be longer.

Satire AUR welcomes contributions to its satirical section, ‘The corridor of uncertainty’, created in the belief that the contemporary academy provides rich resources for wit, irony and humour.

Replies and letters AUR welcomes letters of response to articles published in the journal. Longer responses to articles are also encouraged. Responses should be a maximum of 1,000 words, and should be received within a month after the publication of the journal so that they can be properly considered by the Editor and the Editorial Board for the following issue.

Subscriptions AUR is free to NTEU members on an opt-in basis. Full details at www.aur.org.au/subscription. Annual subscription rates (inclusive of GST where applicable): Surface postage Australia and NZ $40 AUD Overseas surface mail $50 AUD Overseas airmail $60 AUD Overseas payments should be made by bank draft in Australian currency.

Advertising Rates are available on application to the Editor (email editor@ aur.org.au). The current hard copy circulation is approximately 8,000 per issue.

Archive Current and previous issues of AUR (back to 2002) can be viewed online at www.aur.org.au/archive.html

Style Style should follow the Australian Government Publishing Service Style Manual, Sixth Edition, 2002.

Sub-headings should be typed in lower case, ranged left, with relative importance indicated by A, B etc.

References in the text should be given in the author-date style:

Single quotation marks only should be used, except for quotes within quotes. All quotes of more than 50 words should be indented and placed in a separate paragraph.

McCallum (1990) argues... or as various authors argue (McCallum 1990; Kenway 1989). Page references should be thus: (McCallum 1990, p. 41). Page references should be used for direct quotations. The reference list should be placed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper, utilising the author-date system. For a reference to a book: Australian Universities’ Review is printed in Australia by Geon Group on 100% certified Forest Stewardship Council Mixed Sources paper products. Stock is from well-managed forests and other controlled sources. Subscribers can contribute further to the environment by opting for ‘soft delivery’: receiving an email alert about new issues online (e-book or downloadable PDF) rather than a posted paper copy.

McCallum, D 1990, The social production of merit, Falmer, London. For a reference to a chapter in a collection: McCollow, J & Knight, J 2005, ‘Higher Education in Australia: An Historical Overview’, in Bella, M, McCollow, J & Knight, J (eds), Higher Education in Transition, University of Queensland, Brisbane. For a journal reference: Zappala, J & Lombard, M 1991, ‘The decline of Australian educational salaries’, Australian Bulletin of Labour, 17(1), pp. 76–95.

Dates thus: 30 June 1990. ‘ise’ should be used rather than ‘ize’, e.g. organise not organize. ‘per cent’ not ‘%’ in the text. Abbreviations should be kept to a minimum. Unfamiliar abbreviations can make written work harder to follow. Where used, abbreviations should be explained at their first use, when necessary. Male nouns and pronouns should not be used to refer to people of either sex. Figures should be provided in EPS or Excel format, numbered consecutively in the order in which they appear (or are cited). Figures should be drawn precisely and boldly. Photographs and illustrations may be submitted for possible inclusion. Style sheet available at www.aur.org.au/submissions.html


vol. 50, no. 2, 2008 Published by NTEU

ISSN 0818–8068

Australian Universities’ Review 2

Golden Jubilee – Part Two!

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Ian R Dobson

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Ross Williams University rankings are having a profound effect on both higher education systems and individual universities. Ross WIlliams asks what are the effects and desirable characteristics of a good ranking methodology, and takes a critical look at where Australian universities rank internationally.

The Australian Universities’ Review: A life (so far) Simon Marginson Simon Marginson follows the fifty-year history of the Australian Universities’ Review (AUR) and reviews a number of themes and trends from that history.

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How large are the cuts in operating grants per student?

Research grant mania Jeffrey Goldsworthy Commonwealth funding formulae have caused Australian universities to become obsessed with maximising external research funding. This may be productive in disciplines that require large amounts of research funding, but it can have many negative effects in other disciplines.

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J Berman, S Juniper, T Pitman & C Thomson Focusing on the developmental needs of early career postdoctoral fellows, this paper suggests an inextricably linked, two pronged approach to improving research performance at Australian universities.

REVIEWS 78

Dilemmas of dissent International students’ protest, Melbourne 2006/2007

Plagiarism Academic dishonesty or ‘blind spot’ of multicultural education? Helen Song-Turner Given the large numbers of overseas students studying in Australia, and offshore in Australian administered programmes, plagiarism is of particular concern. Students from a number of countries were interviewed for this paper to identify their own views about plagiarism.

Reconceptualising post-PhD research pathways A model to create

new postdoctoral positions and improve the quality of postdoctoral training in Australia

relevant to government as they might be?

Paul Rodan International students in Australia are not usually identified with protest. However, a cohort of such students at one university campus was prepared to undertake robust public protest over alleged academic mistreatment, eschewing conventional internal mechanisms for the resolution of such problems.

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High society Are our social sciences as

Gary Wickham If the social sciences are to hold the serious attention of the government of any modern Western nation, including Australia’s, they cannot continue to fall prey to the tendency to criticise ceaselessly such government.

The evisceration of equal employment opportunity in higher education Margaret Thornton With particular regard to gender, this paper considers the rise and fall of EEO in Australian universities over the last 30 years, arguing that EEO, a product of social liberalism, had barely been introduced before it became a casualty of the Dawkins reforms and the transformation of the university.

Gerald Burke Originally published in AUR vol. 31, no. 2, 1988, when governments learnt that they could get away with cutting university funding.

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Methodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings

The legitimacy of quality assurance in higher education Council of Europe higher education series No.9 by Luc Weber and Katia Dolgova-Dreyer (eds) Review by David Woodhouse

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Casting for the VC Recruitment and Selection of Vice-Chancellors for Australian Universities by Bernard O’Meara and Stanley Petzall Review by Paul Rodan


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Golden Jubilee – Part Two! Ian R Dobson

In his editorial (vol. 50, no. 1, p. 2), my predecessor, Dr Paul Rodan noted ‘that the editing role can no longer be effectively performed, on an honorary basis, by a working academic also coping with the endless pressure which is synonymous with our institutions in the early twenty-first century’. He also mentioned my appointment as the first non-honorary editor of the Australian Universities’ Review (AUR), and can I say how pleased I am to have been appointed to this post. New appointments often lead to changes of one type or another. Appointment of a new editor is no different. In this instance, however, radical change isn’t warranted, but the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed two things. First, in the middle of its fiftieth volume, AUR has undergone a change of format. Henceforth, AUR will be ‘journal sized’. Perhaps this will raise the ire of librarians, but so be it. Second, in order to appease the punctuation pedants (of which I am one), the apostrophe has found its way back into the journal’s title. However, more important changes are afoot. The AUR has been a commentator on higher education for a lot longer than most journals, and it is time for it to return to the forefront. The ‘new’ AUR will be seeking out cutting-edge papers and commentary, and will get its papers into the press. It will also seek to be more ‘global’ in its approach. AUR should be THE journal accessed by higher education researchers all over the world when they want to find out about the Australian scene. Material from overseas will also be sought. After all, we live in a global village. Having said these things leaves me with just enough space to mention the contents of this issue. We open with a piece of history from past AUR editor, Simon

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Golden Jubilee – Part Two!, Ian R Dobson

Marginson. Simon plots AUR’s development from its humble roneoed beginnings as the Federal Council Bulletin, and then through thirty years as Vestes, and twenty years under its current title. Among the people and papers mentioned in the Marginson paper is one by Gerald Burke (Monash University) published twenty years ago, on the effects on university funding that would follow the so-called ‘Dawkins reforms’. With Gerald’s permission, we have re-published that paper in this issue. Did Burke get it right? Yes he did! Successive governments have demonstrated their passion for ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions to the various problems they conjure up. Jeff Goldsworthy considers the appropriateness of using research income as a measure of quality in many of the humanities and social sciences. Why should scholars that don’t need buckets of money for their research be badgered into applying for it? Gary Wickham also looks at the social sciences, and asks whether social scientists are engaging in ‘unengaged critique’ of western governments, ‘…because [those governments] are not seeking perfection, because they are seeking only to do the best they can with the resources they have at hand’. Is there a solution to this problem? Is there a problem? Two papers consider aspects of overseas student issues. Editorial Board member Paul Rodan reports on the protests by certain overseas students in 2006 and 2007, and how the media reported these events. Helen Song-Turner reports on her interview- and questionnaire-based research on overseas students and their perceptions and understanding of plagiarism. In the context of either of these papers, is it reasonable to vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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expect adult students to find out about the academic mores of the foreign country they are going to study in, notwithstanding their cultural background? Have Australian universities got it right? Universities’ fascination with university ranking systems and league tables is growing. If my university comes out near the top of any given league table, then ranking methodology must be sound, especially if we rank above the University of X! Ross Williams examines ranking issues through an examination of The Times Higher Education Supplement and the Shanghai Jao Tong ranking systems. Margaret Thornton considers the current situation of equal opportunity employment in her graphicallytitled paper. In the context of changes in Australian universities over the past thirty years, she asks if equal opportunity employment became passé. Finally, the paper by Judy Berman and her colleagues focuses on the developmental needs of early career postdoctoral fellows: ‘…the lifeblood of an internationally competitive research-intensive university’. Their paper suggests a two pronged approach to improving research performance at Australian universities through various improvements to aspects of postdoctoral training. There is plenty of reading for everyone in this edition of AUR, and many issues to stimulate the reader

vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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are raised. A journal is only as good as its contents, and all journals need a steady inflow of publishable material, in order to maintain their breadth and quality. When deciding where to send their papers and commentary, university staff should consider the size of the readership of AUR: a print run of about 8,000 copies per issue, far in excess of most journals. Many well known, oft-cited Australian policy and practice journals circulate to between 150 and 1,500 members/subscribers/libraries. AUR is also published online at www.aur.org.au, so its contents are made available to everyone. AUR has been available via RMIT’s Informit e-library (www.informit.com.au) for the last few years, and we recently signed an agreement with the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), providing a vast potential readership from North America. This flexibility is not available to ‘for-profit’ journals. The AUR team will also be seeking to increase the size of the journal’s reach by informing higher education research units across the world of its existence. Australian Universities’ Review is seeking to become THE higher education policy and practice journal! Dr Ian Dobson is editor of AUR.

Golden Jubilee – Part Two!, Ian R Dobson

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The Australian Universities’ Review: A life (so far) Simon Marginson University of Melbourne

The Australian Universities’ Review began its life in 1958 as the Federal Council Bulletin, and was known as Vestes from 19581988. Simon Marginson’s paper follows the fifty-year history of the journal and reviews a number of themes and trends from that history. References in the text relate to these publications by volume and number, without further specific reference to the journal’s title at the time.

Introduction The Australian Universities’ Review (AUR) was born 50 years ago as the Federal Council Bulletin in February 1958, the roneoed newsletter of the national association for university staff in Australia. It appeared soon after the landmark report by Sir Keith Murray for the Menzies Government. ‘First general impressions of the Murray report were that it opened up a new “golden age” for Australian universities’, stated Ken Buckley and Ted Wheelwright from Sydney. ‘The vital long-term merit of the report, promptly accepted by the Commonwealth government, is that it establishes firmly the principle of national responsibility for the universities’. (vol. 1, no. 1, 1958, p. 2). It was a heady time. The same newsletter mentioned that the NSW Institute of Technology had been renamed the University of NSW and granted an Arts Faculty and a Medical School; and Melbourne’s second university, ‘The University of Victoria’ (later Monash) had been announced. Five newsletters were issued that year by the voluntary national executive and secretariat. The last was titled Vestes, which became the main name of the journal for the next thirty years. From 1960 onwards it was perfect bound like a book

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The Australian Universities’ Review: A life (so far), Simon Marginson

and carried a little advertising. The reference to a ‘Bulletin’ dropped from the masthead and was replaced by the subtitle The Australian Universities’ Review.

Days of Wines and Vestes The title Vestes, chosen after an ‘exhaustive search’, was taken from the statutes of Peterhouse College Cambridge where it described the robes of a scholar.‘We are indebted to many members for suggestions of a title’, said the journal,‘particularly to Miss Wines of the Fisher Library in Sydney who spent some time investigating the problem before suggesting the name we have adopted’ (vol. 1, no. 2, 1958, p. 2). No Google then. From the beginning the journal exhibited certain typical traits. The Cambridge Latin title was emblematic of the derivative Australian university sector which for many years continued to imagine itself as an auxiliary to the British system. During the 1960s the regular column ‘From our UK correspondent’ read like a family letter. One suspects that it evoked much more interest than C P Fitzgerald’s thoughtful piece on the state of Asian studies (vol. 3, no. 3, 1960, pp. 57–60) and the occasional papers on Indonesia or Japan. China behind the ‘Bamboo Curtain’ was closed to view. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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At the same time the journal reflected a more open and democratic culture than that of its British forbears. It was widely distributed among staff in 1900 copies, a large magazine circulation in 1958. Contributions were encouraged so that it reflected the main currents of opinion on campus. It also showed a keen interest in questions of national education policy and to a lesser extent in working conditions. Salary figures in Newsletter 1 showed that Senior Lecturers were on £2100– 2500 per annum. ‘We are in the throes of the greatest expansion of universities in Australian history’ said political economist Wheelwright, who edited the early issues, in early 1959.‘There is a host of problems crying out for discussion, and yet there exists no forum in which it can take place’.The Federal Council of University Staff was looking for a way in to the policy process. ‘The ‘problems’ of an emerging mass higher education system included the participation rate (America’s 30 per cent or the British 3 per cent?), the availability of academic staff, the student-staff ratio, teaching techniques for mass education, tutorial rooms, library facilities, teaching/research tensions, the likely failure rate, optimum campus size, more new universities, the possible abolition of tuition fees (vol. 1, no. 5, 1958, pp. 9 & 11). The same edition carried a report of the Australian institute for Political Science Summer School on ‘New Guinea and Australia’. It reported that ‘Mr J R Kerr’, lawyer, Queen’s Counsel and former head of the Australian School of Pacific Administration, advocated the development of ‘an independent federation of Melanesia’, to include the whole of New Guinea, the Solomons, New Britain and New Ireland. ‘But the situation will be decidedly complicated if the present Dutch New Guinea is incorporated into the Indonesian republic’ (vol. 1, no. 5, 1958, p. 24). The March 1960 issue carried an article by Labor MP Jim Cairns, former University of Melbourne academic and later Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam Government, on ‘The government, the AUC and the universities’. Cairns said the financial needs of the universities were little understood. They were poor advocates for themselves. He urged them to drop their ‘mild, confidential approach’. He also questioned the resolve of the Government. Prior to the appointment vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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of Leslie Martin as Chair of the new Australian Universities Commission the Prime Minister had told him it was essential to ‘get a chairman who will stand up to the Treasury’. Why should this be necessary, asked Cairns, if the government really supported the universities? But he warned that it would be essential for the AUC to exhibit ‘facts, ability and courage’ and to make those facts public (vol. 3, no. 1, 1960, pp. 11–13). In May 1959 the President of the Federal Council had met with Leslie Martin. ‘We are very favourably impressed’ with Sir Leslie’s speed and energy in establishing the AUC, said Vestes (vol. 2, no. 2 , 1959, p. 1). The universities did well in the next few years. Perhaps Martin discovered how to deal with Treasury, though if so it stayed behind closed doors. Problems related to growth dominate for most of the next two decades. The main issue was lack of staff. Not just budgets but absolute supply lagged behind student numbers.The 1960 student-staff ratio varied from 10.2 in Tasmania to 18.2 in Sydney. This compared an average of 9.0 among the AUC’s seven UK comparators.There was concern about the size of tutorials in Australia, which ranged from 10–14 students. The June 1960 issue carried a review by nuclear physicist Mark Oliphant of the Physical Sciences in Australian universities, one of a series in Vestes on each of the disciplines, paralleled by a series of articles on each of the individual universities. In another article Oliphant came out fighting on ‘The quality of Australian universities’. The students were as good as any in the world, said Oliphant, but the senior staff was sorely deficient.The ‘few first-class men’ were being swamped by the mediocre. Not everyone endorsed this line of argument. Following Oliphant’s article, Vestes ran ten pages of critical comment from seven senior academics, thereby confirming the opinions of both sides in the debate (vol. 3, no. 2, 1960, pp. 11–15 & p. 45ff). In 1961 the Federated Council of Staff Associations and the Vice-Chancellors’ Committee staged a Conference on Australian Universities. Over the next few years the National Union of Australian University Students joined the organisation of these conferences which concentrated attention on national policy issues. The report of the 1961 meeting contains some fascinating vignettes. Melbourne Economics Professor Wilfred Prest defended the provision of ‘fringe subjects’ such The Australian Universities’ Review: A life (so far), Simon Marginson

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as Accounting and Commercial Law in Economics Faculties. ‘Nugget’ Coombs from ANU expressed concern about quotas on student numbers, which substituted an ‘aristocratic temper’ in the universities in place of a democratic one. For Melbourne’s Zelman Cowen, ‘the committee system in universities is an abominable waste of talent… Many professors teach too little and write less. Going to committees breeds an appetite for more committees and destroys the capacity for sustained thought’ (vol. 4, no. 3, 1961, pp. 51–55). It was often today’s issues that were played out but the scale was different. L F Crisp’s review of Political Science revealed 2314 undergraduate students and 61 academic staff in Australia, including eight professors, but there were just nine politics PhDs in progress in four universities (vol. 5, no, 2, 1962, pp. 25–30). In the whole Australian university sector 230 PhDs were awarded in 1965 (vol. 8, no. 4, 1965, p. 246). In 1965 came another landmark federal policy statement, the Martin report which established the binary system of higher education, comprising research universities and colleges of advanced education.The CAEs were earmarked for the main growth in student numbers.The report talked up national investment in human capital. The Martin report was generally applauded, except by some such as Sol Encel who were disquieted by its overt economic instrumentalism (vol. 8, no. 2, 1965, pp. 81–85). However,ANU’s P H Partridge spotted the report’s weakness. There was a lack of clarity about the ‘basic concepts and principles’ underpinning the structure of the binary system (vol. 8, no. 2,, 1965, pp. 73 & 75).Within two decades the binary divide was at the point of collapse due to the upward drift of CAE programs to bachelor and masters levels.

The student revolt There was a sense of gathering possibilities as the 1960s proceeded. Issues seemed to accumulate gravitas, the contributions became more reasoned and persuasive, and the conversation began to include a new generation of reformist student leaders such as Jim Spigelman from Sydney (later Whitlam’s Principal Private Secretary and now Chief Justice of NSW).Articles were optimistic, intelligent, public spirited, serious minded and sometimes creative. On the whole they were good humoured as well. Women were being heard more often but were still heavily outnumbered. In 1966 Wheelwright was succeeded by Harry Cowan, Professor of Architecture at Sydney, who

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The Australian Universities’ Review: A life (so far), Simon Marginson

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remained editor until 1979. Cowan had broad-ranging interests and an inclusive and non-didactic approach to debate. These were good years for Vestes/AUR. It had less competition from other journals than later developed and a more distinctively Australian approach was slowly being forged in its pages. Despite an inclusive approach the journal had its hobby horses. Reflecting the social democratic strand in the staff associations, Vestes repeatedly floated proposals for extending access; not just by growing the number of university places, but through initiatives such as an open university along British lines, adult education, and a community college sector. TAFE was scarcely mentioned however. Soon Cowan’s values were to be tested. The September 1966 issue carried an article on the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, an early sign of the gathering storm. As American, European and Asian students radicalised, some of the Vestes contributors seemed disappointed that local campuses seemed to be so restrained. In 1968 Vestes carried a supplement on student activism. It may have been a year too early. Richard Walsh, the International Vice-President of the National Union of Australian University Students, summarised the extraordinary upsurge of student participation in activist democratic politics abroad. He noted that in Australia there was sporadic and short-term involvement, with poor organisation and little unity among activists; though at least the representative student organisations had now established the right to take up larger political issues (vol. 11, no. 2, 1968, pp. 126– 130). In ‘The death of student politics’ the Rector of St. Johns’ College at Sydney noted that universities were conservative and Australia radicalism was confined to small groups of activists. But he feared that the widespread revolt in the United States would soon spread to Australia, and that it would be ‘outside or even against the existing institutions, including those of traditional student politics’ (vol. 11, no. 2, 1968, p. 133). In the lead article Spigelman, the quintessential traditional student politician, provided a scholarly history of left activism since the 1920s (vol. 11, no. 2, 1968, pp. 107–119). Contemporary student movements, he said, were concerned with ‘race relations and other moral issues such as capital punishment’, and such as the two week freedom ride through indigenous settlements in country NSW. Activist energy in relation to the Vietnam war had increased, but not general student support for that activism. Membership of political vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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gerrymander in Queensland. The state capitals were clubs on campus was very low. Compared to students separated worlds with little movement between them, of other countries Australian students might be more though the National Union of Students fostered an quiescent, though conclusive evidence on the comincipient national awareparison was lacking. ness among student leaders, One possible explanation The September 1966 issue carried an and the anti-Vietnam war was the strong vocational article on the Free Speech Movement at movement, led from outside ethos that had always been Berkeley, an early sign of the gathering the universities, was organpart of Australian university storm. As American, European and Asian ising on a national basis. culture. There were more students radicalised, some of the Vestes What none of the 1968 part-time students than in contributors seemed disappointed that contributors to Vestes realmost countries, 40 per cent ised was that the fire was of the total, and they had local campuses seemed to be so restrained. soon to catch. Within two a lower voting ratio in Stuyears Spigelman’s analydent Representative Counsis had been dramatically overturned. cil elections. Another factor in ‘the apparent Political activism among students had inability to develop a broad university confollowed its international counterparts, sciousness’ was that more than two thirds fostered by the ‘counter-culture’ in music of students lived at home rather than in resand the arts, clothes, lifestyle and recreaidences on or near campus (vol. 11, no. 2, tional drugs; it had gained broad student 1968, p. 117). Spigelman concluded that: support on issues related to the Vietnam It would appear from this survey of war and conscription; it had spilled well the history of student activism in Australian universities and from the beyond official student government to limited available sociological materadical clubs and movements; and it was rial that there is no real basis for an turning inward in revolts against univerexpansion of student activism. The sity administrations. The high-points of vocational image of the university activism occurred more at the newer camexperience is, if anything, becoming puses such as Monash, and later La Trobe stronger. Any feelings of alienation from the increasingly complex university are confined to a and Flinders, rather than at Sydney and Melbourne. very small, and primarily left wing, minority. The University of Queensland also stood out, fostering a generation of rebels against the State’s National Party The potential for any student movement exists government led by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, many of whom in the very strong libertarian ethos in the student body on issues of civil liberties, censorship, capital are now in positions of power in Queensland and in punishment, race relations, etc. Activisation of this the nation. ethos depends on the appearance of strong leadVestes stopped lamenting the absence of student ers from the left wing and radical Christian clubs. activism. Correspondents sometimes supported it, Even the most capable leaders would not, however, sometimes bemoaned its excesses in Australia or abroad, be able to sustain a long campaign. Activity would for example Neville Meaney’s disturbed account of the be issue orientated and short term. Its only impact on the political scene would be in gaining added Zengakuren in Japan (vol. 12, no. 3, 1969, pp. 225–232). publicity for a particular grievance (vol. 11, no. 2, One mark of the period in the journal was a growing 1968, p. 118). interest in US higher education, which became permanent. There was less interest in international students Spigelman’s focus on the religious left and libertaristudying in Australia, mostly from Southeast and South anism, and his by-passing of the Communist Party in Asia, though on some campuses they numbered more the account of the period after world war two, were than 10 per cent of the student body. signs of an analysis developed in a Sydney influenced In 1969 the journal produced a supplement on by the ethos of philosopher John Anderson, rather than university autonomy. This perennial Vestes topic had in Melbourne where mainstream socialist currents had become a touchstone for the student controversy. been more influential on campus. He was little aware The editorial noted that ‘two Cabinet Ministers have of the student outlook in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, denied the right of the universities to autonomy if where there was action on issues such as the electoral vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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they cannot control their students’ (vol. 12, no. 2, 1969, p. 101). In ‘Autonomy and responsibility’ Malcolm Fraser, Commonwealth Minister for Education and Science (and later Prime Minister) stepped carefully around this. He emphasised that the universities were ‘profoundly integrated with the life of the community’ and had become essential to it. Nevertheless, ‘I want to emphasise,’ said Fraser, ‘that the Australian government has neither the intention nor the wish to dictate to the universities’. He affirmed that ‘academic freedom should be absolute’ in relation to ‘the independent pursuit of knowledge’. Universities also had the right to select their staff and students. The last right was more qualified because it was ‘accompanied by a responsibility for discipline in the university’. Universities were also accountable for their use of public funds (vol. 12, no. 2, 1969, pp. 102–106). The future Governor-General Zelman Cowan agreed, though he emphasised that academics must be free to determine to follow their own lines of inquiry in research. ‘If they fashion their research programs (and I have seen it done) to attract the fancy of foundation or government, they dishonour the principles of academic freedom which are the sole justification of the claim to university autonomy’ (vol. 12, no. 2, 1969, p. 121). Spigelman agreed that autonomy was a means rather than an end. He argued that as well as academic freedom, autonomy should shelter the democratic political participation of students (vol. 12, no. 2, 1969, pp. 139–141). But much the most incisive analysis was prepared by Bob Connell, then a research student in government at Sydney. Setting aside the usual homilies and absolutes, Connell noted that few officially funded research programs were free of government influence; while ‘the relationship between the powers in government and the powers in the universities’ was not one of conflict, nor one of control. It was one of ‘symbiosis, with shared fundamental beliefs and an exchange of what each needs and the other can provide’ (vol. 12, no. 2, 1969, pp. 141–149). Governments were still increasing university funding in those days. Amidst the drama of the student revolt, Vestes maintained its core preoccupations with issues of funding, policy structures and coordination, staffing, facilities and modernisation. An ongoing concern was the poor working conditions and difficult career position of tutors and of demonstrators in the sciences. An emerging issue was ‘the drift from science’ among bright school leavers (vol. 15, no. 2, 1972, p. 202).

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Like the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations (FAUSA) that published it, the journal saw itself as an advocate for reforms and innovations. In 1970 it was excited by the synchronous conduct of a seminar in both Cambridge and Edinburgh by ‘telephone link’ (vol. 13, no. 3, 1970, p. 311). In 1972 it reported that FAUSA had commissioned Barbara Falk at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Melbourne to conduct a study of the desirability and feasibility of a distance-based open university in Australia (vol. 15, no. 2, 1972, p. 185). The same year it noted that the Monash University Faculty of Education had introduced a new Diploma of Tertiary Teaching for academics, (vol. 15, no. 1, 1972, p. 85) though this was later discontinued. Vestes carried occasional articles on teaching, which tended to the subjective; for example ‘Teaching’s my problem’, (vol. 15, no. 3, 1972, p. 317). Not every issue was addressed. The Executive reported to the 1970 AGM that plans for a ‘Study Group on research needs in the social sciences and humanities’ had collapsed ‘because of difficulties in constituting a committee for the purpose’. The AGM resolved to ‘take no further action in the matter’ (vol. 13, no. 3, 1970, p. 297). In 1972 the FAUSA AGM decided that the Association would produce a separate Federation Newsletter which would be more frequent than Vestes, dividing the two functions of association business and policy commentary that had been combined in 1958 and confirming the journal as a forum for footnoted articles. Vestes declared that this role was unique among academic associations in the English-speaking world.

Whitlam and Fraser The spectacular events in government and tertiary education policy during the Whitlam years (1972–1975) had surprisingly little resonance in the pages of Vestes. No doubt one reason was that many policy-oriented academics were either providing inputs into government or working directly for it. Closer to the campuses, amid high inflation in 1973 Justice Campbell adjusted academic salaries in line with comparable professions in science and the public service. Senior Lecturers moved to $11,900–13,900 and professors to $18,600, increases of 21–22 per cent (vol. 16, no. 2, 1973, p. 145). Vestes note that the FAUSA Executive ‘has accepted Mr. Justice Campbell’s report with satisfaction while reserving its opinion on certain sections thereof’ (vol. 16, no. 2, 1973, p. 151). The relative level of academic vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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Terry Hore at Monash wrote about the problems of salaries in the first half of the 1970s, reflecting a belated managing universities in a ‘steady state’ environment general consensus about the need to strengthen the (vol. 22, no. 1, 1979, pp. 20–25) with few new acalocal and international supply of academic labour by demic appointments, the cessation of opportunities lifting its price, were never to be reached again. for young people, lack of academic mobility, and ‘increCowan’s successor was John Anwyl from Melmental creep’. The last term referred not to a slow bourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education moving stalker but to the who was sole editor from problem of growing costs 1979–1989. Anwyl continPerhaps the times were changing again, relative to income in an ued the generous-spirited with a dilution of the curiosity about ageing staff structure with approach to issues and public matters and the confidence in the annual salary progression. contributors, encouraging value of free intellectual exchange that had A year later Hore and colyoung people and new characterised the 1960s... leagues published on pubideas where he saw them. lication rates and research As the fields of academic Many now saw publication as a tool for productivity. It was a new development and policy advancing either ideologies or themselves. theme that stepped close to consultancy developed in academic prerogative (vol. the later 1970s and 1980s 23, no. 2, 1980, pp. 32–37). Three years the journal played a central role in consolilater Vestes published for the first time dating the specialist field of higher educaon private fund-raising by universities tion studies in Australia. This might have (vol. 26, no. 2, 1983, pp. 10–15). diminished its role in constituting a comIn 1979 Sydney Vice-Chancellor munity of discussion. Articles seemed to Bruce Williams delivered a three volume become more technical in preoccupagovernment-commissioned report into tion (those by the specialists), or more tertiary education. It was to have less closed in argument and preoccupied immediate impact than the Murray and with political symbols (those by the Martin reports but it, too, was a sign of its non-specialists). time. It focused on the relations between Perhaps the times were changing education and the labour market, gave again, with a dilution of the curiosity overdue attention to TAFE and recomabout public matters and the confidence in the value mended that the main enrolment growth should take of free intellectual exchange that had characterised place in TAFE and the CAEs. It had nothing to say the 1960s, and a more performative approach to the about the gathering tensions on the university/CAE print medium. Many now saw publication as a tool for divide. It contained an appendix by Flinders econoadvancing either ideologies or themselves. mist Richard Blandy that recommended the return of The later 1970s saw a freeze on federal funding student fees and the introduction of a graduate tax, and the Fraser Government’s partial revival of issues the first of many blueprints for market reform. This of state responsibility. The Whitlam Government had generated much criticism, but equally important was left the rationalisation of federal/state responsibilities the report’s finding that the proportion of GDP spent incomplete, especially in the CAE sector, buying the on tertiary education could fall from 1.84 to 1.64 per growth of federal influence though funding rather cent. This confirmed Treasury’s intention to begin than securing a stable transfer of powers and division winding down national investment. of labour. For a time Vestes was preoccupied with fedIn Vestes, reception of the Williams report was tepid. eral/state coordination issues, including implications Former Labor Minister Kim Beazley noted that Treasof the collapsing demand for teachers for teacher trainury would ‘pounce’ on the suggestion for the return of ing. There opinions differed. Merv Turner at La Trobe fees (vol. 22, no. 2, 1979, pp. 5–7) though a graduate tax felt that supply was being cut too far. Alan Barcan at was absurd. Partridge found that ‘it contains very little Newcastle wanted teacher training out of the universiI would wish to disagree with, and at the same time ties and into specialist Institute of Education with an there is not a great deal that is both novel and imporexpanded practicum that would operate concurrently tant’ (vol. 22, no. 2, 1979, p. 8). Sol Encel contrasted with degree programs. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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Williams unfavourably with the OECD’s more creative ideas about education and working life, which called not for a shift of enrolments from general education to tailored vocational programs as Williams implied, but the better integration of theory and practical experiences at all levels (vol. 22, no. 2, 1979, pp. 14–17). The growing policy emphasis on relations between universities and the labour market had more than one implication. In 1981 Ralph Hall from NSW argued the case for the affiliation of FAUSA with the ACTU. He noted that the Federation of College Academics, covering the CAE sector, had already lodged an application to affiliate (vol. 24, no. 1, 1981, pp. 31–32). Meanwhile the second wave of feminism was having a belated impact on the academic associations. Data from Adelaide Geography Professor Fay Gale (later ViceChancellor at WA) showed that in 16 Australian universities in 1977 there were only 12 female professors, 1.2 per cent of the professoriate.Women were 7.3 per cent of Senior Lecturers and 15.1 per cent of Lecturers (vol. 23, no. 1, 1980, pp. 3–4). Yet, as Jennifer Jones and Josie Castles later pointed out, in 1980 women constituted 43.9 per cent of university undergraduates, though only 28.0 per cent of higher degree enrolments (vol. 26, no. 2, 1983, p. 16). The inclusion of CAE data alongside the universities boosted the proportion of female students and staff in higher education. More traditional Vestes preoccupations continued. In 1981 Glen Withers from Macquarie provided an overview of policy research centres in Australia. This was a welcome development providing it did not ‘come at the expense of enduring values’, he said (vol. 24, no. 2, 1981, p. 8). Bob Bessant from La Trobe, who was a member of the small editorial committee along with Andy Spaull from Monash and Les Wallis as General Secretary of FAUSA, argued that if universities wanted to maintain their autonomy they needed to be socially responsible and inclusive in the democratic sense (vol. 25, 1982, pp. 26–33). J H Eddle argued the case for a Northern Territory university on grounds of growth and the need for parity. One paragraph noted ‘the special needs of Aborigines in the NT’ (vol. 26, no. 1, 1983, p. 12).

Dawkins and after The election of a new Labor Government under Bob Hawke in 1983 made little early difference to university policy, which at first continued to be led by the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission (CTEC). The first major change occurred in the industrial

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sphere, when a 1985 High Court decision removed the impediments to industrial registration and unionisation in the education sector. FAUSA moved to adopt federal union status. Its secretariat grew. Talk about the reintroduction of university fees was bubbling away in Canberra and from time to time the issue surfaced in Vestes. The finding by Don Anderson and others that the abolition of fees had done little to shift the socioeconomic composition of the student body (vol. 28, no. 1, 1985, pp. 20–23) (effects in relation to gender were largely overlooked) shook the commitment of social democratic contributors to Whitlam’s free education reform. Staff associations and student unions remained adamantly opposed to fees. Another emerging issue was the tensions along the binary line. Anwyl was sceptical about the desirability and feasibility of the binary system and encouraged debate. In 1985 CAE directors Don Watts from the WA Institute of Technology (later Curtin University of Technology), and Brian Smith from RMIT called for the extension of doctoral education to selected CAEs and a merger of the universities and advanced education councils under CTEC (vol. 28, no. 1, 1985, pp. 4–8). Two years later Watts and Smith became members of the ‘Purple Circle’ gathered by Minister Dawkins in 1987 to help shape his reforms. In the same 1985 issue of Vestes Roy Lourens from WA weighed in with a defence of the binary line, suggesting that there was ‘a hidden agenda involving an attempted redirection of resources from universities and some colleges to a selected group of beneficiaries’. Lourens would not be asked to join the Purple Circle, which as it happened proved his point. Ken McKinnon of Wollongong canvassed community colleges and four year institutions along American lines; but like most commentators in Vestes he ignored TAFE. Perhaps the continued state administration of TAFE took it outside discussion of federal policy. From time to time at the FAUSA annual meeting Anwyl was called on to save the journal from zealous cost cutters. Perhaps these all-too-frequent journeys to the brink persuaded him that modernisation was needed. Vestes adopted a new A4 size page in place of the small journal format it had been using since the early 1960s; and the sub-title Australian Universities’ Review (AUR) went to the top of the masthead. These changes suggested more of a sense of magazine of commentary and less that of a specialist journal, though footnotes stayed, and the content did not alter much.

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funding of 9.5 per cent over 1989–1991 lagged behind The Dawkins reforms of 1987–1989 dominated the planned increase of 15 per cent in student numdiscussion in AUR. The creation of a unified national bers. Further, institutions would be only partly comsystem of universities, absorbing the CAE sector pensated for the common wage increase across the through upgraded designations and mergers with workforce, 1 per cent of operating grants were being existing universities, was paralleled by merger talks deducted for a ‘Reserve Fund’ to assist with the costs between the two unions covering academic staff in of mergers, and the deducuniversities (FAUSA) and tion of university funds to colleges of advanced eduThe journal also sought to popularise itself finance the ARC programs cation (FCA). Later, these to a degree. It sustained a mix of shorter would reach 4 per cent a forces were to join with comment pieces and longer scholarly year by 1991. three general staff unions articles, [and] worked its program of Burke found that overall to become the National theme editions hard... there would be a cut of 8 Tertiary Education Union per cent in operating grants (NTEU). In the meantime per higher education stua growing number of condent and 10 per cent in the univertributors from the CAEs were published sities, in just three years. This trend in AUR. The Green Paper and White Paper line, rather than argy-bargy about issues of 1988 (vol. 31, no. 1 & 2, 1988) the binary system and the Idea of a carried 18 articles on the reforms and University, was to be the harbinger of were widely read. developments in the 1990s.The lesson On the Minister’s reform package, the that government could cut the universibalance of opinion in AUR (especially ties and get away with it was not forgotthe contributors from FAUSA) was hosten. Succeeding years saw the removal tile, though there was general support of full indexation of grants in 1995; then for the Dawkins plan to extend access following the election of the Howard to higher education.The main points of Government, the Vanstone cuts of 1997– criticism were the government’s adop2000. Meanwhile the price of tuition tion of an economic policy framework climbed to among the highest in the world, though for higher education policy, particularly a neo-liberal softened by income-contingent repayment, and eligibilframework; the implied threats to the autonomy of uniity for student assistance grants shrank. versities and to their research functions; the likelihood Under both sides of politics, though more so under of regressive effects on the socioeconomic composithe Coalition parties, the financial settings resulted in tion of institutions if substantial tuition charges were an accelerated growth of international marketing as introduced; scepticism about the benefits of mergers the one sure source of revenues; a blow out of more and increased institutional size; and concerns about the than 50 per cent in student-staff ratios; and the erosion ‘clawback’ of university resources to fund the new proof university capacity to support basic research. The grams of grants for research by the Australian Research older universities had sufficient resources to sustain Council (ARC). Surprisingly, perhaps, there was only a their basic research programs, though with difficulty: muted defence of CTEC, which had long buffered the they lost some ground in comparator universities in universities from direct interference. Dawkins abolCanada and the UK. Universities in what is now the ished the CTEC and subsumed its functions into direct Innovative Research Universities grouping, always rule by the Commonwealth department. more dependent on public funds, came under great There was much rattling of symbols in the debates pressure.The post-1987 universities were never funded about the Dawkins reforms. Sometimes the little for a comprehensive mission in basic research. noticed issues turn out to be more important in the In 1989 it was decided to abolish the single AUR long run. Tucked away at the back of the White Paper editor. The journal passed into the hands of an editoissue of AUR was a short article by Gerald Burke of rial board chaired first by Lesley Johnson (1989–1995) Monash entitled ‘How large are the cuts in operating and then Simon Marginson (1995–2000) and David grants per student?’ [Reprinted in this issue of AUR, p. Burchell (2001–2007). Anwyl stayed on the board 14]. Burke noted that the planned increase in operating vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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lels Vestes/AUR, carries the motto ‘Temper democratic, until his retirement from Melbourne in 1995.The jourbias Australian’.The phrase was drawn from a quote from nal also sought to popularise itself to a degree. It susJoseph Furphy in a letter to F Archibald of 4 April 1897: tained a mix of shorter comment pieces and longer scholarly articles, worked its program of theme edi‘I have just finished writing a full-sized novel: title tions hard, and used black and white and later colour Such is Life; scene, Riverina and northern Vic; temper, democratic, bias, offensively Australian.’ graphics on the cover. Automatic distribution to every union member eventually became too costly and the journal moved to an ‘opt in’ situation. If one was to sum up AUR, ‘democratic’ would be Impact varied. Strong editions of the journal, and a one of the terms to use. But in the fifty years of the handful of brilliant articles, journal, Australian identity some exhibiting stronger is more implicit than is the Among the most popular editions of AUR writing than in the heyday case in Furphy’s novel, and in the 1990s were those with papers on the of Vestes, were interspersed in the pages of Overland. nature of the university by scholars like with less exciting editions. We might say ‘Temper demRaimund Gaita, Judy Brett, Janet McCalman, Old Vestes themes recurred, ocratic, bias academic’ but Tony Coady and Freya Matthews. such as the changing nature this would beg the question of academic work, research of the ‘Australian’ academic. policy, accountability and In this, Australian Uniuniversity governance; as well as newer themes such versities’ Review has mirrored the local university as industrial relations (where John O’Brien from NSW sector. Australians run their own affairs, and inside and was an important contributor) and problems of educaoutside the universities they exhibit a cheerful patriottion markets and commodification. ism that can be thoughtless but is mostly free of hubris. Among the most popular editions of AUR in the Geographic-cultural isolation has helped Australia to 1990s were those with papers on the nature of the evolve a distinctive worldview. Arguably it is characuniversity by scholars like Raimund Gaita, Judy Brett, terised by a communicative openness, by respect for Janet McCalman (vol. 40, no. 2, 1997), Tony Coady and merit and the moderation of status claims, an instinct Freya Matthews. But it had become harder to produce for fairness and a gift for improvisation. It enables the the journal. AUR was now competing for readers with civil reconciliation of diverse cultural habits in a moda larger range of sources of news and comment about ernising setting. higher education, including weekly Higher Education The absence of retarding traditions creates strateSupplements in The Australian. On the contributor gic freedom for Australians and their universities. In side, policy commentary that went to the media had higher education this plays out both in the design a much quicker impact than waiting for AUR. Interof the local system, for example the invention of the national journals were a more prestigious outlet for HECS; and in global mission, for example the transnalonger papers. tional education enterprises which span the ASEAN AUR received too much material that failed the nations and China. grade elsewhere, and depended on solicitation to On the other hand this review of Vestes/AUR over maintain quality. Burchell was an active chair and 50 years would suggest that with shining exceptions in the first half of 2000 AUR was often lively with a from time to time, the higher education sector is fresh and sometimes quixotic take on matters beyond mostly conformist, and often indifferent to creativity. the campus. But for almost two decades, delays and Perhaps the typical Australian cynicism about experrecourse to the expedient of double issues were tise is a problem inside as well as outside higher edutoo frequent. It was not until 2008 that one obvious cation. This limits the potential of the universities. Do remedy was adopted: the return to an editor, this time Australia’s functional strengths in management, comwith honorarium attached. munications and public affairs nip its incipient critical intellectualism in the bud? Has the failure to put down deep cultural and intellectual roots in this land Temper democratic, bias academic? at this time, partly because the talent often flies the coop, left the field to unthinking local pragmatism? It Overland, a Melbourne-based left of centre journal of is a chicken and egg question. books and cultural commentary whose life span paral-

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One example is the muted impact of globalisation in the pages of the journal. Despite the intense engagement of Australian universities offshore in the last 15 years, which absorbed much energy among a minority of their personnel, there was little response to the sharp-minded discussions of international education in 1993 and 1998, (vol. 36, no. 2, 1993, pp. 16–20; vol. 41, no. 2, 1998) and the double issue on international higher education in 2000 (vol. 42, no. 2/vol. 43, no. 1, 1999/2000). It is likely the language in which those discussions were conducted, translated from cultural politics and critical policy studies, failed to broadly connect. There is also a sign here that while globalisation might be having transformative effects across the global sector, the academic culture Australia remains nationally bordered and has changed rather less. The ‘Australianness’ in Australian intellectual identity remains surprisingly derivative. We are closer to a republic than we were, but we still steer with standard Anglo-American navigational aids along the Englishlanguage global routes. We have belatedly realised we are part of Asia but have yet to fully engage culturally. Above all the campuses are unreflexive, except in relation to the kind of narrowly-defined institutional evolution called up by quality assurance, in which the prestige and incomes of the university-as-firm are the horizon of thought. Compare the current discussion

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of policy in Australia with the richer conversation and fecund convergences in the Bologna process in Europe, and the fluorescence of universities in China and Singapore. Through changes in higher education the reflexive capacity of these societies is evolving rapidly, with incalculable long term consequences. Meanwhile we recycle Friedmanite funding schemes every half decade or so. AUR is a creature of its context, more than vice versa. As the possibilities for Australian society and higher education open up, so will their discussion in AUR. Simon Marginson is a Professor in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne. His most recent book is Prospects of Higher Education: Globalisation, market competition, public good and the future of the university (www.sensepublishers.com).

References References in the text relate to volume and number, without further specific reference to the journal’s title at the time. Volume and number references are as follows: Federal Council Bulletin: from vol. 1, no. 1 to no. 4 incl. (1958). Vestes, and from 1962 Vestes: The Australian Universities’ Review: from vol. 1, no. 5 to vol. 30, no. 1 incl. (1958–1987). Australian Universities’ Review (AUR): from vol. 31, no. 1 (1988–present).

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How large are the cuts in operating grants per student? Gerald Burke Monash University

Editor’s note: This paper has been reproduced in this issue by permission of Professor Gerald Burke. It was originally published in the Australian Universities’ Review vol. 31, no. 2, 1988. The paper was portentous; should you apologise for getting it right? As noted by Simon Marginson, governments learnt that they could get away with cutting university funding. It is clear that Gerald Burke is NOT like the alleged Marxist scholar, who was so far ahead of his times, that even 20 years after his death, some of his predictions had not been realised.

The 1988–89 Budget provides more detail on the Commonwealth’s intentions for higher education as outlined in the Green and White Papers. This article focuses on one consequence of the Budget: the decline in operating grants per student in the period 1989 to 1991. Not all the data on expenditure and enrolments necessary for precise estimates are available in the budget papers and it is possible that the government will not proceed with some of its proposals such as the continuing transfer of funds to the Australian Research Council. Hence the estimates must be regarded as preliminary.

each year to reach $177 million in 1991, and to provide for renovations and for 26,000 new places. Institutions are now to receive a single Operating Grant in place of general recurrent equipment, minor works and special research grants. The total amount allocated to Operating Grants is to grow from $2,514 million in 1988 to $2,754 in 1991. This is an increase of around 9.5 per cent in three years. Enrolments are projected to grow about 40,000 or (approaching) 15 per cent over three years.

Total funding

There is therefore an apparent decline in Operating Grant per student of about 5 per cent across the whole of higher education. Furthermore, institutions in higher education are to be only partially funded for the Four Per Cent Second Tier wage and salary increase in 1988. A rough estimate suggests that this will represent at least a 2 per cent cut in funds per student by 1991 if not before.

Total resources available to institutions are projected to grow around 15 per cent by 1991, in part funded by the tertiary tax. (Estimates are in December 1987 prices.) There is an expansion of funds for capital purposes, continuing over the triennium. Capital grants estimated at $79 million in 1988 are projected to grow

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Grants per student

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a ‘researcher’. (The White Paper provides definitions From the operating grant the government will of these.) establish a 1 Per Cent Reserve Fund which in the first The less than full funding of the projected expaninstance will be used e.g. for early retirement or redunsion of enrolments can be dissected: dancy, management reviews or pilot programmes for a • The Government announced that additional places summer semester. are being funded at an average of $8,000 each. This Hence the real value of the Operating Grants per sturepresents about 3 per cent less per student than dent received by institutions for their regular program the average 1988 level of is projected to fall about 8 funding. per cent in the period 1988 This reduction of 8 per cent follows the • Growth in student numto 1991.As will be discussed decline in funding per student of about bers is estimated at 40,000. below the decline will be 8 per cent in the period from 1976 to The funds provided for greatest in the universities 1986 reported by CTEC ... in 1986 and the growth total $240 million. where the cuts could reach decline since then, especially that in 1988 This represents 30,000 10 per cent. students at $8,000 per stuThis reduction of 8 per due to above quota non funded enrolment. dent, rather than 40,000. cent follows the decline in The other 10,000 students funding per student of about must be pipeline growth from 1988 and earlier 8 per cent in the period from 1976 to 1986 reported intakes.There are funds for pipeline growth, but only by CTEC in Efficiency and Effectiveness (p.57) in 1986 $55 million. $55 million would provide for 1,800 stuand the decline since then, especially that in 1988 due dents if funded at the marginal rate used in 1988 of to above quota non funded enrolment. $7,000 per student. It seems the other 2,000 or so are not funded directly at all, and appear to repreExplanation sent the unfunded above quota intakes in 1988 flowing into the 1989 to 1991 triennium. The Four Per Cent Second Tier Settlement and the 1 Per In effect the additional 40,000 students are to be Cent Reserve Fund provide two reasons for the reducfunded at $7,400 each compared to around $8,250 tion in funds per student. The other main reasons are average per student in 1988. the transfer of funds to the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the less than full funding of the projected expansion in enrolments. Conclusion Funds are being deducted from operating grants – of universities not colleges – to be given to the AustralThere are many issues for further debate arising ian Research Council: $5 million was deducted in 1988 from the White Paper and the Budget that are not and additional amounts of $15 million, $35 million and taken up in a brief review of the Operating Grants $60 million are to be extracted over the next three per student: years. This represents about 0.8 per cent rising to 2.3 • The basis for the Government’s assumptions about per cent of total operating grants from 1989 to 1991 education and the economy. for higher education, but about 1.3 per cent rising to 4 • The Government’s capacity for ‘manpower’ forecastper cent of university grants. ing, e.g. should engineering places grow at 3 per The Government has announced the end of the cent per annum as suggested tentatively by Profesbinary system. The diversion of funds to the ARC sugsor Williams in his recent review of the Engineering gests that this is to be achieved in part by reducing discipline or by 50 per cent by 1992 as suggested by university operating grants per student, estimated by Professor Aitken and others for computing and engiProfessor Michael Taylor at 18 per cent higher than neering in their report to ASTEC last year. in colleges, closer to the level of college funding. • The relative neglect of humanities, social sciences But much of the 18 per cent differential is devoted and education except e.g. for Asian Studies and the to the infrastructure for research as staffing ratios in training of maths/science teachers. universities are about the same as in colleges. One • The assumptions about the policies promote pro(intended) consequence is that the typical university ductivity and creativity in teaching and research – academic is to be a ‘scholar’ and a teacher rather than the abolition of CTEC, the transfer of funds to the vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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ARC, hierarchical management, the emphasis on hierarchical supervision. salary rewards and punishments. • The assertions about equity and the tertiary tax (noting the failure to ease the family income test for AUSTUDY which formed part of the Wran package). This paper has had a much more limited focus. It has provided estimates of the projected reduction from 1988 to 1991 in operating funds per student.The average decline for higher education appears to be about 8 per cent per student. The decline is estimated at nearly 10 per cent in universities and about 6 per cent in colleges, though the distinction may be less apparent as mergers occur. The effects of this sharp

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reduction in funds per student, following the decline of the last decade, on the teaching and research capacity of higher education are a matter of considerable concern. It seems inevitable that staff student ratios will decline. Gerald Burke is currently a Professorial Fellow and Executive Director of the Monash University-ACER Centre for the Economics of Education and Training. His recent work includes expenditure on schooling, TAFE and higher education, price measures in education and the financing of lifelong learning. He was also at Monash in 1988 when he wrote this article, demonstrating admirable staying power (or that he is a glutton for punishment).

How large are the cuts in operating grants per student?, Gerald Burke

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Research grant mania Jeffrey Goldsworthy Faculty of Law, Monash University

Commonwealth funding formulae have caused Australian universities to become obsessed with maximising external research funding. Considerable pressure is applied to faculties, departments and scholars to apply for funding, and relative success in attracting it is given excessive weight in evaluating research performance. This may be productive in disciplines that require large amounts of research funding. But it can have many negative effects, especially in other disciplines, such as: a. it is a grossly inaccurate method of evaluating research performance b. the inundation of the ARC with excessive numbers of grant applications c. the diversion of funding from applicants who desperately need it to those who have much less need for it d. an enormous waste of time and effort on doomed grant applications that would have been better spent writing books and journal articles e. the giving of excessive weight to “grantsmanship� at the expense of substantive scholarship in determining appointments and applications for promotion f. subtle distorting effects on research agendas, as projects are devised in order to attract income rather than for their inherent interest and importance, and consequent damage to scholarly morale and enthusiasm; and g. the distortion of research agendas across entire disciplines.

I have taught law in a leading (Group of 8) Australian law school for twenty-five years. Over those years, various pathologies have come to afflict universities in Australia. One is the current manic obsession with maximising research funding from external sources, especially the competitive research grant schemes administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC). I have no quarrel with the ARC. Its various grant schemes provide invaluable assistance to many researchers in this country, from which I myself have benefited on several occasions and hope to benefit again in the future. My complaint is with the way that research income is misused in evaluating research performance, and setting research objectives within our universities. I am concerned with problems that are systemic to the sector, and from what I hear, are worse in many universities other than in my own. Until about 15 years ago, legal scholars seldom applied for research grants or other external research vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

funding.The vast majority, even of the most prolific and eminent, had little need for it. Their research required a good library, a well equipped office, opportunities to meet their peers at conferences and on sabbatical leave, and plenty of time for reading, reflection and writing. Sometimes a modest amount of research assistance was useful. All of this was usually provided by their universities.There were exceptions: a small number of scholars relied much more heavily on research assistants for library research. But most found that assistants were of little use, because their own deep knowledge of the field was essential both to locating relevant material, and to analysing it effectively. Some legal scholars conducted empirical research, and did require expensive assistance in organising and administering questionnaires, tabulating results, and so forth. Those who needed additional funds for research or other assistance were free to apply for it. Others were equally free not to do so. My impression is that this was also true of Research grant mania, Jeffrey Goldsworthy

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The other and more important cause of the change the conduct of scholarship in other disciplines within is that the federal government – partly because of the the humanities. undue influence of the sciences - began to use relative The situation today is very different. Faculties and success in attracting research income, and especially departments, including law schools, now apply considcompetitive ARC grants, as the predominant criterion erable pressure to their scholars to apply for research for the allocation of large portions of some annual govfunding, because university managements apply the ernment funding to universities. The actual fruits of same pressure to them. Universities set ‘targets’ for the research – publications – were given minimal weight, amounts of research funding that faculties and departand the funding supposedly needed to produce ments – and sometimes, individual academics – must publications was given inordinate weight. Research attempt to raise.The performance of scholars in attract‘inputs’ counted far more than its ‘outputs’ - which is ing research income is given enormous weight in deterlike assessing the quality of casseroles not by tasting mining appointments and applications for promotion. them, but by adding up the costs of their ingredients. This change seems to have had two causes. Both Consequently, comparahave to do with the colotive success in attracting nisation of the humanities Universities set ‘targets’ for the amounts external research funding by the methodologies for of research funding that faculties and also came to be heavily conducting and evaluatdepartments – and sometimes, individual used to rank universities in ing empirical research in academics – must attempt to raise. The terms of research performthe ‘laboratory disciplines’ performance of scholars in attracting ance. Since both funding such as science, engineerresearch income is given enormous and prestige are vital to ing and medicine, and also universities, they naturally some areas of the social sciweight in determining appointments and responded by adopting polences.There, it seems, most applications for promotion. icies to increase their sucresearch has been carried cess in attracting research out by teams of academincome. Their internal policies adopted the same sciics working with postdoctoral staff and PhD students, ence model for evaluating research and distributing often using expensive equipment. Large amounts of funding to faculties and departments, which were all money have been the life-blood of this research, to required to attract more research income. fund postdoctoral fellowships, doctoral scholarships, salaries for laboratory technicians, and the purchase of [R]esearch . . . is a means of defining value and equipment. Since most researchers had to compete for manufacturing symbols of excellence. It is a primary source of institutional prestige and income: that money, which was awarded to those with the best in its most prosaic form, research is the pre-emitrack records and most promising projects, success in nent ‘numbers game’ in the Enterprise University. attracting it came to be used as one measure of their Research management’s objective is to succeed achievements as researchers, and of their department’s in that numbers game (Marginson and Considine or faculty’s success in fostering first rate research. 2000: 133). One of the causes of the recent change is that many The universities’ initial responses to these govresearchers from these disciplines, when promoted to ernment funding formulae were often not rational. senior managerial positions within universities, did not Research in law schools, for example, was often consufficiently appreciate that their own familiar research demned as second rate simply because legal scholmethods were neither followed nor appropriate in ars applied for and attracted tiny amounts of funding some other disciplines. When only a small number compared with physicists and engineers. Universities of scholars have any need to apply for large amounts tended to compare apples with oranges. They later of external research funding, and most therefore do adopted a somewhat more sophisticated approach, not compete for it, it makes no sense whatsoever to using ‘benchmarking’ in which the performance of facuse funding as even a relevant – let alone a weighty ulties and departments is compared with that of their or mandatory - consideration in evaluating scholarly equivalents – their ‘comparators’ – in other Australwork in that discipline. In these fields, the quantity and ian universities. This was an improvement. But while – much more importantly – the quality of a scholar’s benchmarking compares each discipline with its compublications are the only relevant criteria.

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increase the quantity and quality of published research parators, rather than with unrelated disciplines within – not to increase research funding for its own sake. the same institution, it does so by applying uniform Funding is now often treated not as a mere means to criteria much more suited to the laboratory disciplines an end, but as the end itself. Marginson and Considine than to others. In other words, while the universities (2000: 135-36) conducted detailed research, including no longer compare apples with oranges, they cominterviews with research managers in Australian Unipare apples with apples according to criteria that only versities, and concluded that: suit oranges. As Professor James Allan argued recently, ‘applying a hard-science, money-guzzling model to . . . Our task was to find out how research matters were the humanities and to law [is just] plain dumb’ (Allan dealt with at the level of institutional governance. It seems that regardless of their private commit2008).When I tell friends at prestigious law schools ments, the primary task of research managers is overseas how our research is evaluated, they react not to encourage research and scholarship as ends with either horror or hilarity. in themselves. Nor is it particularly to encourage Since this kind of benchmarking was introduced, practices based on imagination, criticism, or other objections that research performance in law cannot scholarly values. The bottom-line is the research reliably be measured and compared by reference to prestige of the university and its contribution to the financial balance sheet. . . . Crucially, the means to research income are always met with the rejoinder:‘but research (funding) has become both the measure of look at how well Law Faculty X is doing – it is bringing its value, and the end to be sought. in much more research income than your faculty - and This is perhaps too harsh: in my experience, some if it can do so, why can’t yours?’This simply misses the research managers sincerely believe that increasing point. That Law Faculty X has been more successful research grant applications and funding, and enhancing in repositioning itself to benefit from arbitrary fundresearch performance, are ing formulae, by mimicking one and the same thing. But the laboratory disciplines ...some research managers sincerely believe that is a mistake. For many – whether by hiring more that increasing research grant applications disciplines, the current researchers with a genuine and funding, and enhancing research obsession with research need for grants, or by perperformance, are one and the same thing. income is objectionable not suading more staff that they But that is a mistake. only because that income is really do want grants, or by not an accurate measure of coercing or cajoling them to research performance (Marapply anyway - is irrelevant ginson and Considine 2000: 167-68). It has many other to the question.The question is whether or not Faculty undesirable consequences. X produces more and higher quality scholarly publicaFirst, the ARC is now so inundated with applications. It may well be that Faculty X does so – but the tions for funding that it has been forced to contemresearch income it attracts provides no relevant inforplate methods of reducing the burden on its time and mation on that score whatsoever. Even if it were of resources. But it does not yet seem to have considered some relevance, the numbers of competitive research one obvious method. The inundation is thought to be grants awarded to the discipline of law nationwide are the natural consequence of the inherent desirability of too small to provide a basis for statistically meaningful research funds and the prestige of winning competicomparisons. In comparing two law faculties, which tive grants. No doubt it is, in part. But it is also a conboth employ 60-70 academic staff members, the fact sequence of bureaucratic pressures, and of artificially that one regularly receives three or four ARC grants inflated prestige generated by misguided government per year, and the other one or two, is surely close to and university policies. As Marginson and Considine meaningless as a measure of the quantity and quality discovered, ‘Everywhere we found the same relentless of their research overall.Yet their relative performance pressure to raise ever more research monies’ (Marginis in fact evaluated on that basis. son and Considine 2000: 144). If all this pressure were In any discipline, scholars who could benefit from removed, especially in the humanities, the number of research funding should be encouraged and assisted in applications would undoubtedly fall. applying for research grants. External funding can obviSecond, funding that would be better used by those ously assist research greatly in many ways. But encourwho desperately need it is sometimes diverted to agement is not coercion, and the object should be to vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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applicants who have much less need for it, and in an ideal world would never have bothered to apply for it. This wastes precious resources. Some feel obligated to think of ways of spending money they do not really need. ARC Discovery Grants require applications for a minimum amount of $20,000 per year, and it is often difficult for some scholars in the humanities to think of ways to spend that much money. As one of my most promising younger colleagues once said, ‘I don’t want money to pay someone else to do my teaching, because I like teaching and believe our students should not be short-changed, and I don’t want research assistance because I must do the research myself. So please tell me what I should be spending money on?’ One might have expected that productive scholars would be praised for making no demands on community resources for their research, other than what universities have always routinely provided (libraries, offices, salaries, sabbatical leave, etc). Instead, they are now often treated - for that reason alone – as second rate researchers.As the distinguished biographer Philip Ayres has reported: There’s an animus in the humanities faculties against producing books with minimal cost to the public purse, and most books produced in the humanities do not require the sort of funding appropriate to research projects within the sciences in terms of staff and equipment. A humanities colleague I know very well, in a university I need not name because this could have happened in any of them, was strongly criticised by his head of department for expressing publicly, in an application for a personal chair, his satisfaction in the fact that his books had been produced on only small ARC grants of under $10,000 (or no ARC grant at all); he had never needed large ARC grants (which run up to well over a quarter of a million dollars each) to research and write his books and had never once applied for one. He told his departmental head that he preferred to undertake his own research rather than employ a research assistant whose work he would have to check anyway, and he was given to understand by this head of department how deeply the suggestion was resented, on the relevant committee, that there was civic virtue in scholarly frugality. Did he not realise that the government demanded of Australian universities that their performance assessments of individual staff be based not just on the books they produced and the reception of those books, but very considerably on the securing of large ARC grants? Was he casting aspersions on his colleagues who had applied for and secured such large grants?

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If he wanted promotion he would have to delete that paragraph in the next round, and it would help no end if he could say he was applying for a large ARC grant. It sounds like something out of Book III of Gulliver’s Travels: My close informant said he thought about this for a while, weakened, put in his application a second time – then out of self-respect withdrew it and retired early as he’d always wanted to do. The last thing he needed was a large grant (Ayres 2006: 20). This is not an isolated complaint. In a stinging critique, Malcolm Saunders (2006: 9) said of research managers: It does not matter to them that in many disciplines research might require a lot of time but only a little money. In fact, those who are able to do a lot with very little are barely tolerated. The more commercially-minded managers – and they are on the increase – want research which requires and generates money, not that which can be done cheaply... While the ordinary citizen cum taxpayer might think such researchers are giving good value for money, the manager is far more likely to consider that they are letting down their section of the university by not contributing to ‘the bottom line’, which can only be measured in dollars. Nor is the problem confined to the humanities. Marginson and Considine (2000: 150) quote a scientist who complained that: The University makes much more fuss of Professor [name] getting one million dollars a year from [a pharmaceutical company] than someone else being elected to the Academy of Science. What ought to be prized are the people who travel vast distances on the smell of an oily rag. The people that are prized are those who get large amounts of money and blow it away in expensive programs that may well be quite unproductive. Third, a huge amount of time that would have been better spent writing books and journal articles is now wasted in writing grant applications that have little chance of success. The success rate for ARC Discovery grants is usually between 20 and 25 per cent. So between three-quarters and four-fifths of applications received are doomed to fail. Each of them may have taken a month of work to prepare, time that could have been spent writing something for publication. No doubt many of these applications would have been submitted anyway, but without the current bureaucratic pressures on scholars, many others would not. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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Fourth, the proven ability of scholars to attract research income is given excessive weight in determining appointments and applications for promotion. To quote Allan (2008) again, ‘any Australian legal academic looking for a job overseas would be judged on his or her publications and teaching, full stop. It would be irrelevant that the Australian Research Council had given that person a few grants’. This is not the case – any more – in Australia. Advertisements for professorial chairs now sometimes state that past success in that regard is an essential prerequisite for appointment. A majority of the most distinguished legal scholars of the past would not, in those circumstances, be appointable. Lesser scholars who have proven adept at ‘grantsmanship’ would be preferred. (I should note that in my own university, to the credit of our senior research management, it is still possible in some disciplines to be promoted to a chair without having attracted significant amounts of research income). It will no doubt be said in response that those distinguished past scholars would, were they working today, have no difficulty adjusting to the current requirements for research funding, and their scholarship would still flourish. That response is flawed. It assumes that there is some good reason why productive scholars should have to adjust to these requirements, but none is given. Moreover, eminent retired scholars with whom I have spoken express contempt for the current requirements, doubt that they could have abided them, and relief that retirement has spared them from having to do so. One of Australia’s finest historians, recently retired (not from my university), sent me this message: A person appointed now to a tenured post is expected to make an ARC application almost immediately. I found the subjects of my books by having a few years to teach, read and reflect. I grew into my topics instead of having to announce them to a timetable and to always have a grant being applied for or spent. To write them I needed small sums for travel and some research assistance. Fifth, the current system can affect the morale and motivation of fine scholars negatively – and consequently their achievements. I do not refer only to those unsuccessful in applying for funding wrongly being made to feel they are second rate. The pressure to apply for grants can also have a subtle distorting effect on their research agendas – on the projects they undertake. This is because many scholars know that the kind of research they prefer to do, and what they need to do it, has less chance of being funded vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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than other kinds. Everyone knows that funding is not based purely on scholarly excellence. It also depends partly on what fields of research are officially deemed ‘national priorities’, and also on whether or not the subject-matter of proposed research is topical and ‘sexy’. Funding decisions are often made by ARC panel members who may be distinguished in their own fields, but have little knowledge or appreciation of some work in different, albeit related, fields.They are understandably more attracted to subjects that strike them as interesting or important, such as those that have been recent subjects of public controversy. Projects about terrorism, Aboriginal treaties, climate change, and so on, are more likely to receive funding than other projects that may seem comparatively dry or arcane. This is not a criticism of government funding or of the way the ARC allocates it. National priorities are perfectly justifiable, as are subjective assessments of relative practical utility. The point is simply that not all areas of research have an equal capacity to attract funding. Marginson and Considine (2000: 134) were told by a number of researchers that ‘they were under pressure to apply for grants outside their main areas of interest and expertise’. The opposite problem can also arise, when scholars are reluctant to move outside their past areas of research, into interesting new areas, because they lack the strong track record of publications that are required to attract grants. And some others prefer not to be locked into long-term projects, because they cherish the freedom at any time to drop the research they have been doing, change course, and pursue tangential or completely new interests. Marginson and Considine (2000: 165) quote a scientist who said: People like myself who are working in areas which, by and large, don’t need funding are being told that it’s our duty to the University to seek ARC large grants. I’m applying for ARC large grants, but I won’t be displeased if I don’t get them because an ARC grant will hurl me into one line of research rather than others that might be more interesting. All these pressures can have a debilitating effect on motivation and performance. Outstanding scholarship depends above all on scholars having a genuine passion for their subject-matter. The need to design a research project in order to maximise the chances of attracting funding can diminish that passion. The quality of research might then be damaged rather than enhanced. Scholarly morale and enthusiasm can be fragile. Given the relatively poor remuneration of academia compared with legal practice, the only hope of attractResearch grant mania, Jeffrey Goldsworthy

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in scholarly journals. These include works of a socioing the best young legal minds to universities is to give logical or historical, as well as of a doctrinal or theoretithem unfettered intellectual freedom to explore whatcal, nature. But the basic point is sound: the research ever problems they find most interesting and imporagendas of legal scholars are no longer determined tant. Their sense of being pressured to redirect their solely by their own judgments of interest and imporresearch endeavours in order to enhance their chances tance (and who is better placed to make such judgof obtaining research funding restricts their enjoyment ments?), but partly by extraneous pressures to attract of that freedom. If they are to be brains for hire, preresearch funding. pared to tackle whatever Some might argue that projects external bodies Outstanding scholarship depends above all this is a good thing. They (whether government or on scholars having a genuine passion for might say that doctrinal ‘industry’) are prepared to their subject-matter. The need to design a and theoretical scholarship, fund, they might as well go research project in order to maximise the the traditional staple of into legal practice, and earn chances of attracting funding can diminish legal scholars, is too narrow several times an academic that passion. The quality of research might and fusty, and that the salary working on whatnew emphasis on research ever problems are served then be damaged rather than enhanced. funding has had a healthy up by clients. We have not influence by encouraging reached that point yet, but sociological and empirical research, preferably carwho knows what the future holds? Some outstanding ried out by research ‘teams’. But it would be foolish young legal scholars have in fact resigned and gone into to presume that sociological or empirical research is practice partly due to mounting pressures to apply for necessarily or even generally superior to other kinds unwanted research grants. of scholarship that have conferred in the past, and Finally, the pressure to apply for research funding continue to confer today, national and international can distort research agendas across entire disciplines. distinction on many of our finest legal scholars. It is As Emeritus Professor Sev Sternhell (2006: 44) (a chemthe quality of scholarship that counts, not its genre. ist) observed: ‘Team’ or ‘group’ research is now strongly promoted, The inevitable prevalence of the Sciences within the partly because it is more likely to attract funding, and ARC imposes an unwanted distorting influence on the Humanities by making, say, historians behave partly because of the undue influence of the model of like pretend-physicists: it imposes an inappropriate research that is dominant in the laboratory disciplines. science culture on the Humanities. Even there, I am told by friends, this model is now promoted to excess. For example, in some science Marginson and Considine (2000: 168-69) have disdepartments (in universities other than my own), even cussed the case of law: if people are awarded a three-year ARC grant, they are A striking example of the conflict between [generic] immediately subjected to considerable pressure to research norms and discipline specificity is law. The main manner in which academics in law create apply for another one, regardless of their protests that legal knowledge is through the preparation of legal they would not have time to properly conduct two case books... They require scholarship more than large projects simultaneously. They are told that they fieldwork and depend largely on researcher time. should assume a more managerial role, and delegate Academics in law are under pressure to raise ARC more of the actual research to postdoctoral fellows money and thereby boost departmental income... It and doctoral students. The model promoted is one in is easier for a law academic to gain an ARC grant for a sociological or historical project about law – which the most senior researchers are ‘rain-makers’, that is, a project outside academic legal knowledge who attract research funding, assemble teams of junior itself – than to gain an ARC grant for preparing a collaborators, oversee (if there is time) their conduct major case book. Thus orthodox research manageof the research, but have little time for direct, hands-on ment might actually reduce legal knowledge. involvement. This may be a recipe for maximising the scale of research projects, and the quantity of publiThis over-emphasises the ‘case book’, which includes cations. And no doubt in many cases it also results in extracts from judicial decisions that are subjected to publications of high quality. But it is absurd to insist analysis. The best legal scholarship generally takes the that it is the ideal model to which every researcher form of learned monographs and treatises, and articles

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should aspire, even in the sciences. Major, path-breaking discoveries are sometimes less likely to be made if the most knowledgeable and experienced researcher is removed from the front line of research, and confined to a largely managerial role. But I must leave my friends in the sciences to fight their own battles. In the humanities, collaboration within teams can be very fruitful, but bigger is not always better. The ‘lone wolf’ scholar remains hard to beat, and should not be discouraged or demoralised. The eminent historian quoted earlier also observed that ‘[i]n the Humanities the larger the budget and the more people involved the more predictable the outcome.’ Moreover, in law, first rate postdoctoral fellows (and doctoral students, for that matter) can be very hard to find. The allure of legal practice, offering much higher remuneration and social status, reduces the number of aspirants to academic careers so severely that first rate young scholars can secure a tenured teaching position upon, and often before, completing their doctorates. In this, and in other respects, law differs markedly from other disciplines even within the humanities. Any decision by a particular faculty to increase the proportion of empirical or any other kind of research undertaken by its staff should follow from a carefully considered review of its research and teaching profiles, instead of being an accidental by-product of a desire to maximise research income for its own sake. By setting ‘targets’ for the number of ARC grants that members of any discipline should apply for, or the total amount of funding they should secure, university management implicitly claims to know more about what they need to enhance their research than the researchers themselves.That claim is not plausible. The root of the problem is the government’s methods of allocating funds to universities.The response of university managers is unsurprising.They strive conscientiously to maximise the income and prestige of their institutions, and are usually under pressure to meet ‘targets’ themselves. They expect others to make sacrifices to achieve institutional objectives, even if these include sacrifices to the autonomy, job satisfaction, and productivity (measured qualitatively) of the scholars whose work constitutes the universities’ very reason for existing. What is surprising is how many senior scholars even within the humanities have accepted the new research model. There are many reasons for this. Some are apathetic or feel that it is futile to resist; others have retired or been sidelined.Those who genuinely do want large amounts of research funding are vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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sometimes unable to understand colleagues who do not. Some scholars and departments that have done well in attracting research funding assume that this confirms the superiority of their research, and thereby validates the use of research income as a measure of excellence. They presume that other scholars or departments are making feeble excuses for laziness or poor performance if they question that assumption. The dynamics of the system are such that probably only a change at government level can undo the damage. But this would be very difficult to achieve. The government reasonably believes that it needs some method for evaluating and comparing research performance. Moreover, it is probably true that at the macro, university-wide level, research income does provide one useful measure of comparative research performance. Problems arise when it is applied at the micro level in relation to every discipline.The Howard Government planned to establish a Research Quality Framework (RQF), involving the qualitative evaluation of the best recent publications of nominated researchers within particular fields of study (although even that exercise was to have been corrupted by reliance on research income). This was admirable in principle, but in practice, was going to be extremely convoluted, time-consuming and expensive. Many universities wasted huge amounts of money, time and energy, preparing the necessary documentation and conducting ‘mock’ RQF evaluations – before the real exercise had even started. The RQF was abandoned as impracticable. It has been widely taken to follow that there is no alternative but to rely on so-called ‘metrics’, such as journal rankings and research income.The new government has handed the task of developing new methods for evaluating research performance to the ARC. The ARC, to its credit, is sensitive to differences between the research cultures of different disciplines. But as the main provider of research grants, it is unlikely to reduce the current emphasis placed on success in attracting them. (Its recent Consultation Paper (ARC, 2008) bears this out). It is surely possible to establish a tolerably accurate method for the qualitative evaluation of research performance without either relying on simplistic and misleading ‘metrics’, or being suffocated by the burdens of the RQF. One possibility is simply to ask a large number of eminent professors to assess short lists of the best publications of nominated researchers working within their fields (excluding their own colleagues), and to combine and average their assessResearch grant mania, Jeffrey Goldsworthy

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ments. This would be easier and more accurate than asking a small number of supposed ‘experts’ to read a massive number of publications for the first time, many of which would not fall within their fields of expertise, because professors are already familiar with many of the publications in their fields. (If university professors are not considered honest enough to do this without strategic game-playing, they could be required to sign a statutory declaration that their assessments will be made bona fide on the merits, and that they will not enter into any collusive agreement with any other assessor or institution). I suspect that the result would be as accurate as any alternative method for evaluating research, and more accurate than relying on ‘metrics’. A study along these lines found that ‘survey results and the overall performance measures are broadly consistent’ (Williams and Van Dyke, 2006: 2). But whatever method is adopted, it is imperative that fundamental differences between the disciplines be taken into account. I conclude by issuing a challenge to those who would defend the current system: put aside complacent assumptions and disciplinary prejudices, and set out an argument for public scrutiny.To do so, you must choose between three alternatives. First, you could argue that the pressure now applied to reluctant scholars to seek more external research funding is justified by the universities’ legitimate concern to increase their income and prestige, because all their staff have a duty to contribute by putting their shoulders to the wheel (or because it is not administratively feasible to exempt individual departments or staff from the general effort that is needed). That argument is not an unreasonable one, and at least has the benefit of candour. If it is really a matter of maximising income and status, then let us acknowledge this, and not pretend that it’s all about enhancing research quality. Second, you could attempt to argue that research income really is a very important and reliable meas-

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ure of research quality – not just at the macro, university-wide level, and not just in some disciplines, but in all of them.That, I believe, will be a difficult argument to sustain. Third, you could try to argue that all research is likely to be enhanced by the injection of additional research funding – that bigger is always better - and that reluctant scholars either do not know what is best for the successful pursuit of their own research agendas, or are lazy in pursuing them.That argument is likely to be even more difficult to sustain. But it would, at least, be refreshing to encounter a genuine attempt at a principled justification for the current obsession with research income. Jeffrey Goldsworthy is Professor of Law (Personal Chair) at Monash University, Victoria.

Acknowledgement Many colleagues and friends have kindly commented on this article. I have thanked them privately, and assume that they would prefer not to be thanked publicly.

References Allan, J 2008, ‘Scholars Are Taken for Grants’, ‘The Higher Education Supplement’, The Australian, 18 June 2008. ARC (Australian Research Council) 2008, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Initiative. Viewed 15 July 2008, <www.arc.gov.au/pdf/ERA_ConsultationPaper.pdf> Ayres, P 2006, ‘Cheerless Culture Killers’, Quadrant vol. 50. Marginson, S & Considine, M 2000, The Enterprise University, Power, Governance and Reinvention in Australia, Cambridge UP, Cambridge, 2000. Saunders, M 2006, ‘The Madness and Malady of Managerialism’, Quadrant vol. 50. Sternhell, S 2006, ‘Dividing Up the Research Money’, Quadrant vol. 50. Williams R & Van Dyke, N 2006, ‘Rating Major Institutions in Australian Universities: Perceptions and Reality (Executive Summary)’, Melbourne Institute, November 2006, viewed 14 July 2007, <http://melbourneinstitute.com/publications/reports/dr_aus_uni/Executive%20Summary.pdf>

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High society Are our social sciences as relevant to government as they might be? Gary Wickham Murdoch University

Taking up a theme raised by Stuart Cunningham in a recent issue of the AUR – that the innovations of Australia’s humanities, creative arts, and social sciences are not getting the recognition that they deserve from the nation’s government – this paper, dealing only with the social sciences, offers a cautionary note. If the social sciences are to hold the serious attention of the government of any modern Western nation, including Australia’s, they cannot continue to fall prey to the tendency, displayed by too many of their practitioners, to criticise ceaselessly such government. That is, to employ a style of criticism called here ‘unengaged critique’. This style of criticism targets modern Western governments because they are not seeking perfection, because they are seeking only to do the best they can with the resources they have at hand. The paper offers an explanation of the basis of this tendency, an explanation focusing on one of two understandings of ‘the social’ or ‘society’ available to the social sciences – the abundant reason-natural morality understanding – and it offers a means of avoiding it, by using the rival to this understanding – the politico-legal understanding.

Introduction In a recent contribution to AUR, in which he argues that Australia’s humanities, creative arts, and social sciences are excluded from the nation’s ‘innovation system’, Stuart Cunningham (2007: passim) offers a number of telling points towards the proposition that researchers, teachers, and students within the disciplines that comprise this grouping have a lot of innovation to offer policy makers and funding bodies. In line with this assessment, Cunningham lobbies hard, in his capacity as President of the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, to have the policy makers and funding bodies recognise the relevance of these disciplines to the activities of modern Western governments, particularly to those of the Australian government. More power to his arm, but I worry that at least some of the social sciences for which he speaks are effectively working against this aim, albeit mostly inadvertently. Particularly worrisome is an approach within some social science disciplines to that most vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

basic of objects, ‘the social’ itself, often under its more common name, ‘society’. This approach – certainly the dominant approach in Australian sociology, but not without influence in anthropology, political science, social psychology and socio-legal studies – uses the very notion of the social, or society, as a platform for ceaseless criticisms of modern Western governments. By this approach, modern Western governments, in serving as modern Western states under the rule of law, are always found wanting.They are found wanting because, instead of seeking perfection, as the approach thinks that they should, society being for it a realm of moral perfectibility, they seek only to do the best they can with the resources they have at hand.These social science critics, as Stephen Turner puts it, use ‘the politically unattainable best’ as ‘a stick with which to beat the attainable good’ (Turner 1995: 397). This is not to say that criticism per se is the problem. Australia, like all modern Western states operating under the rule of law, requires a certain style of criticism to maintain its ‘social’, its society, as a domain of High society, Gary Wickham

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relatively free and safe interaction. Such a tradition of criticism helps to ensure that this type of state does what it is supposed to do by way of delivering this package of freedom and safety, and does not itself become a threat to the package. The criticism I am dealing with in this paper, however, is not criticism of this sort, it is a far less constructive style of criticism, a sit-on-the-sidelines-and-carp style, sometimes called critique. In this paper I call it ‘unengaged critique’. With such a style of criticism influential in Australian social sciences, it is little wonder that the Australian government does not rush to support all the research and teaching represented by the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. I hasten to add that I do not think this is the only impediment to the full participation of the social sciences in the government of modern Western countries. There may be many more. A potentially bigger hurdle, for example, is one that is related to the unengaged critique problem, but possibly more insidious. This is the operation of the naturalist communitarian notion of the social, which sees society not as an achievement but as a gift of nature, a gift delivered in the form of communities, leading to a concern that modern Western governments are not doing enough to strengthen communities, in the face of globalisation, markets, war-mongering, or other such supposed threats. This obstacle certainly stands in the way of a productive exchange between the disciplines mentioned above and the Australian governments, but it also reaches further into mainstream media treatments of society than does the unengaged critique problem. However, as I do not have the room here to deal with it properly, I will simply note its prevalence, recognise it as a variant of the abundant reason-natural morality understanding that is one of the two understandings that I will be focusing on, suggest it as a topic for further research, and move on. Drawing on some of the research I’ve been conducting over the past few years (Wickham 2006a; 2006b; 2007; 2008a; 2008b; 2008c; Wickham and Freemantle 2008), I suggest that two distinct understandings of the social or society operate in the social sciences, at least in the Anglophone countries. Common to both understandings is the ‘basic interaction’ theme, by which the social is human interaction per se, and even, in some cases, animal interaction. (Cases like chimpanzees are obvious examples, but basically any species of animal that interacts towards the protection and sustenance of their own unit of agglomeration and/or towards

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the destruction of other units is reasonably said to be ‘social’. I owe this point about animals fitting into this theme to Barry Hindess (personal communication)). In this sense, society is a synonym of sociality, sociability, and even of culture and community. This basic interaction theme is of course widely employed beyond the specialist social sciences, in expressions like, ‘He leads an active social life’, ‘she is socially very skilled’, and ‘I’m going to join the debating society’. Perhaps in spite its wide usage, it is vital to the specialist social sciences, serving as the basis for their sophisticated descriptions of interactions – their basic spadework, if you will. This is crucial work and by itself, is beyond the criticisms of the social science I am offering here. It is at the heart of what is scientific about the social sciences, following the tradition by which science is the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. When they stick strictly to the basic interaction theme, the social sciences are pointedly neutral towards matters of the government of modern Western states, very much in the way that one of the founding figures of the modern social sciences, Max Weber, said that they should be. Weber famously contended that all those engaged in the social sciences must strive to ‘change hats’ whenever they shift from social science per se to political commentary or advocacy (see esp. Weber 1949). Here are two examples of the basic interaction theme at work, drawn from introductory textbooks designed for use in Australian universities, the first for anthropology students, and the second for sociology students: Society refers to “a system of interrelationships which connects individuals together” ... Marvin Harris adds to this the idea of a “common habitat” or environment within which members of a society depend on one another for survival and well-being (Hawkins 2006, p. 5, quoting Giddens and quoting Harris). “Social” is a word that is rarely discussed in sociology ... For simplicity’s sake, let’s say the term social refers to the idea of relationships between people (Bessant and Watts 2002, p. xvi). These are examples of a neutral way of presenting the social as an object of study, with no hint of unengaged critique. But, of course, they are examples only of the definition of the social or society, not descriptions, explanations, or analyses of some or other aspect of society. To remain neutral beyond the definition stage is a notoriously difficult task, almost impossible. Weber suggests that the best we can do is to be ruthlessly vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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honest with ourselves and to take responsibility for the political position we are advocating or with which we are aligning ourselves. He highlights ‘the presence of a rhetorical and political dimension within the research process itself’, insisting that positions be argued vigorously (Palonen 2004, p. 279). In other words, it is all too easy for me to say that the basic interaction theme by itself is beyond the criticisms I am posing, because this interaction is found by itself only in introductory definitions. It is my contention that in more complex tasks of description, explanation, and analysis, this theme always travels with one minder or the other. By this I mean that it operates with one or the other of the two distinct understandings of the social or society mentioned above. These two understandings are rivals, through and through. As I said earlier, I call one the ‘abundant reason-natural morality’ understanding. For ease of presentation I often shorten this to ‘the reason-morality understanding’, but the idea of abundant reason and the idea of natural morality must always be borne in mind when considering this understanding, for it is the joint propositions that humans have an abundance of reason and are naturally endowed with morality that distinguishes it from its rival, not the reason and the morality per se, as we shall see later. I call its rival the ‘politico-legal’ understanding. In most modern Western countries, not just in Australia, the reason-morality understanding is the more influential, unfortunately. In these places, it is dominant in many social sciences and in many broader debates about society, politics, law, and the state. It is the reason-morality understanding that is the source of the worrisome perfectibility imperative discussed above and therefore the source of the imperative to unengaged critique of the activities of modern Western governments. The remainder of the paper is divided into two sections. In the first I spell out the ways in which the reason-morality understanding of society goes about its work, paying particular attention to the ways in which it fosters unengaged critique. In the second I spell out the way in which the rival politico-legal understanding goes about its work, highlighting the ways in which it fosters a constructively critical appreciation of the activities of modern Western governments without crossing over into unengaged critique. In the conclusion I will argue that the social sciences in Australia have some useful models available to them to help them shake off the blight of unengaged critique. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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A further caveat is necessary. In what follows I will not provide overwhelming amounts of evidence for my claims about the social sciences in Australia, only enough to indicate the character of the problem I am dealing with. As with the provision of more fully developed arguments about the prominence of communitarianism in debates about society, the provision of more evidence about the role of unengaged critique is something for a future research project.

The abundant reason-natural morality understanding of society The reason-morality understanding has its roots in Plato’s and Aristotle’s understandings of sociality, particularly through the Platonic premise of homoduplex, whereby humans are seen to have two natures; a lower nature by which they experience the world and a higher nature by which they can rise above their base experience and realise their abundant capacity to reason. This understanding picked up a few Christian edges in its journey from the ancient to the modern world, through the likes of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, but gained most of its current strength through Kant and his various heirs (see esp. Colas 1997). For this understanding, the social or society is an outcome of our abundant reason-driven quest for the moral perfection which nature sets for us as our goal. For this understanding, the social, alongside culture and community, is an ally of our abundant reason and our natural morality as they struggle to reduce the influence of and/or to control each of politics, law, and the state. In other words, society, alongside culture and community, is concerned with the formation of fully-reasoning, morally-aware individuals and groups, the true building blocks of modern life. On the other hand, for this understanding, politics, law, and the state have no fundamental relationship to reason and morality. The fundamental relationship forged by Aristotle between reason, morality, and politics, for example – the relationship expressed by his term ‘koinonia politiké’ or ‘political community’ – was dropped by this approach in the modern period, no longer trusted, perhaps in the wake of Machiavelli’s decoupling of politics from morality. For this understanding, politics, law, and the state can and do still have nobility, but they do not automatically have it.They have it only if they serve reason and morality, which is what Kant tried to make them High society, Gary Wickham

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legally “terra nullius”, an empty land’ (2007, p. 386), do and what those working in his wake in the social without so much of a nod to the sophisticated historisciences (and there are a lot of them) still try to make cal debates about the common law treatment of such them do. For this understanding, this is to say, politics, issues at the time of colonisation (see, for example law, and the state can be useful forces in the promoMcHugh 2004; Pocock 1992). As well, the authors of tion of reason and morality, but only if they are strictly this text are determined that sociology should similarly servants.They definitely have no place in the coalition use the social as the basis for critiques of ‘Australia’s of forces that is meant to rule human interactions – poor record in environmenreason and morality, as tal welfare’ (2007, p 469) expressed through culture, The fundamental relationship forged by and of this nation-state’s community, and the social. Aristotle between reason, morality, and other ‘failures’ to respond In line with this, the social politics, ... was dropped by this approach ‘appropriately’ to issues of is understood as part of the in the modern period, no longer trusted, ‘globalisation’, especially universal stage on which perhaps in the wake of Machiavelli’s immigration, ‘McDonaldithe dramas of politics, law, sation’, and urban sprawl decoupling of politics from morality. and the state are played out, (2007, pp. 473-488). the social is the ground of Neither book displays politics, law, and the state. any awareness of the possibility that states might not I will again use two textbook examples to illustrate have humans’ abundant reason, natural morality, equity, my point. In the anthropology textbook used earlier, and justice at the top of their list of priorities, which Hawkins portrays the modern Western state as the brings us nicely to the politico-legal understanding of product of the social and its fully-reasoning, morallythe social. aware individuals and groups, as an expression of its ‘massive community’ (Hawkins 2006, pp. 9-10). On this basis, she presents political issues dealt with by The politico-legal understanding of the modern Western states as if they are issues only of social fully-reasoning, morally-aware individuals and groups, as if this has to be the state’s prime concern, that is, as The rival politico-legal understanding has its roots in if all political issues are automatically social issues, to the much harsher ‘man is a dangerous animal in need be solved in the name of reason and morality alone. For of great discipline’ Epicurean and Stoic understandexample, in her concluding chapter (Hawkins 2006, ings of sociality/sociability (see esp. Hunter 2001, pp. pp. 209-217), further advancing her dominant theme 171-172). Human beings, by this picture, have some of globalisation, she insists that states be judged on the reason – enough to allow them to see that they need extent to which they aid the establishment of global strong rule, that they cannot trust themselves to rule equity and justice and focuses her attention on ‘social by reason alone – but their will far outweighs their protests’ against states and multi-national corporations, reasoning capacity. convinced that the social, as the bearer of humans’ The politico-legal understanding, on its journey to abundant reason and natural morality is the best way the modern world, picked up a few Christian edges of to achieve equity and justice. its own, as well as a few Judaic, neo-Epicurean and neoIn a different sociology textbook to the one used Stoic edges, but gained most of its direction through earlier, Holmes, Hughes, and Julian, after instructing the work of thinkers like Thomas Hobbes in England, their readers that sociology is ‘fundamentally’ involved and Samuel Pufendorf and Christian Thomasius in in ‘examining the nature of inequality in society’ (2007, Germany, as well as earlier thinkers like Machiavelli in p. 4), draw a distinction between ‘sociology as an Italy and Hugo Grotius and Justus Lipsius in the Nethinstrumental discipline’, helping the state to manage erlands (see esp. Grotius 1925; Hobbes 1994; Hunter society, and ‘sociology as permanent critique’ (2007, 2001; 2003, 2004a; 2004b; 2005; Lipsius 2005; Machipp. 16-17).They make clear throughout their book that avelli 1961; Pufendorf 2003;Thomasius 2007). they favour the latter option. For example, in their curFor this understanding, the social is an achievement sory treatment of the idea of the state (2007, pp. 383of politics, in concert with law and the state. Hobbes 387), they claim that, ‘The British created the modern captures something of the flavour of this thinking in nation-state known as Australia by declaring it to be a remark that he offers in Leviathan in leading up to

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his famous claim that in the state of nature ‘the life of man’ would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’: ‘In such condition [the state of nature], there is no ... industry; ... no knowledge of the face of the earth; ... no arts; no letters; no society’ (Hobbes 1994, p. 76 [Part I, Ch. XIII: Para. 9]). In other words, the social is something that we cannot take for granted, something that requires enormous political and legal effort, and, in this sense, something that can be lost. For this understanding, society did not emerge until politics, in league with law and the state, was able to contain the power of morality, culture, community, and religion (the times and places where this has happened will be discussed shortly). For this understanding, morality is not natural at all but is a series of conventions, conventions which are not always conducive to the rule of these individuals and groups but which can be made so by bringing culture – for this understanding, the formation of strongly wilful and only partially-reasoning individuals and groups – under control, such that new, more restrained persons are formed, as new moral personae (see esp. Saunders 1997; 2002). For this understanding, community is the agglomeration of the individuals and groups around different moral goals (and therefore always potentially dangerous to those who would seek to rule them). For this understanding, religion, if it is not contained as a private form of spirituality, is a special, particularly powerful form of morality, culture, and community, and so considered especially dangerous.And the social or society itself, for this understanding, is, as we saw above, a domain for relatively peaceful, relatively safe interaction between individuals and groups, a fragile domain achieved only by a particular combination of politics and law – the combination that produced the state as sovereign. This still leaves me to explain this understanding’s treatment of each of politics, law, and the state. For the politico-legal understanding of society, politics is the most powerful of all forces.At its core politics is that set of relations which Carl Schmitt described in his famous essay, The Concept of the Political (Schmitt 1976): friend-enemy relations, with no universal or timeless basis for determining either friend or enemy, but instead with constant shifting between the two and with an imperative that friends try to kill off enemies and vice-versa, an imperative that is more often than not displaced, into discussion, diplomacy, treaties, etc., but always potentially active.This is politics at its most raw and, in many senses, its most powerful. While sovvol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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ereignty politics, with its panoply of offices and duties and its massive machinery, can be thought of as much more sophisticated than raw politics, it cannot be said to be more powerful. For raw politics is politics driven by the will, and without the will, all the offices, duties, and machinery in the world are useless. Of course these two – raw politics and sovereignty politics – do not exhaust the possibilities. For example, one can think of relatively polite electoral politics and, more interestingly, a politics somewhere in between raw politics and sovereignty politics. In a recent article, Grahame Thompson has referred to such a politics as a politics of ‘spirited martial power’. By this, reflecting on recent world events as much as on history, he has in mind a politics concerned with the celebration of ‘valour, endurance and suffering’, a politics that seeks to invoke ‘heroic effort above all else, the achievement of glory and the formation of a warrior culture’ (Thompson 2007, p. 493). I think this is a fascinating possibility, though I would not so much separate it out as make sure that it is included in sovereignty politics. For me, the sort of politics Thompson alludes to entered sovereignty politics from the start, possibly on the back of Machiavelli’s influence. In pointedly rejecting the humanist assumptions of Cicero and Seneca and building in a much more muscular understanding of virtú, with its recognition of the importance for effective political actors as such warrior traits as a measured amount of cruelty, Machiavelli was, in his own way, insisting that a politics of ‘spirited martial power’ be included in the political armoury of those who would lead the Western world into its system of sovereignty politics. For this understanding, then, politics has no particular nobility attached to it, but considerable respect, or at least awe, because of its raw power, because of the ‘spirited martial power’ it contains, and, of course, because of aforementioned size and reach of the machinery of sovereignty. For the politico-legal understanding, law is defined as both a servant of politics – it helps politics to rule – and as a check upon the excesses of its rule. This can be thought of as a delicate historical equilibrium, an equilibrium by which neither politics nor law trusts the other yet both gain strength from the other (with the proviso that, as Schmitt rightly insists, in exceptional circumstances politics always trumps law). This equilibrium can operate under monarchs, military figures, etc., but it gained and maintains its importance as the equilibrium that produced the state-under-theHigh society, Gary Wickham

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what they do. It is, rather, to say that they will use work rule-of-law. For this understanding, this type of state that realises that society is a domain that they – these is defined both by its potential to achieve goals like governments, as governments operating within states individual liberty and security and by the underlying under the rule of law – are seeking to protect and fact that it gave the power of politics under sovermaintain, as a domain of liberty and security. It is to say eignty a massive boost over raw politics. This allows it that these governments will use work that appreciates to reach further than raw politics ever had, both in its how difficult the birth of this domain was and how difcapacity to control its target population – that within ficult it is to maintain against threats from those who the territory it rules – and in its capacity to use that seek perfection based on some religious ideal or other. control for external purposes – whereby sovereign It is to say that these governments will use work that forces, whether states or non-states, turn their politicriticises them from within the bounds of this realisacal energies outward, towards the populations of other tion and this appreciation. While they will of course territories, thereby allowing more space for the rule know that social scientific work produced using the of internal populations by ever more peaceful means, reason-morality understanding of the social is not including discussion, civil law, etc. directly threatening in the way that the aforemenIn this way, for this understanding, the state quickly tioned seekers of perfection based on some religious became a force in the crucial equilibrium in its own ideal or other are threatening, they will nevertheless right. This is to say that the state was the product of reject such work, as all it does is to mount criticisms the tense relationship between politics and law, a prodthat seek perfection of a different sort, a secular perfecuct that was soon able to interact with both of them tion based on human reason, a perfection that is not in (politics and law) and even to seek to control them (as fact as far from the religious forms of criticism as its noted, in exceptional circumstances, states can claim advocates would like to believe. to control law totally, but those same circumstances Perhaps I should have said that this lesson should mean that even states themselves are trumped by polibe straightforward. It is tics). Once the equilibrium not, in truth, as straightbetween politics, law, and Social scientific work that employs the forward as the above forstate, was achieved – inipolitico-legal understanding of the mulation makes out. This tially, in the seventeenth social, possibly in tandem with the basic is because the politicocentury, in only a handful interaction theme, is likely to be of legal understanding of the of countries (England, Germuch more interest to modern Western social operates under a many, France, and the Nethbizarre handicap within erlands), then spreading, in governments, including the Australian the social sciences. While the eighteenth, nineteenth, government, than is work that employs the the social owes its status as and twentieth centuries, to reason-morality understanding. a force in the equilibrium other European countries, discussed above entirely to to the USA, to Canada, Auspolitics, law, and the state, the equilibrium proved so tralia, and New Zealand, and arguably, to a number of successful in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentiAsian countries and to one or two African countries eth centuries, in those countries where it took hold, – the social or society was able to come into its own, that in fostering greater liberty and security it actually to effectively become a force itself in the equilibrium, created the conditions that made it appear to many albeit a weaker fourth force. that the social was in fact not dependent on politics, From all this, I am suggesting, there is a straightforlaw, and the state at all, that the social was, rather, the ward lesson for those working in the social sciences stage on which politics, law, and the state operated. in Australia. Social scientific work that employs the This situation has had the paradoxical consequence politico-legal understanding of the social, possibly in of strengthening the hand of the reason-morality tandem with the basic interaction theme, is likely to understanding, which has, as we saw, argued all along be of much more interest to modern Western governthat the social is above politics, law, and the state.This ments, including the Australian government, than is makes the problem I am highlighting all the more difwork that employs the reason-morality understandficult to confront, but a solution is not beyond curing. This is not to say, of course, that modern Western rent best practice. governments will use only work that is not critical of

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Conclusion: Cause for optimism A solution is at hand mainly because none of the social sciences in this country are completely under the sway of the reason-morality understanding, including sociology, which is the discipline most affected by it. In disciplines like political science, economics, social psychology, and legal studies, most of the teaching and the research regards the task the Australian government faces in managing, maintaining, and protecting the social with appropriate seriousness. So, when political science and legal studies, for example, use vague formulations like,‘An evaluation of the process of social change is important to an evaluation of recent social movement action in Australia’ (Vromen and Gelbar 2005, p. 348), or ‘the legal system [is] a complex social phenomenon rather than simply ... a set of legal rules’ (Bottomley and Bronitt 2005, p. 6), it is safe to assume that they are not seeking to undermine the managing-the-social role of governments operating within the state under the rule of law in the way that unengaged critique seeks to undermine it. When practitioners of these disciplines do turn their hand to critique it is as easy to spot as I showed it to be in my anthropology and sociology examples in the first section, and just as easy for governments to ignore. Turning to directly confront sociology, even this discipline has a tradition, albeit well-hidden, in which the social is clearly the product of the political, a tradition that respects the work of governments operating within states under the rule of law, a tradition that regularly criticises such governments but never turns its criticisms into irresponsible unengaged critique, a tradition featuring not only Weber’s writings on the politics of governing the social (see esp. Weber 1994), but also those of some early American sociologists like Franklin Giddings and Charles Elwood (see esp. Turner 1994; 2005; 2007; Turner and Turner 1990, esp. pp. 85-132; see also Ellwood 1915; Giddings 1905), those of Raymond Aron (see esp. Aron 1988), Edward Shils (see esp. Shils 1997), and, more recently, Stephen Turner (see esp.Turner 2003). In other words, while the problem of an over-reliance on the abundant reason-natural morality understanding of society, leading to an over-production of ‘sit on the sidelines and carp’ unengaged critiques of the activities of modern Western governments, especially those of the Australian government, is a pressing problem, it is nonetheless possible to be optimistic about the situation.What is required is simply a greater vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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resolve on the part of the social science disciplines themselves. They need to resolve to turn away from the production of these all-to-easy unengaged critiques and towards the sort of responsible criticisms, descriptions, and assessments that actually assist modern Western governments, the sort of outcomes that require the use of the politico-legal understanding of society, an understanding that is already well and truly available. For a lead, the affected disciplines could do worse than to consider the way an interdisciplinary research unit that goes by the acronym NATSEM deals with the S in its name. NATSEM – the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling – treats the social entirely as a domain managed, maintained, and protected by the Australian government, and attempts to determine how that management, maintenance, and protection might be enhanced to better deliver the fullest possible package of liberty and security, including economic security and health security (see esp. Baekgaard 1998; Marks, Headey, and Wooden 2005). In other words, this type of management, maintenance, and protection of society is the best means of satisfying what are sometimes called ‘the role and needs of society’, for society has no role and no needs beyond those required to deliver the sort of liberty and security that most people in the West have come to regard as the norm. That is surely enough for it to be going on with. Gary Wickham is Associate Professor Sociology in the School of Sociology & Community Development, Murdoch University, Western Australia.

Acknowledgements I thank Dick Bryan, Barbara Evers, Farida Fozdar, and two anonymous referees for their helpful feedback.

References Aron, R 1988, Raymond Aron: Power, Modernity and Sociology, Schnapper, D (ed.), Aldershot, Edward Elgar. Baekgaard, H 1998, The Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia: 1986 and 1993, NATSEM Discussion Paper 34, Canberra, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra. Bessant, J & Watts, R 2002, Sociology Australia, second edition, Sydney, Allen and Unwin. Bottomley, S & Bronitt, S 2006, Law in Context, third edition, Sydney, Federation Press. Colas, D 1997, Civil Society and Fanaticism: Conjoined Histories, trans. A Jacobs, Standford, Stanford University Press.

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Cunningham, S 2007, ‘Oh, the Humanities! Australia’s innovation system out of kilter’, Australian Universities’ Review 49(1-2), pp. 28-30.

Thomasius, C 2007, Essays on Church, State, and Politics, I Hunter, T Ahnert & F Grunert (eds), Indianapolis, Liberty Fund.

Ellwood, C 1915, The Social Problem: A Constructive Analysis, New York, Macmillan.

Thompson, G F 2007, ‘The Fate of Territorial Engineering: Mechanisms of Territorial Power and Post-Liberal Forms of International Governance’, International Politics 44, pp. 487–512.

Giddings, F 1905, The Elements of Sociology, New York, Macmillan. Grotius, H 1925 [1625], The Law of War and Peace, trans. F W Kelsey, Oxford, Clarendon Press. Hawkins, M 2006, Global Structures, Local Cultures, Melbourne, Oxford University Press. Hobbes, T 1994 [1651], Leviathan: with selected variants from the Latin edition of 1668, ed., intro. E Curley, Indianapolis, Hackett. Holmes, D, Hughes, K & Julian, R 2007, Australian Sociology: A Changing Society, second edition, Sydney, Pearson Longman. Hunter, I 2001, Rival Enlightenments: Civil and Metaphysical Philosophy in Early Modern Germany, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Lipsius, J 2005 [1584], De Constantia, trans. J Strandling, intro., notes J Sellars, Bristol, Bristol Phoenix Press. Machiavelli, N 1961 [1515], The Prince, trans. G. Bull, Harmondsworth, Penguin. Marks, G N, Headey, B & Wooden, M 2005 ‘Household wealth in Australia: Its components, distribution and correlates’, Journal of Sociology 41(11), pp. 47–68. McHugh, P G 2004, Aboriginal Societies and the Common Law: A History of Sovereignty, Status, and Self-Determination, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Palonen, K 2004, ‘Max Weber, Parliamentarianism and the Rhetorical Culture of Politics’, Max Weber Studies 4(2), pp. 273–292. Pocock, J G A 1992, ‘Law, Sovereignty and History in a Divided Country: The Case of New Zealand and the Treaty of Waitangi’, McGill Law Journal 43, pp. 481–506. Pufendorf, S 2003, Samuel Pufendorf: The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, Together with Two Discourses and a Commentary by Jean Barbeyrac, I Hunter & D Saunders (eds), Indianapolis, Liberty Fund. Saunders, D 1997, Anti-lawyers: Religion and the critics of law and state, London, Routledge. Saunders, D 2002, ‘“Within the Orbit of This Life” – Samuel Pufendorf and the Autonomy of Law’, Cardozo Law Review 23(6), pp. 2173–2198. Schmitt, C 1976 [1927], The Concept of the Political, trans., notes, intro. G Schwab, afterword L Strauss, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.

Turner, S 1994, ‘The origins of “mainstream sociology” and other issues in the history of American sociology’, Social Epistemology 8(1), pp. 41–67. Turner, S 1995, ‘Obituary: Edward Shils (1 July 1910 – 23 January 1995)’, Social Studies of Science 25, pp. 397–399. Turner, S 2003, Liberal Democracy 3.0: Civil Society in an Age of Experts, London, Sage. Turner, S 2005, ‘Giddings, Franklin Henry’ Encyclopedia of Social Measurement, volume 2, Amsterdam, Elsevier, pp. 133–139. Turner, S 2007, ‘A Life in the First Half-Century of Sociology: Charles Ellwood and the Division of Sociology’ in C Calhoun (ed.) Sociology in America: A History, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, pp. 95–127. Turner, S & Turner, J H 1990, The Impossible Science: An Institutional Analysis of American Sociology, Newbury Park, CA, Sage. Vromen, A & Gelbar, K 2005, Powerscope: Contemporary Australian political practice, Sydney, Allen and Unwin. Weber, M 1949, The Methodology of the Social Sciences, E A Shils & H A Finch (eds, trans), foreword E A Shils, New York, The Free Press. Wickham, G 2006a, ‘Foucault, Law and Power: A Reassessment’, Journal of Law and Society 23(4), pp. 596–614. Wickham, G 2006b, ‘The Law-Morality Relation Revisited: A Challenge to Established Traditions by the Australian Sceptical Approach’, Griffith Law Review 15(1), pp. 27–48. Wickham, G 2007, ‘Expanding the Classical in Classical Sociology’, Journal of Classical Sociology 7(3), pp. 243–265. Wickham, G 2008a, ‘The Social Must Be Limited: Some Problems With Foucault’s Approach to Modern Positive Power’, Journal of Sociology 44(1) (forthcoming). Wickham, G 2008b, ‘Competing Uses of History in Researching the Social: A Reply to Peter Baehr’, Current Sociology 56(5) (forthcoming). Wickham, G 2008c, ‘Protecting Law from Morality’s Stalking Horse: The “Socio” in Socio-Legal Studies’, Law, Text, Culture 12 (forthcoming). Wickham, G & Freemantle, H 2008, ‘Some Additional Knowledge Conditions For Sociology’, Current Sociology 56(5) (forthcoming).

Shils, E 1997, The Virtue of Civility: Selected Essays on Liberalism, Tradition, and Civil Society, S. Grosby (ed.), Indianapolis, Liberty Fund.

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Dilemmas of dissent International students’ protest, Melbourne 2006/2007

Paul Rodan Central Queensland University

International students in Australia are not usually identified with protest. However, a cohort of such students at one university campus was prepared to undertake robust public protest over alleged academic mistreatment in 2006/2007, eschewing conventional internal mechanisms for the resolution of such problems. Subsequent developments revealed much about government and media attitudes and the dilemmas posed for institutions in crafting an appropriate response.

This article concerns an outbreak of public protest over academic issues by international university students in Melbourne in 2006/2007 and the reaction which ensued. Student protest is hardly a novel phenomenon. For a long time, university students and dissent have been virtually synonymous, with Australian demonstrations probably reaching their peak during the Vietnam and conscription era of the 1960s and early 1970s. More recently, protest has been less in evidence, with apparently fewer participants and fewer issues.While matters of war and peace seem to retain a core constituency, recent manifestations of student dissent have often focussed on more local and arguably self-interested causes such as tuition fees and voluntary student unionism. However muted protest may have become, it has been even less visible among Australia’s growing population of full fee paying international tertiary students. This is relatively easily understood. These students are effectively ‘visitors’ and even if interested in the causes espoused by their Australian peers, prudence dictates a minimal risk policy in terms of a focus on study and avoidance of any untoward encounters with authority. In relation to the latter point, those from totalitarian or authoritarian regimes may be especially cautious. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

Realistically, any protest focus for an international student seems more likely to relate to their status as consumers rather than as political critics. In this context, the regulatory framework prescribes a good deal of protection so that students are taught what was advertised, by suitably qualified staff in appropriate premises with quality facilities, all this being backed up by specialist student services and a transparent system of grievance and appeal (National Code, 2007). Given that the overwhelming majority of international students study in classes with Australian students, Commonwealth-supported and fee-paying, most matters of potential grievance would relate to the cohort as a whole, not just to international students. Hence, if teaching were regarded as inadequate or facilities second rate, discontent could be expected from all quarters, although an argument might be mounted that fee-payers (especially perhaps older adults) will be more vociferous than their subsidised colleagues. Granted, there may be some issues of insensitive service provision or even discrimination against international students, but few such charges have made it into the higher education public arena. Either such cases are rare, or they are adequately dealt with in-house, or both.Then again, there may be a reporting problem. Dilemmas of dissent, Paul Rodan

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However, one institution, Central Queensland University (CQU), has attracted prominence for a different approach to teaching international students, and while this has been successful in attracting large numbers (and thus, obviously, revenue), recent experiences have demonstrated that this model also brings with it a vulnerability when students adopt the persona of disgruntled customers. Through an arrangement with a private partner, C Management Services (itself half owned by CQU at the time) which manages the campuses (and employs the staff), CQU offers its academic programmes to international students at central business district (CBD) sites in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and on the Gold Coast. From the outset, curriculum design and subject coordination were controlled by CQU staff located at Rockhampton, with international campus staff effectively delivering the ‘academic product’ as transmitted from central Queensland. Any consultation with the international campus staff on content, design or assessment was dependent upon the collegiality (or otherwise) of the relevant CQU academic. While some international students attend CQU’s regional campuses, the overwhelming majority of CQU international students undertake their studies far away from central Queensland at Australian International Campuses (AICs). Moreover, the number of fee-paying Australian students at these locations is very modest at around ten per cent: the campuses can be accurately described as specialist international student sites. In February/March 2007, public protests by international students at CQU’s Melbourne International Campus attracted sustained negative publicity, culminating in criticism of the University by the relevant State Minister who then ‘ordered’ an audit of the campus, pursuant to the regulatory role of state governments under the Commonwealth/State agreement governing the provision of educational services to international students. To understand how this state of affairs was reached, it is necessary to provide some background and context. The Melbourne campus opened in early 1997 and grew rapidly, reaching an enrolment figure of over 2000 by the end of 2001. In common with the trend across the sector, a sizeable proportion of this growth was generated by migration-related demand, an aspect which has aroused controversy and critical comment (Birrell and Healy, 2008). In these early years, students gravitated towards information technology-related programmes which were among those that offered

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the surest route for Australian permanent residency. In terms of country of origin, the sub-continent was easily the most heavily represented, followed by the People’s Republic of China. Other nations such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand also had respectable numbers. In what might be called the ‘IT years’, it was the Sydney campus of CQU (opened in 1994) which provided the occasional media headline, while life at Melbourne proved comparatively uneventful. In 2001, an unfortunate incident when an absent lecturer was not replaced in a timely fashion in Sydney was cited by students who protested about the subsequent high fail in the subject in question. A similar protest ensued in 2002 when a high fail rate in a Master of Information Systems subject provoked intense student reaction, with some students driving to Rockhampton to confront the Vice-Chancellor. Matters were not helped when a series of flawed addition of marks by CQU were revealed in the student consultation process. These Sydney incidents highlighted the willingness of students to undertake direct protest action (street demonstrations, threats of hunger strikes, media contact) when aggrieved by academic or administrative outcomes. Ethnic solidarity and ease of communication at a CBD location combined to facilitate rapid reaction once a problem was seen to arise. Electronic and print media can more conveniently physically access a CBD site than one in the inner or outer suburbs.‘Normal channels’, as used by Australian students, were bypassed in favour of direct protest action. It could be argued, as delicately as possible, that the students in question tended to come from ‘protesting’ cultures, where dramatic gestures (such as threats of hunger strikes) are virtually passé. Banners and shouting are often not enough. Campus staff contended that bona fide students were joined by opportunistic types who had attended few classes and done minimal work, but who hoped to manipulate their way to a cheap pass. The impotence of the student association to act as a representative conduit for the advocacy of views to campus management was also highlighted. In addition to cultural factors, the permanent residency phenomenon looms large in any analysis of the students’ behaviour. For many, immigration was the driving force in selecting a course as, under government regulations, successful completion in an area of designated ‘skills shortage’ (such as by now Accounting, previously IT) would help the graduate secure permanent residency in Australia. Hence, failure and vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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exclusion represented more than the threat of an early return ‘home’: they would signal the end of the immigration ‘dream’. In this context, it is perhaps easier to understand a more robust reaction to academic failure than would ensue from Australian students. In early 2006, the focus of protest turned to the Melbourne campus, the catalyst being the fail rate in the subject Taxation Law within the Master of Accounting program.The students in question proved adept at generating sympathetic publicity. Print media quoted the student allegations in detail, with the tag ‘cash cow’ (The Age, 22 March 2006) quickly gaining currency. The most startling claim was that CQU deliberately failed students in order to extract more revenue for repeat enrolments.This assertion, which, if true, would have had to involve a coalition of unlikely conspirators across various campuses, was supported by no evidence, yet was reported uncritically by journalists. CQU attracted even less sympathy from the local ABC radio talkback host, Jon Faine. He gave the newly appointed Executive Dean of CQU’s Business and Information Technology Faculty a torrid time, while conducting a soft and uncritical interview with two of the protesting students, in which every claim was accepted as valid. (ABC 2006) Faine’s conduct highlights a dilemma for academic managers. While disgruntled students can access electronic media and say whatever they want, privacy and decency considerations preclude institutions from rebutting false claims. By way of illustration, a student may attract sympathy for claiming they attended all classes, submitted assignments, bought the text book and had only one unit left to complete their degree. One or more of these claims may be false, but the institution is powerless to correct the record. Hence, one of the more unfortunate conclusions from this experience was a realisation that it is not possible to rely on the professionalism of so-called professionals. In the light of student protest, subsequent internal inquiry suggested that there was sufficient uncertainty in terms of advice to students to warrant sympathetic treatment for the students in question. This took the form of a liberalised approach to the provision of remarks, supplementary examinations, and a free repeat of the course for those needing it. At the height of the controversy, the State Minister for Education, Lynne Kosky, made an unusual intervention when she suggested that non-Victorian providers like CQU should ‘focus on their own backyard’ (The Age, 24 March 2006). In a State claiming to be part of vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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the global economy, this seemed an oddly parochial response. Victorian universities themselves by now had interstate and international campus locations, and other state governments did not seem alarmed by an influx of interstate and international providers. Indeed, the South Australian government provided generous financial assistance to overseas universities to set up in Adelaide. Moreover, Ms Kosky’s government had expressed no reluctance in accepting the dollars which CQU’s CBD presence brought to the local economy (Sidiropolous 2007). The Minister also initiated a compliance audit of CQU, conducted by Professor W G (Kit) Carson, Chair of the Minister’s Higher Education Advisory Committee. On his site visit, Carson explored the qualifications of academic staff and exam markers, library resources, student support facilities and student accommodation capacity. The key section of his report read as follows: Based on the discussion with CQU-MIC [Melbourne International Campus] key executives and on the information provided at the site visit, Prof Carson was satisfied that, with reference to the allegations recently reported in the media, the University was not in breach of the ESOS Act and the National Code (Carson, 2006, p. 4). If CQU thought that the clean bill of health provided by the audit would serve to strengthen its position in future conflicts, it was to be mistaken, as developments in March 2007 would demonstrate. What becomes clear, in retrospect, is that the events of March 2006 had provided a template for subsequent student protest. In March 2007, disgruntled students again took to the streets and media with a raft of allegations against the Melbourne campus, involving the Master of Accounting unit Issues in Management Accounting. Of 400 candidates, 178 failed to reach the pass mark, with 122 of those graded as eligible for a supplementary examination (Carson, 2007, p. 3).This failed to assuage the feelings of the aggrieved students, who asserted their entitlement to a conceded or terminating pass, a ‘right’ which was a matter of contention due to confusing communication from the University as to whether such was available for postgraduate students. Accounting was a demanding discipline, especially for second language English students some of whom, motivated by immigration considerations, lacked an intrinsic interest in the subject matter (see Jackling, 2007).While fail rates between 30 and 40 per cent were not unknown Dilemmas of dissent, Paul Rodan

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Seeking to highlight the review’s rejection of the in some units, the rate in this instance was uncharacmost substantive allegations, Melbourne staff distribteristically high. (For comment on fail rates in Accountuted edited highlights of the report dealing with those ing in another university, see Burch, 2008, p. 15.) points. However, this was apparently viewed as decepThe students also claimed that they had been examtive and provocative by the Minister who made public ined on untaught material, teaching was inadequate criticisms of CQU (The Age, 31 March 2007) and then and that study materials were out of date. On this ordered a full audit of the campus. At this point, it occasion, the students extended their protest activishould be stressed that the Minister continued to make ties beyond those of the previous year, with demonherself unavailable to meet senior CQU staff, a treatstrations outside the CBD office of the Department of ment which it is unlikely would have been accorded Immigration and Citizenship (conveniently located a to the leadership of local block from the campus), on Victorian universities. the steps of the Victorian Seeking to highlight the review’s rejection The full audit was led by Parliament and ultimately of the most substantive allegations, Professor Kwong Lee Dow, outside the office of the Melbourne staff distributed edited distinguished education Victorian Higher Education highlights of the report dealing with those academic and former Vicedivision in Treasury Place. points. However, this was apparently Chancellor of the UniverThe Treasury Place activity sity of Melbourne. Other was something of a masterviewed as deceptive and provocative by the panel members were expestroke, as it attracted the minister... rienced higher education attention of the new Minisreviewers Roger Peacock ter for the higher education and the Reverend Dr Harold Pidwell. The group comportfolio, Jacinta Allan. menced activity in early June and conducted extensive As in 2006, Kit Carson was commissioned to undervisits and interviews at the Rockhampton, Melbourne take another investigation of the Melbourne campus. and Sydney campuses, finally reporting in early August. On this occasion, Michael Scorgie, a Monash University The report was made public later that month. (Lee academic manager, assisted with the inquiry. Given the Dow, 2007) wider range of complaints, a more far-reaching exercise The report was a sophisticated and finely nuanced ensued, this being reflected in a thirteen page report, document, the broader commission allowing a much compared with four pages in 2006.Allegations of unfair deeper analysis than that which the narrower Carson examination questions were not sustained and marking inquiries had been able to develop.While issues of web was seen as adequate. However, as mentioned above, site accuracy and library holdings attracted the now rouCQU had left itself vulnerable due to a confusing web tine (and disproportional) critical attention of The Age site entry on the pass conceded/pass terminating ques(24 August) and the ABC’s Jon Faine, the report included tion and this was, not unfairly, criticised. While Carson considerable commendation for the Melbourne campus’ recommended that CQU consider conceded and termisupport of students and growing scholarly culture. nating passes for affected students, the University held However, Lee Dow also astutely identified the critiits ground on this, citing academic quality and relative cal teaching/learning issue arising from the complex fairness to previous cohorts of students.The more pruRockhampton/international campus relationship. dent political course may have been to give way, but This concerned ‘pedagogical issues between the acaby taking what it saw as a stand for standards, CQU left demic leadership of CQU and staff at the CQU Australitself open to what now followed. ian International Campuses that leave the potential for Carson’s most significant observation, which a recurrence of student dissatisfaction and further quesreflected some of the communication and coordinationing of CQU-MIC bona fides.’The report continued: tion difficulties over a fifteen hundred kilometre distance, was the following: ... these vulnerabilities seem to be rooted in the I recommend that CQU review its distribution of academic and organisational responsibilities between Rockhampton and the Melbourne campus, with a view to balancing centralised control against local autonomy. (Carson, 2007, p. 13)

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process of curriculum development and assessment that do not adequately take into account the characteristics and expectations of student cohorts that CQU actively attracts to its international campuses. (Lee Dow, 2007, p. 8) vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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Melbourne campus’ experience with media treatFor a considerable time, the vast majority of CQU’s ment of the protests was both disillusioning and eduAccounting enrolments had been international stucational. As both the ‘new chum on the block’ and an dents, mostly located at Sydney and Melbourne. In the interstate provider, it was possibly naïve to expect second term of 2007, 96 per cent of CQU’s Master of comparable treatment to that afforded the locals. For Accounting students were enrolled at the international most media players, their first knowledge of CQU’s campuses. Certainly, the University faces a challenge presence in Melbourne was possibly when the ‘trouin incorporating the international teaching experience bles’ emerged - not an auspicious introduction, and into the development of syllabi, the course materials likely to have created a preconceived bias against the and assessment regime, and the sequencing of delivery. campus as further issues emerged. However, at the time of writing, subject ‘teams’, comGiven longstanding accusations of ‘soft-marking’ prising Rockhampton and international campus acain the international student industry, it was possibly demic staff, were undertaking a review of units with surprising that CQU’s defence of academic standards just that mandate in mind. secured virtually no traction, perhaps reflecting the Mention was made above of a culture of protest university’s minnow-like profile and location in what amongst some student groups, and the ease with is accepted as the national pecking order.An exception which such protest could be organised, and publito this was a Department of Education, Science and cised, in tight CBD premises. In passing, one might Training official, Fiona Buffinton. Testifying at a Senate observe that the location also proved convenient for committee hearing which touched on the CQU case, RMIT and La Trobe University student agitators who, she observed that ‘the fact that a number of them fail according to Melbourne campus staff, added their if they have not met the fuel to the fire. It is sugrequired standard is actugested that, in agreeing to Given longstanding accusations of ‘softally upholding the qualgrant students a free repeat marking’ in the international student ity of courses in Australia’ course after the 2006 inciindustry, it was possibly surprising that (Senate 2007, p. 95). dents, CQU unwittingly creCQU’s defence of academic standards Back in Melbourne, stuated a template for further secured virtually no traction, perhaps dent accusations were trouble. Protest leaders taken at face value, no reflecting the university’s minnow-like could reach the conclusion matter how implausible, that CQU would capituprofile and location in what is accepted as such as the accusation that late thereafter if sufficient the national pecking order. students were deliberately pressure was applied. The failed in order to extract accusation that students more revenue.Typically, detailed CQU rebuttals, as prowere examined on untested material became the vided for print media, were glibly presented along the starting point, with the grievances becoming a virlines of ‘CQU denied all claims’. Moreover, ostensibly tual shopping list in 2007. Regrettably, as noted by desperate actions such as threats of hunger strikes Lee Dow, the state government’s own office failed were reported as if the mere threat demonstrated the in not advising students to process many of these validity of the students’ claims. Cultural factors relclaims through CQU’s internal grievance procedures evant to such gestures and the permanent residency(Lee Dow, 2007, p. 9). desperation nexus received virtually no attention, to Where an educational institution promotes a posithe considerable discredit of the media concerned. tive and high quality customer service culture, there It cannot be proved, but a suspicion exists that ideois the constant danger that ‘customers’ will see everylogical hostility to universities’ involvement in the interthing, including academic standards, as negotiable. All national student industry may have been a factor at too often, students with borderline fail marks seek a play. If so, this might explain the predilection of certain pass, not on any academic grounds, but on the same media figures to side instinctively with the aggrieved basis as one might haggle over a price in an eastern students. Within Victorian Labor Government circles, bazaar. Dealing with an (arguable) cultural orientation it is equally arguable that this perception might have to regard ‘no’ as merely the start of negotiations, instibeen relevant. In an age when the ‘left’ seems to have tutions will pay a price if they fail to emphasise that abandoned much of its previous dogma, antipathy to negotiation stops at the classroom door. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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private education provision remains an article of faith for some, leaving CQU’s then commercial partner (C Management Services) vulnerable. In that context, CQU’s recent buyout of the private partner within CMS (making it a 100 per cent CQU-owned company) might augur well for a less troublesome relationship with government. In conclusion, perhaps the most significant consequence of this saga has been the legitimisation of direct representation to government as an acceptable form of international student protest about essentially academic matters. This is not to predict an outbreak of comparable action at other, more established, providers, although one should note the alleged role of external, peak body student association agitation in the events described above. The events also serve as a reminder of the possibly underestimated role of state governments in regulating higher education. Under a Commonwealth/State agreement, institutions are required to secure state government endorsement to offer academic programs to international students and for those operating in more than one state, this can be onerous as application and documentation requirements are not identical. Given that state governments make little or no financial contributions to universities, it is understandable that institutions might approach this relationship through gritted teeth. It is also likely that such institutions may emerge as enthusiastic supporters of a single (Commonwealth) centralised approach to such matters, consistent with the apparent philosophy of the Rudd Government.

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Professor Paul Rodan is Director, Intercultural Education Research Institute, CQUniversity, and a member of the AUR Editorial Board. Based on a paper originally presented at the Australian International Education Conference, Melbourne, 9–12 October 2007

References ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), Jon Faine, 774 ABC Melbourne, 14 March 2006, Transcript (REHAME). Australian Government, Department of Education, Science and Training 2007, National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007. Australian Senate, 2007, Senate Standing Committee on Workplace Relations and Education, Estimates 31 May 2007, <http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/ senate/commttee/S10265.pdf> (accessed 7 September 2007) Birrell, R and Healy, E 2008, ‘How are Skilled Migrants Doing?’, People and Place, vol. 16, no. 1, Supplement, pp. 1–19. Burch, T 2008, ‘Teaching and Learning Accounting with Overseas Students’, People and Place, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 12–20. Carson, W G 2006, Central Queensland University Site Visit 21 March 2006, Report. Carson, W G 2007, Investigation of Student Complaints Against Central Queensland University. Jackling, B 2007, ‘The Lure of Permanent Residency and the Aspirations and Expectations of International Students Studying Accounting in Australia’, People and Place, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 31–41. Lee Dow, Kwong 2007, Ministerial Review of Central Queensland University – Melbourne International Campus. Sidiropoulos, L 2007, ‘The Economic Benefits of CQU Melbourne Campus to Victorian GDP’, unpublished paper.

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Plagiarism: Academic dishonesty or ‘blind spot’ of multicultural education? Helen Song-Turner University of Ballarat

One of the issues facing universities operating in a range of market situations and contexts is that of plagiarism. Different universities have taken different approaches in dealing with this issue. In an Australian university context, this issue is of particular concern, given the large numbers of overseas students studying in Australia, and offshore in Australian administered programmes such as in China and India. It is also an issue in a climate where students increasingly see themselves as consumers with increased rights, power, status and legal standing (Onsman, 2008). Students from a number of countries were interviewed for this paper, to identify their own views about plagiarism. The study found that there were several reasons why students tended to plagiarise and these included challenges of language, skill and respect for ‘the foreign expert’. What emerges from this paper is a complex and at times confusing web of perceptions and attitudes towards plagiarism. These pose a significant set of challenges for foreign universities developing and delivering programmes in a range of markets, particularly in locations such as Australia, where the importance and value of attracting, supporting – and, indeed, understanding - foreign students, has tended to underpin many university marketing efforts.

Introduction Concerns about plagiarism are on the increase within many areas of the global university system, especially in the context of the increasing number of international students that now form a key aspect of so many university programmes. Figures obtained from an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald (Alexander, 2006) reveal something of the extent of the growing problem in Australia. For example, the University of Technology, Sydney recorded 362 counts of plagiarism in 2005, while the University of Wollongong recorded 134. It is estimated almost 3500 students have been caught plagiarising or cheating across eight Australvol. 50, no. 2, 2008

ian universities since 2001. Another article entitled ‘Plagiarism rises amid founding cuts’, in the Sydney Morning Herald (Susskind, 2006), indicated that the problem of plagiarism was exacerbated by the overseas student influx. Plagiarism may not, of course, be limited to international students: an Australian study suggests that more than 8 per cent of students have been found to pilfer large amounts of text from the web (Buckell, 2002), but according to the accusers, it does appear to be more evident among international students. Recently several initiatives have been introduced by universities in Australia and elsewhere to strengthen academic integrity, including compiling more strin-

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gent academic writing guidelines, instituting plagiarism detection software, undertaking additional staff teaching programmes and so on. However, it could be argued that the reason behind student plagiarism, particularly those from countries such as India or China, still remains somewhat misunderstood, and even quite opaque. However, some academics have raised concerns and questions over the Western notion and definition of what constitutes plagiarism. For example, Pennycook (1996) writes that the notion of ‘ownership of text’ is a particularly Western concept. He points out that plagiarism cannot be viewed as a black and white issue, but that it is a far more complex phenomenon related to the relationship between text, memory and learning. Scollon (1995, p23) also states that ‘the concept of plagiarism is fully embedded within a social, political, and cultural matrix that cannot be meaningfully separated from its interpretation.’ To date there has been a limited amount of research identifying what university students actually think about the concept of plagiarism. What does it actually mean to them? How important is it in their lives? In an international student context, does plagiarism even have the same meaning and context as in a location such as Australia where this study was primarily undertaken? For example, if a student comes from a country like China, where there may be, in some more traditional educational situations and contexts, a higher degree of emphasis on replication, what does plagiarism actually mean? The aim of this paper is to identify a range of international students’ perceptions, views and attitudes regarding the concept and applicability of the term plagiarism in a Western university educational context and environment. A range of students from a variety of backgrounds who were studying in postgraduate degree programmes in Australian universities were interviewed for the study.

Literature review In the Oxford Dictionary of English, plagiarism is defined as ‘the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own’ (2005, p1334). Most often plagiarism is viewed as an issue of academic dishonesty. However, exactly what constitutes plagiarism has been defined and interpreted differently in different cultures. Bell (1999) notes that plagiarism is not considered to be a problem in many cultures. In some cultures it is acceptable, even flattering to copy the work of the ‘master’. In some cases, it

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is considered humble and even honourable, and rather better than boldly advocating one’s own view about an issue better researched and expressed by an expert in the field. By the start of 2007, there were 209,237 international students enrolled in Australia higher education, with the largest influx from China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia (AEI, 2007). The increasing multicultural student population in higher education, especially from Asian countries, has spurred some authors to focus increasingly on issues of international students’ learning styles within a Western learning environment. Several authors (Biggs, 1999; Pennycook, 1996; Ryan, 2000; Barron & Zeegers, 2005, 2006) have highlighted the importance of recognising the needs of students from different cultures. Ryan (2000) states that Western educational institutions need to adapt to the differing needs of international students instead of trying to make them fit into an existing and often distinctly Westernised academic structure. Institutions themselves must change their teaching and assessment practices to accommodate different ways of learning. Other authors, noted above, have also focussed on the challenge of making Western institutions more adept at dealing with issues of cross cultural and international educational delivery while, at the same time, maintaining their core focus (and perceived value) of being a Western educational provider. Part of this growing attention on the issue of international education delivered within a Western university context has been devoted to some of the less savoury aspects of the issue – such as plagiarism. Bloch (2001) notes that when considering plagiarism and collusion among international students, it is vital to be aware that Western perceptions of authorship, intellectual property and what may be seen by institutions to constitute plagiarism, are not universally accepted. Researchers (Scollon, 1995; Pennycook 1996; Currie, 1998; Barron and Zeegers, 2005, 2006) who seek to understand the complexity of plagiarism in cross-cultural education all agree that students from countries where English is a second language, may not have a good knowledge of plagiarism. In addition, Howard (2002) suggested plagiarism is not always the result of a wilful desire to deceive. Pecorai (2003) confirms the fact that the majority of international students whether plagiarising or not, do not have ‘the intention to deceive’. Therefore, university managers and academics need to be careful about dealing with this issue, he notes. Literature related to international students studying in the

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Western environment reveals several reasons that may contribute to plagiarism. Those reasons include the culture and social adaptation pressures, lack of English ability, high expectations from their families, cheating to get ahead, different writing styles, lack of knowledge of Western academic referencing and citation policies, and a general belief it may be safer and more sensible to quote verbatim rather than use one’s own words and phrases in a language which is not well understood, particularly in terms of detailed academic writing styles. What these studies tend to lack is the view from the students themselves and this is the key aim of this paper.What is their view about this issue? How do they view the concept of plagiarism? Perhaps it is time to return to the students themselves to gain a deeper understanding as to why this issue not only continues to be a problem but seems to be, in some cases and situations, growing.

Research method The data presented in this paper used the results of a survey that was conducted among 68 students in two postgraduate units from four classes within eight months. Ninety-five per cent of the students in these classes are international students and about half of these students were from the IT school but enrolled in a ‘business’ elective unit. The survey was designed to check the knowledge and understanding of Western-defined plagiarism among these international students and the reasons for plagiarism. The surveys were conducted anonymously and were administered and distributed during the last lecture of the academic semester for the students to complete. The surveys were collected at the end of the class.A group discussion was conducted after the survey to seek a better understanding of students’ opinions and expressed concerns. The survey consisted of three sections.The first section was about students’ demographic characteristics and to check on students’ own definition of plagiarism. The second section described various situations to test students’ knowledge of plagiarism. The final section aimed to find out the reasons for plagiarism and the students’ perception regarding the spread of plagiarism among their peers.

Findings and analysis Demographic data included students’ nationality, age, sex and time at the University of Ballarat and universivol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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ties attended in Australia before studying at University of Ballarat. A total of 68 students were surveyed, as summarised in Table 1. Only two students had previously studied at other Australian universities. Their average age was 25.6 years. Table 1: Student Characteristics Characteristic

No.

Per Cent

Total no. students

68

100%

Female

12

18%

Male

56

82%

Nationality Indian

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54%

Asian

14

21%

European

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13%

South America

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3%

African

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1%

Arabian

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1%

Other

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6%

Length of Study in Australia 3~6 months

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28%

6~12 months

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25%

1~2 years

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35%

More than 2 years

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12%

Some of the open-ended question statements about how respondents defined plagiarism follow, and these are a good starting point for discussion.The quotes are verbatim. Australian students ‘Producing work not written by oneself, without referencing’ Australian student, 3.5 years ‘Using someone else’s exact work for a particular idea or description.’ Australian student, 4 years ‘Copying someone else’s idea or direct wording and claiming it as your own thoughts.’ Australian student, 3 years European students ‘Writing other person’s ideas as yours; without mentioning the authors’ name.’ French student, 8 months ‘It is the fact of writing a text of a part of a text, sentence of another people with out putting in quota-

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tion mark.’ French student, 8 months ‘Copying another person’s idea without stating referencing this person.’ German student, 8 months ‘Copy without referencing the person and source.’ Polish student, 6 months Indian students ‘Copy from another assignments. Cut and Paste material from another sources without references.’ Indian student, 6 months ‘Plagiarism is a cheating done to avoid new ideas from the students mind into the assignment.’ Indian student, 1.5 years

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‘It is not allowed, bad action.’ Chinese student, 3 years ‘Shouldn’t use plagiarism in any task; make sure mark the sources of the sentence or words.’ Chinese student, 3 years ‘Using others’ sources without citation and references. But that’s what we are forced to accept here. It makes some Asian students less creative.’ Chinese student, 2 years ‘Copy something or someone’s idea without reference.’ Taiwanese student, 9 months ‘Copy exactly same things from book, internet and friends’ Japanese student, 9 months

‘If I get some source from books, internet and from other source, I must mention their reference where I get it from.’ Indian student, 1 year

‘Copy works from others without changing and referencing. Exactly the same works (paragraph, sentences are the same.)’ Thai student, 6 months

‘If you copy any thing from anyone’s written thing, you must reference it, if you not it means you have done cheating that is called plagiarism.’ Indian student, 1.5 years

‘Take someone work without put or attach his/ her name as a reference.’ Indonesian student, 1.5 years

‘Direct copy from others. If you do not know how to do ask the teacher!’ Indian student who attended CQU before coming to Ballarat, 3 months ‘Copying chunks of material from different mediums like books, journals, websites, database etc. copying the ideas, expressions in our work, imitating the ideas in different expression, gathering someone’s work without reference’ Indian student, 1.5 years ‘Plagiarism someone’s work is like stealing the money from a person who put his full effort to earn that.’ Indian student, 8 months ‘Stealing and late using other student’s work or paraphrasing someone else’s words without acknowledging properly. e.g. not referencing or citing properly.’ Indian student, 1.5 years ‘It means copying the same reference of others students work, or from any copyright information, without giving a code of reference.’ Indian student, 2 years ‘To copy word by word (verbatim), without referencing, without giving proper credit to the person to whom the article or words belong.’ Indian student, 2 years Chinese and other Asian students ‘Plagiarism is copying other’s works such as articles and theories without reference.’ Chinese student, 2.5 years

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‘Copying other people work without referencing.’ Indonesian student, 1.5 years Students from other continents ‘Plagiarism is to present the knowledge of someone else as your job, your research, your own creation of knowledge.’ Colombian student, 9 months. ‘Plagiarism is copying the material written by someone without acknowledging.’ Dubain student, 3 months. ‘The use of other people’s findings or ideas in published work in one’s own work without acknowledging the source of such ideas or findings in the work.’ Malawian student, 4 months. These comments indicated a significant degree of agreement and confluence regarding how the students viewed the concept of plagiarism. There was a sense that plagiarism, per se, was somehow morally wrong. As one Indian student said, plagiarism was like stealing money from others and one Chinese student commented that it was not allowed – a ‘bad action’. In addition, from these answers it would appear, at least to some degree, that the longer students were immersed in the Australian educational environment, the closer their definition moved towards the Western view, which suggests that the emphasis on avoiding plagiarism in the Australian education system helped these students to develop a clearer and more astute understanding of plagiarism.

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The second section of the survey assessed students’ knowledge of plagiarism in rather more specific terms. Students were asked to examine 11 commonly made plagiarism and collusion cases from the author’s and colleagues’ experience, depicting straight plagiarism to collusion and inappropriate source use. Students indicated whether in their view, each case was ‘plagiarism’, was ‘not plagiarism’, or if they ‘cannot determine’. The results from the assessment of the student knowledge of plagiarism are summarised in Table 2. For the basic plagiarism question (Q1) ‘cutting and pasting material from various sources and including it in the written report without referencing where it came from’, 95.6 per cent of the students agreed that this was plagiarism ‘clear and simple’. Only 4.4 per cent believed it was not plagiarism or that it could not be determined. The next question raised the issue of referencing and copying substantive amounts of text, without using quotation marks. Only 79 per cent of the students identified this as plagiarism. The proportion of students who didn’t believe this to be overt plagiarism or who had difficulty in determining the status of the

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issue was quite high, at 21 per cent. The results for questions 3, 4 and 5 indicate that when it comes to various indirect acts of plagiarism, such as rewriting, paraphrasing, reordering, inversion, grafting and mixtures of various forms of plagiarism, students started to vary in their perceptions of plagiarism. While 72 per cent of the students could clearly identify that (Q3) ‘rewriting or paraphrasing the material from any source without saying where the original material came from’ was plagiarism, around 28 per cent who either ignored the necessity to attribute the material to the original source, or did not know how to do it. Results for Q4, ‘material is copied almost word by word by deleting or adding one or more words, or rewording the sentence, or changing the tense or numbers’, indicate 13 per cent of the respondents believed this was not plagiarism and more than 21 per cent did not know whether it was plagiarism or not. The results for Q5 show that 38 per cent of respondents believed ‘Copying two or more simple sentences from the original source into a complex or combined sentence’’ was not plagiarism, with another 19 per cent unable to determine the status of this situation. Discus-

Table 2 Responses to Survey Questions Survey Responses (Per Cent) Question Plagiarism

Not plagiarism

Cannot determine

1 Cutting and pasting material from various sources and included in the written report without referencing where it comes from.

96

1

3

2 Copying material with substantive length from the original source, without the use of quotation marks.

79

12

9

3 Rewriting or paraphrasing the material from any source without saying where the original material comes from.

72

19

9

4 Material is copied almost word by words by deleting or adding one or few words, or reordering the sentence, or change the tense or numbers.

66

13

21

5 Copying two or more simple sentences from the original source into a complex or combined sentence.

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38

19

6 Borrowing peer student’s assignment for reference and copying a large section of his/her work, though there maybe some differences elsewhere.

69

15

16

7 Borrowing a senior student’s assignment for reference and imitating the senior student’s structure and methods.

52

38

10

8 Discuss the assignment with other students and produce a similar report or exam answers.

16

58

26

9 Cutting and pasting material from various sources and included in the written report and at the reference section listing out the source of the information.

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56

10

10 Citing or referencing in the reference section any paper that you have not cited in your report.

24

35

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11 Citing or referencing a paper in the reference section that you have not read.

19

35

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sion from the focus group revealed that students who did not believe ‘copying two or more simple sentences from the original source into a complex or combined sentence’ was plagiarism, felt that this was simply part of the normal learning process and not really plagiarism at all. For them, quoting the expert was appropriate, fair and even honourable. These initial findings indicate that international students tended to lack the concept of ownership of words – or at least how to use these words in an acceptable manner. This was further evidenced from some of the students’ unedited comments: ‘The definition of plagiarism is quite different with my previous study. For example, we do not have to paraphrase a sentence as long as we put the name of the author as a reference.’ Indonesian student ‘In my opinion, except the scientist and the people who are doing surveys, everybody is copying from another. You cannot know everything. I think that when you put the reference, you can copy/past as you want. Intelligence is to be reasonable.’ French student ‘Nobody know the rule of the plagiarism, which level we call plagiarism’ Chinese student These comments reflect Bloch’s view that students from different cultural backgrounds may have a different interpretation of the ownership of words and plagiarism (Bloch 2001).To simply cut and paste a chapter was plagiarism: to cite sections from an expert as part of one’s own work was far less clear! The Chinese respondent, whose comment is cited above, also suggested that combining the sentences from different sources not only helped him to get the meaning across but also assisted him in using correct academic language. His opinion seemed to be widely accepted among these international students, especially students from Asian countries. They claimed if they could remember words or sentences or even a big chunk of text and then be able to apply it in a suitable context, it was a successful educational process (their words) and should not be construed as plagiarism. Their opinion mirrors Chan’s (1999) view to the effect that Chinese students are taught to memorise large amounts of text from an early age, in order to show respect and acknowledge an author; therefore, problems may arise in relation to plagiarism when studying in a Western environment. Questions 6, 7 and 8 assessed students’ perception about academic collusion.

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Around 70 per cent of the students identified (Q6) ‘Borrowing peer student’s assignment for reference and copying a large section of his/her work, though there maybe some differences elsewhere’ as plagiarism, with 30 per cent who either did not believe it was plagiarism or were somewhat unsure. While borrowing and copying a large section of a peer’s assignment was largely felt to be plagiarism, borrowing a senior student’s assignment for referencing and imitation was felt to be more acceptable – perhaps because of their perceived seniority and expertise (a point raised in some of the focus group meetings). In regard to Q8, ‘Discussing the assignment with other students and producing a similar report or exam answer’, more than 57 per cent of the respondents identified this behaviour as appropriate and acceptable. Only 16 per cent of the students believed it was plagiarism while 27 per cent had difficulty in coming to a decision.A number of Indian and Asian students in the focus group claimed they had always been encouraged, at home, to work with other students and to compare notes, and assignments.This was not perceived as copying or collusion, but, rather, a matter of demonstrating good sense and adding value to each other in an academically appropriate manner. They would have agreed with Biggs and Watkins (1996), who suggested that Asian students tend to collaborate more on assignments than Western students. This could be more of a cultural and behavioural issue rather than a pure academic collusion issue. Questions 9, 10 and 11 were used to assess the students’ knowledge and skills in regard to the issue of referencing. Once again, the results indicated a rather opaque picture of students’ referencing knowledge. As shown in Q9, ‘Cutting and pasting material from various sources and including in the written report and at the reference section listing out the source of the information’, 56 per cent of the students did not think this constituted plagiarism, while there were still 10 per cent who were unsure. In regard to Q10, ‘Citing or referencing in the reference section any paper that you have not cited in your paper’, 35 per cent believed this situation was not plagiarism while more than 41 per cent were not able to come to a clear conclusion. Similarly, in Q11 ‘Citing or referencing a paper in the reference section that you have not read’ close to 46 per cent of the students were unsure about this issue, while more than 35 per cent believed that it was not plagiarism.

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The third section of the survey asked about the reasons for plagiarism. Just under half of the respondents felt that they had plagiarised in the past and the reasons given were as follows:a. I did not know that what I’ve done is plagiarism – 42 per cent. b. I found it difficult to express in clear English – 31 per cent. c. Too many written assignments – 18 per cent. d. I run out of time – 14 per cent. e. I am lazy – 7 per cent. f. The assignment is too difficult – 7 per cent. g. I did it before and got away with it 3.5 per cent. h. I need to get a high mark to impress my peers and teachers – 3.5 per cent. i. I need to get a high mark to meet family expectations – 3.5 per cent. j. I don’t think the teaching staff care if I plagiarise or not – 0 per cent. k. I only need to pass the unit to get the degree for immigration purposes – 0 per cent. l. Additional reasons that were not listed in the survey questions – 24 per cent. These additional reasons included: • Pressure to meet the required word requirements for the assignment. • Used to discuss with seniors about the requirements and structure of the assignments to get a better idea. • Not familiar with Australian research style. • Authority respect, as captured in one of the comments: ‘When a professional analysis has already been made on the subject, how could my analysis be better? Consultants are paid and spend months on reports’ These statements identified a number of reasons – themes – why people tended to plagiarise. One aspect was a lack of awareness of Western academic writing and referencing style, and another was weak mastery of the English language which encouraged people to, in essence, take a short cut and copy and paste the words of others. In addition, different and often somewhat confusing assessment requirements, the length of assignments (i.e. 3000 words per assignments), the perceived complexity of some written assignments (which required a variety of written skills including high level critical analysis), and students interactive behaviour (that is, their tendency to work together and compare notes, drafts and finished assignments) all vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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came into to play to encourage students to plagiarise. The focus group students from India, China, Indonesia, Columbia, Dubai and France, all felt there were simply too many written assignments for each subject. As one Indian student explained, in India there were only 16 exams in his whole Bachelor degree and seldom did he have a written assignment. Time was another issue that emerged in focus groups: often students simply ran out of time. So they would take short cuts and copy. Time became a problem because they often had part time jobs to support themselves. Many underestimated the costs of living, working and studying in Australia. Not only that, in a wider sense and context, they found every issue in Australia took more time than in their home countries because of issues of language, culture and lack of familiarity - and personal networks such as family. In the last section of the survey there was a question asking the students about the percentage they estimate their peers had plagiarised. Table 3 shows there was a clear correlation between the estimated percentages of peer plagiarism among students who admitted to plagiarism, and amongst students who did not. The average estimated peer plagiarism of 24 out of 30 students, who admitted to plagiarism, is 47.5 per cent, while the students who claimed they never plagiarised only estimated 11.1 per cent of peer plagiarism. These results may indicate that the students who admitted to plagiarism might have held the perception that the other students were doing the same. Table 3: Plagiarism by Peers Plagiarised or Not?

No. of students

Average of estimated peer plagiarism %

Yes

24

47.5%

Yes

6

No idea

No

38

11.1%

Implications and recommendations On the basis of the data collected, it can be suggested that the two core reasons for plagiarism were first, a lack of awareness of Western academic writing including referencing styles and, second, poor mastery of the English language. There were other issues as well, noted in brief, above, but these two seemed to be at the very core of the problem. The lack of awareness of Western academic writing style meant that students would sometimes feel almost obliged to copy large slabs of written material

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terms of being able to convey the essence of the concept theory or idea. Also worrying, was the issue of being able to write in a formal academic writing style and this was a whole new set of problems.To many students it was a particularly archaic and unusual form of written expression. So often, one would end up resorting to the use of existing words, phrases and indeed paragraphs to ensure that the concept, the idea - and also, the style - were right and appropriate. Suddenly, the issue of plagiarism was not so much about right or wrong as much as about language, comprehension and cross-cultural complications. To students versed in a very formal, Second, the different ‘ I get so worried about rigid and traditional form of education, assessment formats (more the style, format, refer...innovation and flexibility often seemed encing and all of that … written assignments than to be just too stressful. Eventually some that sometimes I simply exams) and requirements do resort of copying of them would succumb to copying just further worsened the interdown some sections of to cope with what seemed to be a nevernational students’ plight. existing text because at Many assignments had ending series of changes... least I know that this is a variety of formats and correct and in the right style. I know this is requirements and this was wrong, but - then, and this is the problem – writoften confusing to students who were used to a more ing in a style which may fail is also not so good rigid and prescriptive range of formats for assignments either. But it is so hard for us to work out exactly in their home country. As mentioned earlier, the focus what is required - what the lecturer is asking for group students from India, China, Indonesia, Dubai, sometimes. They tend to assume everyone knows France etc. all felt that this was a key problem and issue. and this is not always the case when you come from a different country with its own language and Often they felt that they just copied slabs of material to cultural issues’ deal with the range and complex nature of assignments. Ironically, as Australian universities add a wider variety This comment and many others like it attest to a cerof assessment models, students felt under even more tain lack of confidence on the part of students. Lost pressure to somehow cope with what was often conin a sea of a new environment, language issues, cross sidered a bizarre range of assessment activities, modes, cultural misunderstandings, and other problems, someforms and assessment tools. What had once been two times copying from a written text seemed to be not so assignments and an examination was often now a much an issue of improper behaviour, as, rather, a safe complex web of tests, assignments, some online conand viable course of action in what often seemed to be tent, and a presentation and so on. To students versed a time of confusion and uncertainty. in a very formal, rigid and traditional form of educaThis lack of confidence also emanated from more tion, such innovation and flexibility often seemed to fundamental and basic language issues. These can be be just too stressful. Eventually some of them would divided into a range of dimensions. First was the issue succumb to copying just to cope with what seemed of simply reading, writing and expressing oneself in to be a never-ending series of changes from one unit a language which was not one’s own. That was hard to another. enough in any context, academic or whatever. Next Students also felt under considerable pressure in was the issue of being able to convey (in a written terms of time and associated tensions and issues. First sense) ideas, concepts and theories which were comthere was the tension of living (and working) in a new plex, ornate, often expressed in specific, distinctive country – many had to find accommodation, prepare and exacting language. In these situations it often did meals, conduct transactions and learn to look after seem safer and indeed more viable to copy sections themselves for the first time. Many also had to find from a book or internet site where (at least) one knew work to support themselves. All of this just took time that the language used was appropriate and correct in to ensure that they ‘got the format and style right’, as some said. At times, and particularly in the initial part of their degree programme (or when they were under time pressure), they were too nervous and insecure to try to write in such a formal style on their own and this seemed like a viable and useful compromise, particularly when under time pressure and stress. Although there was recognition that this approach was probably wrong there was also a feeling that it was sometimes a better course of action than simply writing in a style and manner which they knew would not necessarily be appropriate. As one student said:

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- everything seemed to be in almost slow motion as students negotiated the issues of living and working – let alone studying, in a cross-cultural environment. As one Indian student commented: ‘Most of our parents spent all their money for sending us out and paid the first semester’s tuition, the rest of our tuition we need to find a work to support ourselves. Otherwise, we would not be able to complete our degree.’ It was not uncommon for students to miss classes or come to class late because of work pressures. There were also time pressures within the university: students had to deal with life in an often complex university framework, cope with about four units or subjects per semester (sometimes more as there was always pressure to finish early to save money), deal with the competing demands of each unit, and fathom each piece of assessment. These various tensions and issues seemed to combine to create a very tense, busy and often stressed environment in which it sometimes seemed easier and even more appropriate to use sections of existing texts to make life easier when preparing what seemed to be a never ending stream of assignments. Sometimes one just had to get work done and submitted on time, so it was tempting to take short cuts. Of course, local students also had the tensions of moving away from home, coping with working, and so on but at least this was all within a safe, predictable, and relatively comfortable cultural and linguistic environment. As one student from China noted: ‘At home I lived with my parents and they did everything and now I have to do it all and it is very stressful. And not only that. I feel that I need to work at a job to cover some of the costs as it is very expensive studying in Australia - not just fees but also the costs of living and paying rent and all of that! Everything is hard, it takes time and we are always rushed and stressed… ‘ Living and coping – some barely – in such a ‘pressure cooker environment’ was not an excuse for plagiarism – but it was a reality, a face of life, and an indication that the world of ‘studying abroad’ was far from fun and glamour. It was rather more about stress, tension and competing demands. Another key and final theme which emerged from focus groups was the view students had of foreign authors and academics, including lecturers and professors. In essence students believed that the best way to treat a foreign author (and, indeed, teacher, if he or vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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she was respected – that is), was to quote their words, diagrams and phrases verbatim. It therefore was not intended as plagiarism per se, but of respect. In some Asian countries, to quote was to show face, respect and empathy. It was a sign of ‘respecting the expert’. It was not wrong at all – rather the contrary! After all, how could a student add his or her own views about a theory which had been written by a famous foreign expert… and how rude it would be to even try – as so many respondents indicated. As already mentioned by one student earlier: ‘When a professional analysis has already been made on the subject, how could my analysis be better? Consultants are paid and spend months on reports’. This was simply not to be done. It was to show a lack of respect. It was also to suggest in a way, that the theory or concept was not overly valuable – i.e. in the sense that one could simply write it in one’s own words and phrases. When students got poor marks or worse for simply rote like copying the words out of books, they were often quite shocked. After all, why travel all the way to the west to learn about - for example – marketing and then not bother to correctly use the words of the experts? These overall results suggest that, at the very least, the reasons for plagiarism are complex. In essence, two key aspects seem to form the very core of the issue - and this was also the view of respondents. One issue was the perceived lack of awareness about specific and defined Western academic requirements, skills and associated referencing issues, and the second issue was that of language: it was not just that the students were living and working in a new language environment, but that the language required in academic writing was also, in itself, a different and even more challenging world. If language and skills were the two core issues, it is worth considering these issues in more detail, and, in particular to ponder whether they were related and if so in what ways. For example, was there a direct and specific relationship between language and skill, in this context? Diagram 1 encapsulates a range of options which indicates that the nexus between the two concepts was not so clear or precise. This diagram, which emerged from focus groups, raises the possibility of four options for students. Group one consisted of ‘trapped’ students who had good English language skills but poor academic skills. In this situation, they were fine on issues of day-to-day

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Good English language

TRAPPED

POTENTIAL SUCCESS

Poor academic skills

Good academic skills

POTENTIALLY DOOMED (AT RISK)

VULNERABLE

Weak English language Diagram 1 speech and writing, but they still lacked key and core academic skills. They often felt particularly irritated and frustrated and so this sense of conflict – of being able to speak and write the language but still have to face problems in terms of actual skills, often drove them to copy and plagiarise as a way of relieving a sense of frustration. The second group had been termed potentially doomed and certainly at risk because the confluence of poor language and / or skills meant that they felt that they had nowhere to go – no chance of success, and almost ‘no way out’, and so they were - of the four groups – most likely to plagiarise. They were the ones who needed the most help – and in both dimensions and not just one. Those in the third group were potentially successful because they had a high level of language and skills (however issues of time and the prevailing perception of the foreigner as the expert could still lead them down a dangerous path of plagiarism), whereas the fourth group, termed vulnerable, were a complex group because it had the skills per se but language defeated them – some of the Asian students felt that this was their problem. They were also very frustrated and irritated because they could see and understand what was needed but they lacked the language to convey their ideas and thoughts so they, too, sometimes simply reverted to plagiarism out of sheer frustration and the other issues and factors raised in this paper such as

48

lack of time and adherence to the letter of the text book or journal paper. This discussion suggests that the link between skills and language was there but it was complex and the two issues were also quite separate. One needed both to be successful: but one still had surrounding issues of time, respect for the academic expert and associated issues to consider as well. These tended to create an environment, a background and an associated set of factors which had an impact on issues of language plus skills to help formulate student behaviour and views about the use or non use of plagiarism. This discussion does tend to tease out another issue: there seems to be an underlying sense of vagueness and uncertainty about the very nature and concept of plagiarism, at least in the focus groups and in some of the more detailed questions noted above in the initial part of this paper. On the one hand, respondents felt that plagiarism was bad, and on the other hand, there was a sense that it was wrong not to quote the foreign expert and that, if one lacked language/skills, one should not be too concerned about direct quotation. This sense of seeming contradiction needs further research because it takes one into a rather opaque area of behaviour. In essence, students had two sets of views and both, in their way, had some rationality. First, there was a view that if one wilfully, and deliberately and lazily just copied slabs of work for the

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sake of it, this was plagiarism and it was morally and Conclusions and recommendations ethically wrong. That is to say, if a student had a high level of skills, expertise, language, time and so on, they The findings of the survey indicated that students should not plagiarise. If they quote the foreign expert tended to plagiarise for a range of reasons, of which they should credit the source. This was a general view. language problems and skill deficiencies were the two The findings in the recent court case Hunzy-Hancock most obvious issues. Other factors were lack of time, (2007) supported the view that the requisite intention the stress and tension of living and working in a foris the central element in order to be found guilty of eign country, and a view that one should quote the academic misconduct. foreign expert verbatim to show respect and honour. However, if any or all or a combination of factors In addition, the very definition of plagiarism was actu(such as language, skills and so on) were negative ally not really very clear for the students and this was or if they combined to cause significant stress, then another issue. Plagiarism was often used as a means of the situation was far less clear: in this situation stucompleting a task – moving on – submitting work – dents had to make choices and decisions on the basis getting through rather than a deliberate and planned of what they could do, what they could achieve and act of deception and poor behaviour. how they could pass a unit. This was less an issue of What this means for universities in a climate where morality than attempting students increasingly see to make a choice which themselves as consumers ...students tended to plagiarise for a range would help to overcome with increased rights, power, of reasons, of which language problems the problem at that point status and legal standing and skill deficiencies were the two most of time. (Onsman, 2008) is the folobvious issues. Other factors were lack of A way of explaining lowing: time, the stress and tension of living and this view was to consider • They need to define the working in a foreign country, and a view another context and situnature of plagiarism in far that one should quote the foreign expert ation. If one drove a car more specific detail. too fast and broke the • They need to provide verbatim to show respect and honour. speed limit because of a better skills and language basic wilful intention, and training (not just one or the in a situation where there was no need to speed, this other or a vague mix of both) to provide a stronger was wrong. But if the person drove fast because they basis for students to perform better. were very late for a key meeting which could affect • They should understand the nature of the ‘foreigner their career or because they had no choice in the as expert’ issue and associated time stresses and matter this was less evil and might even be perceived strains as the possible basis of plagiarised activity. as being acceptable. They also need to judge less hard and fast and take It could even be necessary – and that was how more time to consider cases of plagiarism, particularly the students felt about plagiarism…. but it was just for newly arrived foreign students.This was a view of all a little more complicated because speeding was respondents, who felt that the systems used in Australa matter which could be defined and measured ian universities were too black and white for an issue easily, but plagiarism, to all of these respondents which to them seemed to be confusing and confused. also remained a somewhat ill-defined and opaque ‘Judge less and trust more’ might be a useful piece of matter. By nature a complex concept, it was clear advice for some universities which tend to assume that that not one of the respondents actually had a very every issue of plagiarism is wilful and criminal. clear idea of the full nature, and extent of plagiaOn the basis of this research, perhaps university rism. Was it copying? Maybe? Was it not referencing? managers need to do three things: educate their stuMaybe? They were never quite sure – so the concept, dents better regarding what they consider to be plaitself, was ill defined and this created an unstable giarism issues, problems, and challenges; understand and opaque basis for decision making. No wonder better the nature of many foreign students for whom students were so often shocked to hear that they copying is a form of respect for the printed text or the had plagiarised: they only had the vaguest notion of word of a lecturer; and develop more comprehensive what this really was. support and assistance networks for students who fall vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

Plagiarism: Academic dishonesty or ‘blind spot’ of multicultural education?, Helen Song-Turner

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foul of plagiarism issues and problems in an environment and context where they might feel that they have actually done ‘the right thing’ while their university managers feel that they have broken the law. This key dichotomy is one of the key issues underpinning much of the present study, which casts an uneasy light over the present nature, definition and conceptualisation of plagiarism as applied by many Australian universities to at least some of their foreign students. Helen Song-Turner is a Lecturer in Marketing & Business in the School of Business, University of Ballarat, Victoria.

References AEI 2007, Monthly Summary of International Student Enrolment DataAustralia-January 2007, retrieved on 22/12/2007, <http://aei.dest.gov.au/AEI/ MIP/Statistics/StudentEnrolmentAndVisaStatistics/2007/Monthly_Sum_Jan_pdf. pdf>

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Biggs, J 1999, Teaching for quality learning at Universities, SRHE and Open University Press. Bloch, J 2001, ‘Plagiarism and the ESL student: from printed to electronic texts’, in Belcher and Hirvela (eds) Linking Literacies, 2001, pp. 209~228. Buckell, J 2002, ‘Plagiarism tracked at 8 per cent’, The Australian, 11 September 2002. Currie, P 1998, ‘Staying out of trouble: Apparent plagiarism and academic survival’, Journal of Second Language Writing, 7(1) pp. 1–18. Humzy-Hancock, N 2007, QSC 034 (26 February 2007), retrieved on 2 July 2008, <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QSC/2007/34.html> Howard, R M 2002, ‘Do not police plagiarism: Just teach!’, Education Digest, 0013127X, January, vol.72, issue 5, Academic Search Premier, 23 January 2005. Onsman, A 2008, ‘Tempering universities’ marketing rhetoric: a strategic protection against litigation or an admission of failure?’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 30(1), pp. 77–85. Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, Second (revised) Edition, 2005, Oxford, UK. Pecorari, D 2003, ‘Good and original: Plagiarism and patchwriting in academic second-language writing’, Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (4) pp. 317~345.

Alexander, H 2006, ‘Copying, cheating rife at unis’. Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 2006.

Pennycook, A 1996, ‘Borrowing others’ words: Text, ownership, memory and plagiarism’, TESOL Quarterly, vol. 30(2), pp. 210–230.

Barron, D & Zeegers, M 2005, ‘Maintaining the deficit: Constructs of international students at Australian universities’, The Australian Educational Researcher, in press.

Ryan, J 2000, A guide to teaching international students, Oxford Centre for Staff Development, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford.

Barron, D & Zeegers, M 2006, ‘Subjects of Western education: Discursive practices in Western postgraduate studies and the construction of International student subjectivities’, The Australian Education Researcher, 3(2) August, pp. 77–96. Biggs, J & Watkins, D 1996, ‘The Chinese learner in retrospect’, in Watkins, D and Biggs, J (eds) The Chinese Learner: Cultural, psychological and contextual influences. Hong Kong: CERC and Melbourne: ACER.

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Scollon, R1995, ‘Plagiarism and ideology: Identity in intercultural discourse’, Language in Society, 24, pp. 1–28. Susskind, A 2006, ‘Plagiarism rises amid funding cuts’, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 November 2006.

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Methodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings Ross Williams University of Melbourne

University rankings are having a profound effect on both higher education systems and individual universities. In this paper we outline these effects, discuss the desirable characteristics of a good ranking methodology and document existing practice, with an emphasis on the two main international rankings (Shanghai Jiao Tong and THES-QS). We take a critical look at where Australian universities rank internationally.

Introduction Globalisation, assisted by deregulation, has created the demand for international rankings. The demand originates from a range of stakeholders: students, employers, supranational institutions, scholars, funding agencies, and governments. In addition, there is public interest in rankings for their own sake, whether it be the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most liveable city or an international ranking of the quality of financial newspapers. At the same time as this expansion in demand, developments in technology, most noticeably the World Wide Web, have facilitated the supply of information to meet demand. International rankings are influencing decision making within institutions and even affecting national systems of education. France and Germany suffer in international rankings because quality research performance is spread over many institutions; these are often specialised and a significant number are not universities. The rankings have provided much motivation for the current policy in these countries of linking or consolidating institutions to establish larger entities. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

Salmi and Saroyan (2007) note that in some countries authorities restrict scholarships for studies abroad to students admitted to highly ranked institutions. Donor agencies and foundations also look at international rankings to inform their decision making. Within universities, Hazelhorn (2007) reports that in her international survey of leaders and senior university administrators, fifty-six per cent indicated that their institution had a formal internal mechanism for reviewing their rank. Respondents also indicated that league tables played an important role in deciding on international collaborations. An obvious marketing benefit accrues to a university that is highly ranked in a study. But as with all forms of external appraisal there are a number of more indirect benefits. Rankings provide an incentive for better data collection within institutions, they can expose pockets of institutional weakness and confirm areas of strength, and they are useful for benchmarking against like institutions. Rankings encourage institutions to reexamine mission statements. For the university system as a whole, poor performance can be used to prod governments into action. Methodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings, Ross Williams

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The effect of league tables on student choice is more complex. The consensus seems to be that for rankings targeted at school leavers their direct influence is greatest for high achievers. It seems it is overall reputation which matters for undergraduate student choice and rankings are one factor feeding in to that perception. However, Marginson (2007b) notes that market research and anecdotal evidence from educational agents indicate that the international rankings published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University are feeding directly into student choice at all levels, even though the rankings are based solely on research performance. Increasingly the international rankings are being interpreted as measuring the international standing of an institution. In Australia, over the last two decades, the lifting of restrictions on the enrolment of fee-paying international students combined with a freezing of funding for government subsidised students has made universities heavily dependent for growth on income from international students. These students, being located far from the supplying source, need independent advice on which to base their choice of university. International rankings supply some of this need.

Ranking methodologies At its 2006 meeting the International Rankers Expert Group (IREG) drew up the so-called Berlin principles (Sadlak and Liu, 2007, pp 25-28), a set of good practice guidelines for rankers. The principles include: use outputs rather than inputs, be transparent, use verifiable data and recognise diversity of missions. What attributes should be used in rating or ranking a universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s performance? Candidates include research output and its influence, the quality of teaching and research training, and contribution to the formulation and implementation of national policy. Different groups of stakeholders will have different interests; this implies that ratings should be undertaken separately for the different attributes before they are combined into a single measure. The methods used to measure research performance in universities form a spectrum: from a survey of peers at one end to the use of quantitative measures of output only, such as publications and citations, at the other end. In the middle of the spectrum lies evaluation obtained by providing peers with representative publications and detailed quantitative information. In evaluating the quality of teaching the methodology spectrum ranges from surveys of students and

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Methodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings, Ross Williams

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employers to quantitative measures such as progression rates, job placements and starting salaries of graduates. There is, however, much less agreement about the appropriate quantitative performance measures for teaching and learning than there is for research. A university should be ranked highly if it is very good at what it does. This implies that in order to recognise institutional differences whole-of-institution rankings should either be conducted separately for different types of institutions or be obtained by aggregation of rankings at a sub-institutional level. The Carnegie Foundation in the US and Macleanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Canada categorise universities into types. In Australia, because all universities offer PhD programs and have similar mission statements, categorisation is more problematical. We are then left with the option of first ranking by sub-institutional unit, most commonly discipline, and then aggregating. Rankings by discipline are of value in themselves, especially to academics, postgraduate students and funding agencies. The downside of the aggregating up approach is that it requires much more detailed information, including measures of the importance of each discipline (or some other subinstitutional unit) in the university. However, not to allow for scope will bias overall rankings in favour of institutions which have disciplines where the number of publications produced per academic is large, such as in medicine. To illustrate, over the last ten years, 22 per cent of Australian publications in Thomson ISI were in clinical medicine. How much of the desire by universities to have a medical school is driven by the knowledge that this is a sure way of providing a large boost to research output with resultant dollar flows from research funding formula? In our work at the Melbourne Institute on ranking Australian universities (Williams, 2008) we found that allowing for scope improves the ranking of the more technologically oriented universities and ANU. Disaggregation can be at various levels: research groups, disciplines, departments and faculties. It is inevitable that international rankings will be at the discipline or institutional level, especially if the rankings are based on publicly available information. Only at this level can the independent ranker sitting at a laptop obtain data on a consistent basis. In general, departments and faculties do not translate well across national frontiers: organisational structures differ too much and departmental affiliations of authors are not always known. While there are international rankings of MBA programs, these require vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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most information to be collected from institutions, which raises issues of consistency. While national research funding agencies may rate research groups, this requires too much detailed information for international comparisons. The federal government Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative proposes to use discipline as the sub-institutional unit for measuring research. It will have the added benefit of encouraging universities to look at their internal departmental structures.

Categories of data There are three categories of data: survey data, data supplied by universities, and data from third party sources such as government agencies and private sector citation data banks. The weakness of collecting data direct from universities without external moderation is that definitions may vary across institutions (for example, how part-time students are counted or whether honorary staff are included in staff numbers) and the data are subject to game playing. Data deficiencies exist in many areas and conceptual differences exist, especially in the evaluation of teaching. This is not a reason for refusing to take rankings seriously, rather it should act as a spur to develop better measures and collect additional data. To be useful, survey data must meet statistical standards with respect to choice of population, questionnaire design and response rate. When using surveys for evaluating standing, the validity of the results depends critically on the knowledge possessed by the respondent. Respondents with little direct knowledge of an institution will be reflecting reputation as much as current performance. Those most informed about research performance are scholars in the same discipline. At the Melbourne Institute (Williams and Van Dyke, 2008), we compared such responses with quantitative measures of research performance for seven discipline groups in Australian universities; the rankings were broadly similar by the two methods.

Quantitative measures of research performance The obvious point to make is that the nature of research output varies greatly across disciplines. Most rankings give particular importance to publications in refereed journals, which can impart a discipline bias to rankings. Table 1 contains estimates of vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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the percentage of weighted output of the Australian self-designated ‘Group of Eight’ (Go8) research-intensive universities in selected disciplines in 2003–04. The percentages range from 95 per cent for medicine and chemistry to 25 per cent in computer science and electrical engineering (where conference papers dominate). The degree to which these differences matter in a straight count of articles published depends on the extent to which, for a given discipline, the ratio of articles to other publications differs across institutions. In any event, for a national ranking it is feasible to obtain discipline-based data on each form of output. The greatest difficulties lie in areas that are not represented in Table 1, particularly the creative and performing arts. New measures need to be developed here, preferably by those in the disciplines. Table 1: Estimates of percentage share of weighted output in the form of journal articles, Go8 universities, 2003-2004. Discipline

% output articles

Chemistry

95

Medicine

95

Mathematics/Statistics

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Accounting

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Physics

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Behavioural Science

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Finance

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Earth Science

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Chemical Engineering

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Law

70

Economics

65

Philosophy

60

Education

50

Civil Engineering

40

English

40

History

40

Political Science

35

Computer Science/Electrical Engineering

25

Citation counts play an important role in most ranking schemes, either directly through citation counts or indirectly by using them to define high quality journals. Again, this methodology is most useful in the sciences where impact is more immediately clear and publication lags are short. Publication delays are a major probMethodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings, Ross Williams

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lem in other areas: in accounting and economics, for example, citations in the top journals are not common under three or four years from the time of submission of the original article, although these lags are diminishing with greater access through the web to working papers and forthcoming articles.

Measures of learning and teaching Few measures of performance in learning and teaching are available on a comparable basis internationally. The ratio of academic staff to students has been a traditional measure of resources devoted to teaching but is becoming less useful with technological change; the ratio also depends on the discipline mix within an institution and in Australia the presence of offshore campuses presents difficulties in measurement. Technological change also limits the value of other input measures such as library holdings. Resources devoted to teaching and research training is probably the best input measure but is one that requires some standardization of budgets to make it operational. Output measures such as progression of undergraduate students to higher degrees and placement of PhD graduates have merit as indicators of international academic standing. The former measure is an important one for US liberal arts colleges that act as feeder schools for graduate programs in research-intensive institutions. Employment rates and remuneration on graduation are output measures used in some rankings, but these data can be seriously affected by regional factors. Surveys of current and past students and of employers are useful provided they satisfy statistical standards in design and responses. Write-in evaluations of teachers by students, such as is available in the US at www. RateMyProfessors.com, provide some information to prospective students in a course but are not suitable for cross-institutional comparisons. International comparisons of the quality of graduates are best done by international agencies such as the OECD or World Bank. The OECD is well placed to undertake this work because of its experience in measuring student performance at the school level through the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). One fundamental difficulty will always remain: the quality of graduates will be reflected in their development over several decades, but this reveals little about the current quality of teaching.

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Presentation of results Some critics object to the calculation of whole-ofinstitution rankings on the grounds that they do not adequately reflect different institutional characteristics. A few evaluators, most notably the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in Germany, do not give overall rankings. The validity of the criticism depends on the methodology used; aggregating up performance at the discipline level goes a long way to meeting this objection. In practice, there is a large market for a simple rating or ranking of an institution that can be obtained without additional calculation by the user. It is important however that rankers give details of the ratings/rankings on different attributes and be quite explicit about the weights so that users can use alternative forms of aggregation. Unless evaluation is entirely by survey, an overall ranking requires the use of weights. In order to provide some objectivity in choosing weights we surveyed CEOs of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading research universities and all Australian and New Zealand universities (Williams and Van Dyke, 2007). The average response gave a weight of nearly one-half to research and research training. The exact weights were: 40 per cent on quality of staff as measured by research performance, 16 per cent on quality of graduate programs, 14 per cent on quality of undergraduate programs, 11 per cent on each of quality of undergraduate intake and resource levels, and 8 per cent on peer opinion. Rankings exaggerate small differences in performance scores and for this reason some prefer to band results as is done in the allocation of the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund in Australia. The downside of banding is that it exaggerates differences between the lowest ranked institution in one grade and the top institution in the grade below. Rating performance on a scale of say 1 to 5 is another banding technique.

The rankers National rankings were originally supplied by newspapers and journals, particularly US News and World Report in the US, The Times ranking in the UK, Macleanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Canada and CHE/Stern/Die Zeit in Germany. Ranking of national institutions and international comparisons have in the past few years spread to many countries including those with relatively weak higher education sectors. Surveys and evaluations of the main rankings are provided by Marginson, 2007a,Taylor and vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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Braddock, 2007,Van Dyke, 2005, and Usher and Savino, 2007. Salmi and Saroyan, 2007, list 34 countries for which national rankings are available; European and Asian countries predominate. Independent research groups and government agencies have undertaken much of the recent expansion in country rankings. The nature of the rankings reflects the interests of the suppliers. Commercial newspapers and magazines concentrate on measuring the quality of teaching and learning at the undergraduate level because of the large market for this information. Governments on the other hand tend to be most interested in university research performance as they see this feeding into national economic performance. International rankings permit a calibration of national standings against the world’s best universities. Shanghai Jiao Tong

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ent, and data are verifiable. There have been limited changes in the attributes and weights used: compared with the original 2003 index, the Field medal has been added, the weight on performance per head has been reduced from 20 per cent to 10 per cent with the weight transferred to a new category of number of alumni who have been awarded the Nobel Prize or Field medal. In addition, publications in the social sciences are now given a double weight to reflect the lower publication rates in these disciplines. But research in the humanities is still effectively excluded. The SJTU discipline rankings are in six areas: natural sciences and mathematics; engineering/technologies and computer science; engineering and IT; biomedicine, life and agricultural sciences; clinical medicine and pharmacy; and social sciences. The attributes included are similar to those used in the whole-ofinstitution rankings except that there is no measure of size-adjusted performance and an additional quality measure of publications is included (publication in top 20 per cent of journals as measured by citations per paper).

The first world ranking of universities by Professor Lui at the Institute for Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) in 2003 was designed to benchmark Chinese universities. The emphasis was on research performance in science and technology because it is an area in which China wishes to be strong; Times Higher Education Supplement – QS this emphasis also reflects the characteristics of the The other main internaavailable databases. The bias tional ranking is published towards English language The SJTU rankings essentially measure by The Times Higher Edupublications in the database research standing in the sciences and cation Supplement in was not a concern – these social sciences as measured by journal associated with QS career publications have greatest articles. The journal coverage in these and education consultants influence. The SJTU annual areas is adequate, especially following (THES-QS). In this index rankings, supplemented by the inclusion of more Australian journals 50 per cent of the weight discipline rankings since is given to surveys of aca2007, remain the most in the last two years. However, the SJTU demics (40 per cent) and quoted and respected interrankings ignore most Australian output in employers (10 per cent). national rankings.They have law and the humanities. Internationalisation is weaknesses, but as with the measured by the proporQWERTY keyboard it is tion of students and staff that are foreign (each with a hard to replace first movers even if the developers had weight in the index of 5 per cent). Staff-student ratios a specific purpose in mind. are used as a proxy for teaching quality (20 per cent) The criteria used all relate to research: Nobel prizes and research citations per head are given a weight of in sciences and economics and Field medal winners 20 per cent. The THES-QS disciplines rankings, based (20 per cent weight if on staff of institution when on peer review, are in five areas: Arts & Humanities, awarded, 10 per cent if alumni), high citation researchEngineering & IT, Life Sciences and Biomedicine, Natuers (20 per cent); articles in Thomson ISI journals in ral Sciences and Social Sciences. science and social science (20 per cent), articles in SciThe THES-QS methodology is less transparent than ence and Nature (20 per cent), research performance SJTU although it is improving. By surveying academics per head of academic staff (10 per cent). and employers, the THES-QS World University RankThe SJTU index performs well against the Berlin ings cover more than research. Nevertheless, the surprinciples. The index measures outputs, it is transparvol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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tions scoring quite poorly. The effect when standardised is to reduce the range within the top institutions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in 2007, twenty-one institutions scored 100 whereas in 2006 there were only four universities that scored above 90. In effect the peer ranking, that has a weight of 40 per cent, is much less important for discriminating between the top institutions in the 2007 rankings than in early years.

veys suffer from a number of limitations: the response rates are low at around 1 per cent (Sowter, 2007) and the respondents not representative. For example, in 2007 peer respondents from New Zealand were the fourth highest in number and together with Australia made up 7.5 per cent of the total compared with 16.5 per cent from the USA (www.topuniversities.com). Respondents are asked to list the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top universities and our research (Williams and Van Dyke, 2007, 2008) shows a home country bias. In the quantitative data there is no control for the quality of international students or staff; there is also scope for game playing by institutions when providing data on numbers of international staff. The THES-QS rankings show great fluctuations from year to year. This is not unexpected when 50 per cent of the weight is for survey results based on very low response rates. There is just too much noise in these data. In addition, in 2007 two important changes were introduced. First, the source of the citations data was changed from Thomson ISI to Scopus, the data bank developed by Elsevier Publishing. It is unclear how this changes the rankings, but it probably works to the advantage of European universities. Second, and more significantly, instead of measuring performance relative to the best institution, it is now measured by looking at standard deviations about the mean value (z-transforms are used on all variables). The disadvantage of this measure is that individual scores depend on the number and nature of the universities included. For the peer surveys the responses will be bunched, with top institutions receiving high scores but with many lesser institu-

Where do Australian institutions rank? In the 2007 SJTU rankings, no Australian university is in the top 50 and only two,ANU and Melbourne, are in the top 100. A similar result occurs in the new rankings produced by the Higher Education Evaluation & Accreditation Council of Taiwan (www.heeact.edu. tw), except that Sydney replaces ANU in the 51 to 100 group. (The Taiwan methodology is similar to that of SJTU but Nobel Prize winners are excluded.) If we look only at publications (other than Nature and Science) in the SJTU rankings, two Australian universities are in the top 50 and 4 in the top 100. The SJTU rankings essentially measure research standing in the sciences and social sciences as measured by journal articles. The journal coverage in these areas is adequate, especially following the inclusion of more Australian journals in the last two years. However, the SJTU rankings ignore most Australian output in law and the humanities. The Melbourne Institute ranking of Australian universities (Williams and Van Dyke, 2007) uses not only research performance but also measures of teaching and research training. These rankings also try to

Table 2: SJTU country rankings 2007-08, number of institutions in top 100 Country

Science

Engineering

Life Sciences

Medicine

Social Science

Overall

USA

59

49

62

61

77

54

UK

9

7

11

12

11

11

Germany

7

1

6

6

0

6

Japan

7

7

3

2

0

6

Canada

2

6

5

6

7

4

France

5

2

1

1

0

4

Sweden

2

3

2

2

0

4

Switzerland

3

2

4

2

0

3

Netherlands

1

3

2

5

4

2

Australia

1

3

4

3

1

2

Source: http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/ranking.htm

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capture more general measures of standing through attributes such as membership of learned academies. The Melbourne Institute rankings are very similar to those produced by SJTU. The congruence of the two rankings is due to two main factors: (i) different quantitative measures of research performance are highly correlated and (ii) the variability in research performance across institutions is much greater than the variability in available measures of teaching performance so that research performance tends to dominate. The SJTU discipline results released in February 2008 show three entries for Australian universities in the top 50: ANU in Science, and ANU and UWA in Life and Agricultural Sciences. In twelve cases, covering six universities, Australian disciplines are ranked in the top 100 in the world. Selected SJTU country rankings are given in Table 2. The Melbourne Institute rankings (Williams and Van Dyke, 2006) are broadly similar in areas that can be compared and place three Australian universities in the top 100 in the humanities. The positions of Australian universities in the THESQS rankings are biased upwards owing to the sample bias in the surveys and the inclusion of international student and staff numbers without quality control. To illustrate, on the transformed peer survey results, Harvard scores 100.0, ANU 99.8 and Melbourne 99.6. Five Australian universities are listed in the top 50 in the world, but none appear in the top 100 on the only quantitative research criterion used, namely, citations per academic staff member.

How should Australian universities respond to rankings? Rankings are here to stay and will continue to gain in importance. Australian universities need to respond in two sets of ways: work to improve outcomes in the existing rankings and encourage new types of rankings. Existing rankings are biased towards publications and citations in journals. It is therefore important that Australian journals that are comparable to those included for other countries are represented in the databases; this is a responsibility of academic editors in conjunction with publishing houses. A bias towards foreign journals will have the effect of biasing Australian research away from domestic issues. Where other forms of publication are important, such as books in the humanities and refereed conference papers in engineering, the disciplines need to come up with robust measures that can be suggested vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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to rankers. Electronic downloads of published and working papers are being included in some rankings, but the methodology needs improvement. The downside of the current international rankings is that they tend to enshrine the existing homogeneity of mission statements amongst Australian universities. Realistically, only a handful of Australian universities can aspire to be in the top 100 as ranked by SJTU although a larger number can aspire to be in the top 100 in selected disciplines. Discipline rankings should be supported as they encourage vertical specialization within institutions. Australian universities should support the development of rankings that first classify universities into groups by characteristics, especially by income. For most countries other than Australia classification by horizontal specialization, such as liberal arts colleges, research-intensive comprehensive universities etc, is very useful. When these rankings become international, it will be interesting to see the effect on the mission statements of those Australian universities that are unlikely to reach the Shanghai top 500. There is a need in Australia for an ongoing ratings research group, at arms length from the universities and government, perhaps as a component of some form of tertiary education council. Such a group could develop methodologies that governments and universities could call upon when they wished to introduce financial incentives or gauge performance, whether in monitoring and fostering research, good teaching, evaluation of disciplines, and so on. The group could also influence the methodologies used in international rankings.

What is a world class university? A related strand of research to ranking is: What is a World Class University (WCU) and how do you get one? To quote from the Tertiary Education Coordinator at the World Bank, Jamil Salmi (2007): In the past decade, the term world-class university has become a catch phrase for not simply improving the quality of learning and research in tertiary education but more importantly for developing the capacity to compete in the global tertiary education marketplace through the acquisition and creation of advanced knowledge. In defining the attributes of a WCU, Salmi collapses the range of performance measures into a set of three factors: Methodology, meaning and usefulness of rankings, Ross Williams

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.. the superior results of these [world class] institutions (highly sought graduates, leading edge research, technology transfer) can essentially be attributed to three complementary sets of factors that can be found at play among most top universities, namely (i) a high concentration of talent (faculty and students), (ii) abundant resources to offer a rich learning environment and conduct advanced research, and (iii) favourable governance features that encourage strategic vision, innovation and flexibility, and enable institutions to make decisions and manage resources without being encumbered by bureaucracy. How well would Australian universities fare on these criteria? On criterion (i) some Australian universities do well overall, and there are stand out discipline performers that are in the top 50 in the world. But the scores on criteria (ii) and (iii) would not be high. For example, two North American public universities ranked by SJTU in 2007 in the top 25 in the world, Wisconsin and Toronto, had income in 2006 that was much above that of the Australian university with the highest revenue (Melbourne) —Wisconsin by 90 per cent,Toronto by 60 per cent. Salmi also notes that the very best universities are modest in size (often less than 20,000 students) and have a large percentage of students at the graduate level with very selective entry. Many Australian PhD programmes lack the critical mass that promotes peer discussion and contributes so much to the strength of US programmes. These attributes are usually missing from ranking measures. Australia should be striving for a world class system of higher education. This would include some worldclass universities in research, other universities with pockets of world-class disciplines, and some institutions opting to specialise in the provision of worldclass undergraduate programs. With the additional resources now being directed towards higher education in Asia and Europe it is hard to see Australian universities maintaining their relative positions internationally without an improvement in funding – from government, students and private benefactors. Does this matter? Might it be more economic, at least in some disciplines, for research students to train overseas and to buy in overseas research findings? The returns to research suggest not, and it would lead to a reduced ability to solve peculiarly Aus-

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tralian problems. Crucially, a slide in the international research rankings would reduce international connectedness and the quick access to new research findings that this brings. Professor Ross Williams is Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne. His research publications are in areas as diverse as demand and saving, time-use studies, the cost of civil litigation, housing, federal-state finance, and the economics of education. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and Principal Fellow of Queen’s College.

References Hazelkorn, E 2007, ‘The Impact of League tables and Ranking Systems on Higher Education Decision Making’, Higher Education Management and Policy, 19(2), pp. 81–105. Marginson, S 2007a, ‘Global universities rankings: implications in general and for Australia’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 29(2), pp. 131–142. Marginson, S 2007b, ‘Global university rankings’, chapter 3 in S Marginson (ed.), Prospects of higher education: globalization, market competition, public goods and the future of the university, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, pp 79-100. Sadlak, J & Liu, N C (eds) 2007, The world-class university and ranking: aiming beyond status. UNESCO- CEPES, Bucharest. Salmi, J 2007, ‘The challenge of establishing world-class universities’. Paper presented at 2nd international conference on world-class universities (WCU-2), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 31 October –3 November 2007. Forthcoming in Higher Education in Europe, 33(2–3). Salmi J & Saroyan, A 2007, ‘League tables as policy instruments: uses and misuses’, Higher Education Management and Policy, 19(2), pp. 24–62. Sowter, B 2007, ‘THES-QS world university rankings’. Symposium on international trends in university rankings and classifications. Griffith University, Brisbane, 12 February 2007 <www.griffith.edu.au/conference/university-rankings/> Taylor, P & Braddock, R 2007, ‘‘International university ranking systems and the idea of university excellence’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 29(3), pp. 245–260. Usher, A & Savino, M 2007, ‘A global survey of university ranking and league tables’, Higher Education in Europe, 32(1), pp. 5–15. Van Dyke, N 2005, ‘Twenty years of university report cards’, Higher Education in Europe, 30(2), pp. 103–125. Williams, R 2008, ‘Ranking Australian universities: controlling for scope’, Higher Education in Europe, 33(2–3). Williams, R & Van Dyke, N 2006, Rating major disciplines in Australian universities: perceptions and reality. Melbourne Institute Research Report, November. Williams R & Van Dyke, N 2007, ‘Measuring the international standing of universities with an application to Australian universities’, Higher Education, 53(6), pp. 819–841. Williams, R & Van Dyke, N 2008, ‘Rating major disciplines in Australian universities: perceptions and reality’, Higher Education, 56(1), pp. 1–28.

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The evisceration of equal employment opportunity in higher education Margaret Thornton Australian National University

With particular regard to gender, this paper considers the rise and fall of EEO in Australian universities over the last 30 years. The paper argues that EEO, a product of social liberalism, had barely been introduced before it became a casualty of the Dawkins reforms and the transformation of the university. Corporatisation resulted in top-down managerialism and the production of academics as neoliberal subjects. Within this context, identity politics either moved to the periphery or disappeared altogether, so far as staff were concerned. The discourse of equality was quickly displaced by new discourses, such as that of diversity, which better suited the market metanarrative. The market has also induced a shift away from staff to students, inviting the question as to whether EEO is now passé.

Equal employment opportunity (EEO) in Australia, if not exactly in its death throes, is in a parlous state after a very short time. I propose to present an overview of the life of EEO in higher education, which could be a valedictory address. As a product of social liberalism, EEO has been corroded by the contemporary preoccupation with the market and profit-making. Instead of the common good, the focus is now on promotion of the self within the market. Like other areas of public life, higher education is captive to the contemporary imperative to commodify and privatise. The corporatisation of universities has made them more like businesses. This has resulted in changed forms of governance, including top-down managerialism, perennial auditing and the production of higher education workers as neoliberal subjects. Within the contemporary context, the identity politics of gender and race have either moved to the periphery or disappeared altogether, unless they can be shown to have use value in the market. My title includes the phrase EEO (equal employvol. 50, no. 2, 2008

ment opportunity) rather than EO (equal opportunity). Although the terms are often used interchangeably, the omission of the word ‘employment’ signifies the notable shift that has occurred from staff to students as a result of the commodification of higher education. I would not want to suggest that concern for students is a bad thing, except that the change has been induced by economic rather than academic considerations. However, it is not just the erasure of the word ‘employment’ that is of concern, for even the phrase ‘equal opportunity’ sans employment tends to be treated as passé, having been largely displaced by the softer term of diversity. I consider the rise and fall of EEO in the academy over the last three decades within a dynamic socio-cultural context. In addressing the trajectory of change, I identify three phases, although I do not wish to be rigid about the lines of demarcation between them: 1. EEO in a chilly climate. 2. The Dawkins reforms. 3. The jettisoning of equality discourses.

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1. EEO in a chilly climate: 1970s–1980s The Whitlam Government’s embrace of a social liberal agenda in the early 1970s created an environment in which the modernisation of the old patriarchal order was believed to be feasible. The struggle for equal opportunity in higher education emanated almost exclusively from the women’s movement, as did the struggle for the enactment of anti-discrimination and equal opportunity measures within Australia generally. While the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) was an initiative of the Whitlam Government, its companion legislation, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (SDA), was delayed as it was more contentious. Like other public institutions, universities had long been the preserve of ‘Benchmark Men’, who tend to be white, Anglo-Celtic, heterosexual, able-bodied and middle class.They represent the standard against which Others are measured and invariably found wanting. Prior to the 1980s, women rarely figured as academic subjects. While the normativity of masculinity persists (Currie, Thiele & Harris 2002; Deem 2003; Blackmore & Sachs 2007), the overtly gendered character of the academy a mere twenty five years ago is striking. For example, at the Australian National University in 1983, 99 per cent of senior academics were male, whereas 100 per cent of the support staff was female (Sawer 1984, pp. 58-61). Women who were brave enough to embark upon an academic career at an Australian university had difficulty in securing a foot in the door (e.g. Cowlishaw 2007, p. 15), let alone aspiring to tenure or promotion. Stereotypes abounded in determining career trajectories, such as the tendency to assign women disproportionate amounts of teaching involving known knowledge, while earmarking research and knowledge creation as masculine endeavours (e.g. Cass et al. 1983, pp. 73–77). Women were expected to accept permanent assignation to the proletarian base of both the academic and administrative pyramids by virtue of their sex. For example, the women who dominated the general staff positions were frequently either treated as invisible or infantilised as ‘the girls in the office’ (e.g.Wilson and Byrne 1987, p. 32). It is therefore unsurprising that resentment began to crystallise in agitation for change. The significant catalyst for university activism was the passage of sex discrimination legislation at the State level, which was first enacted in South Australia in 1975, followed by New South Wales and Victoria in 1977. The presump-

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tion of formal equality between all persons within liberal legalism nevertheless places a heavy onus on an individual who alleges discrimination on the part of a powerful corporation with deep pockets. Securing a remedy is contingent on vulnerable individuals identifying the harm themselves, as well as assuming the psychological and financial burden of lodging a complaint and establishing that they were treated less favourably than the benchmark on the basis of their sex, race or other characteristic of identity. Apart from possessing the ability to recognise and conceptualise discrimination at the threshold, complainants have to prove the existence of a linear causal thread linking them with the respondent and the discriminatory conduct. This may be impossible in the case of a systemic harm. The animus against the Other may be lodged deep within the social fabric so that the specific harm affecting a complainant cannot be causally connected to an identifiable wrongdoer. Complaining to an outside body about discriminatory treatment within an organisation may also carry the kiss of death with it because such an action is perceived to besmirch the organisation’s ‘brand name’. In any case, an individualised system can only ever produce a Pyrrhic victory, as well as being a painfully slow way of effecting social change. Recognition of the limitations of the individual complaint-based mechanism of anti-discrimination legislation engendered the view that proactive measures had to be put in place in universities to address what was, by then, acknowledged to be an institutional source of embarrassment. In addition to monographs such as: Why So Few? (Cass et al. 1983), the majority of universities between the mid-1970s and late 1980s began to respond to the liberal agenda and commissioned studies of the profiles of their institutions (Sawer 1984, pp. 6-16; Poiner & Burke 1988). In the first instance, the focus was on securing a more equitable gender profile, particularly in senior positions. A study commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor at Macquarie in 1983 is illustrative (Eyland, Elder & Noesjirwan 1983). The report provided a detailed statistical profile of the gender breakdown across the university, including the composition of committees.Views of staff were elicited by means of questionnaires and fleshed out with interviews and case studies.The report found that the university was run by a ‘centralised oligarchy’ that largely excluded women (p. 48). It recommended that University Council appoint a person to promote and establish an equitable environment within the university. In specific recognition of the nexus between

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were anxious to be seen as progressive EO employers, the student and the academic experience, it was who had sloughed off their pre-modern and patriarrecommended that the officer be termed an Equal chal practices and were prepared to welcome women Opportunity Officer, rather than an Equal Employment staff. Hence, statements such as ‘X University is an Opportunity Officer (p. 164). However, the latter term Equal Opportunity Employer’ began to appear on letappears to have been used in practice, as the primary terheads, as well as in job advertisements, prospectuses focus was directed towards staff experience. and other marketing material. Paralleling these institutional initiatives were halting When EO units were first set up in the mid-1980s, moves at the legislative level.The Anti-Discrimination a committed feminist tended to be appointed as the Act 1977 (NSW) (ADA) was the first legislation to initial officer. This person was accorded senior status single out universities for proactive initiatives. New and frequently reported directly to the VC. Support South Wales had introduced EEO provisions into the from the top was crucial for the acceptance of the public service by virtue of Part IXA of the ADA in 1980. EO officer within the university community. She was These provisions specified the preparation of plans permitted to sit in on selection and promotion comdesigned to address discrimination in the workplace mittees as an independent observer and make policy on the grounds of race, sex and marital status within recommendations in accordance with a broad remit State government departments and instrumentalities. from university council New South Wales universiand/or the VC (Wills 1985, ties were scheduled under Complaining to an outside body about 1986, 1988). the ADA in 1983, which discriminatory treatment within an Despite the high hopes similarly required plans and organisation may also carry the kiss of for EO, the privileged annual reports. death with it because such an action is status of the officer was As the initial reports perceived to besmirch the organisation’s short-lived. Like the blindfrom universities were not ‘brand name’. fold figure of justice, she due until 1985, the Comproved to be no more monwealth quickly caught than a symbol that lacked up with and displaced the the ability to effect substantive justice. As soon as she New South Wales legislation with the enactment of the acted independently in accordance with her remit clumsily entitled Affirmative Action (Equal Opportuand began to question existing practices, she fell from nity for Women) in the Workplace Act 1986 (AA Act), grace. It could be averred that the seeds of destrucwhich had been deemed too contentious to include tion inhered within the very office itself. That is, once in the SDA (Magarey 2004). The Act covered private it was apparent that substantive gains (from a very low sector corporations with more than 100 employees, as base) were being made, anti-feminist discourses began well as universities. Unlike the New South Wales legisto circulate and undermine them (Tyler 2007 p. 186). If lation, the AA Act was restricted to sex although, theodiscrimination and sexual harassment complaints were retically, it did not exclude the intersection of sex with handled by the EO Officer, this may have constituted race, sexuality, disability and/or age, despite the fact an additional cause of aggravation, particularly when that the epistemology of multiple identities has always complaints involved senior managers. Marginalisation been legally and politically problematic. led to the loss of the right to observe selection and In any case, the ostensibly proactive legislative mechpromotion committees, as well as to critique univeranisms were instrumentally weak. They conferred no sity policies. As the backlash began to materialise, the rights on individuals or groups and authorised what initial wave of high profile EO Officers, like their counamounted to little more than self-regulation. Neverterparts, the femocrats in the public service, became theless, the theory of AA was that it was designed to disillusioned and departed. Some were compelled to ease the burden on the heroic complainant and transleave. Senior managers did not want to be told that fer responsibility to organisations whose prophylactic there was anything wrong with their time-honoured actions would obviate the need for the lodgement of practices of homosocial reproduction, particularly individual complaints.While this lofty aim may not have when external threats were looming large on the horibeen realised, the discourse of AA undoubtedly conzon. They were happy to endorse the rhetoric of EEO, tributed to the cultural change that occurred within if not the substance. universities. For a fleeting high political moment, they vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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2. The Dawkins Reforms, 1988 (i) The disappearance of EO units The anti-feminist backlash coincided with the tsunami that was to submerge many of the EO initiatives before they had barely been formulated.The Dawkins reforms ended the binary system and irrevocably transformed higher education in Australia. Overnight, colleges of advanced education (CAEs) became universities, bringing with them new cultures and mores. The Dawkins reforms ushered in mass higher education, perennial under funding and a shift from free education to a user-pays system. Thus, instead of being primarily a public good, commodification transformed education to a private benefit. Compliance with the new marketised regime was hastened by means of competition policy, which became the basis of allocating funds by successive federal governments intent on de-funding public education. The CAEs had little tradition of collegiality as they were bureaucratic institutions with a top-down mode of governance. This style of management was seized upon by government as an appropriate template for the sector generally, for it lent itself to the control of the large multi-campus institutions that emerged from amalgamations. Similarly, a new style of VC, akin to the CEO of a private corporation began to appear, one who espoused a harsher, depersonalised and stereotypically masculinist style. As one VC said, ‘The job of a VC is to kick heads’. Gone was the avuncular VC of the past who favoured consultation and an open-door policy. In the corporatised university, little communication occurred between the new-style VC and members of the university community, other than a few senior confidantes. Restructuring resulted in fewer faculties, often leading to a motley collection of disciplines that had to be managed by a new tier of middle-level line managers. As the degree of surveillance and control over staff increased, the space for individual autonomy contracted. The power of university councils also contracted as they adopted a more deferential stance towards VCs. Within this anti-democratic and economically rationalist environment, the concerns of women as a discrete interest group within the university receded. Indeed, the backlash against the campaign for gender equality and feminist scholarship was a noted international phenomenon after the initial flush of success (e.g. Clark et al 1996; Currie et al 2002, p. 157; Thornton 2004a; Lessard 2007). It is therefore hard to disagree

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with Jill Blackmore (1992, p. 75) that restructuring itself had become a form of backlash.The new managerialism was responsible for the final nail in the coffin of EO units as quasi-independent entities.They did not fit in, but were anomalies that needed to be rationalised, managed and ‘manned’. A case study conducted by Carolyn Noble and Joanne Mears (1995) in the early life of a new university is exemplary. The EEO coordinators felt that amalgamation had caused EEO to slip off the agenda and they were left with no reporting process. Senior managers felt that amalgamation exerted little effect on EEO, a perception the authors believed arose from its low status. However, the ignorance of women’s collective experience of discrimination displayed by men is a well known phenomenon. Feenan (2007, p. 517) refers to this as an epistemology of ignorance. This ignorance, or denial of the problem, is underscored by a tokenistic nod in the direction of EO so that the mere existence of an EO unit, even if inactive, is deemed to satisfy the compliance prescripts. Minimal compliance with form became the order of the day everywhere, a scenario in which procedural requirements are adhered to but there is otherwise virtually no institutional commitment (see also Fletcher 2007). If women are ‘unsuccessful’, it is because of their inefficient ‘life choices’, such as having children, a justification that is the essence of rational choice theory (Hakim 2004). The individualisation of each issue, as occurs with sex discrimination complaints, deflects attention away from the systemic nature of discrimination that is woven into the woof and weft of the fabric of society so as to sustain hegemonic masculinity (Connell 1987;Thornton 1989; Bagilhole 2002; Currie et al. 2002, p.171). Nevertheless, despite the hostile environment, the proportion of female academics had increased significantly by the mid-1990s (Castleman et al. 1995). This was due largely to the preponderance of women employed as teaching staff in the former CAEs, not because of the persuasiveness of the gender analyses contained in the university reports of the 1980s. While numerosity does not necessarily effect change (Chesterman 2005, p. 263), the focus on numbers of women encouraged detractors to aver that EO units were passé, although the undervaluation of women and feminist scholarship remained a cultural constant (Morley 2005). The fact that women were now a force to be reckoned with nevertheless made it more difficult to

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disband EO units, but if it were politically unwise to disband these rogue units, what was to be done with them? The typical post-Dawkins response was either to ‘mainstream’ or ‘downstream’ them, as had already occurred in the public and private sectors. Mainstreaming meant that they were commonly assigned to subordinate, dependent and deskilled status in human resources branches, where they lost their outsider edginess.While there may be a positive facet to gender mainstreaming, which sets out to normalise policies for gender equality throughout an organisation rather than quarantine them (Walby 2005), corporatisation suggests a less altruistic and more ambiguous agenda (Bacchi 2001). Mainstreaming also usually meant that the student function was severed and assigned to student services. Downstreaming devolved responsibility to faculties, schools and departments, which effectively meant that resources dried up, as no one was prepared to take responsibility for EO at all. The absence of training or monitoring enabled a resurgence of sex-based and race-based discrimination. Compliance with the AA Act involved annual reporting, for which purpose the EO office was sometimes retained, but significantly downgraded. It lost its complaint-handling role, if it had one in the first place, as well as having its name changed and resources cut. Any equity resources tended to be channelled into student services and global marketing. Domestication of EO signalled the fact that specific equity agendas for staff had become ‘too difficult, too expensive and too dangerous’ (Blackmore 2002, p. 10). (ii) The corporatised university The Dawkins reforms were one manifestation of the swing in favour of neoliberalism that had quickly become the dominant political and economic philosophy of the Western world. Instead of supporting civil society, distributive justice and the public good, as had been the case under social liberalism, governments now chose to effect a liaison with the market. However, as Wendy Brown (2005, p. 39) points out, the ‘neo’ in neoliberalism is not just about economic policies, but their socio-political effect because of the way such policies reach from ‘the soul of the citizen’ to affect all spheres of social action. The citizen has been transmuted into a rationally calculating individual concerned with the maximisation of profits and self-promotion, one whom Brown terms homo oeconomicus (2005, p. 40). This opportunity maximiser is at the centre of the audit culvol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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ture (Power 1997), which requires constant performance, including reinvention of the self if necessary, on pain of redundancy. Productivity is evaluated in terms of performativity, which Lyotard defines as ‘the process of optimization of the relationship between inputs and outputs’ (1984, p. 11). This performative universe, in which ‘inputs’ and being seen to perform are more significant than ‘outputs’, has contributed to a relentless individualism at the expense of the collective good. In such a fiercely competitive dog-eat-dog environment, inequality, not equality, I suggest, has become the dominant norm. EEO, equity and concern for the Other, as paradigmatic collective goods, were rendered passé, along with other facets of social liberalism and the welfare state. Within a performative culture, there is no space to accommodate EEO. It is likely to be swamped by the market and the accompanying rhetoric of ‘quality’, ‘excellence’ and ‘world class’. As one of the EO managers interviewed by Blackmore and Sachs stated:‘if a uni judges itself as a research institution, they are not going to care if they are good at affirmative action’ (2007, p. 234). Social liberalism allowed space for collective good but now it is competitive individualism mediated through the brand name of the university that is played out in the market. Neoliberalism has seen a distinct shift away from workers’ rights generally to the interests of employers to enable them to maximise profits. Flexibility and casualisation are deemed to be in the national interest to enable nation states to be competitive on the world stage.This has led simultaneously to work intensification and an erosion of working conditions. The evidence in respect of the increase in casualisation and precarious work suggests that women are compelled to bear a disproportionate burden of the cost of the political shift (Fudge & Owens 2006). The demands of efficiency and productivity in the workplace have silenced the discourse of equity, unless it can be shown to have use value in the market. As this is difficult, corporatisation has served to entrench and legitimate traditional hierarchies based on race, class and gender (cf Lessard 2007, p. 187). The evidence in respect of individual workplace contracts suggests conclusively that women generally do less well than men in an enterprise-based bargaining system (Peetz 2007). The rhetoric surrounding the ‘good of the economy’ largely succeeded in supplanting any concern about women or Others not faring well. Platitudes, such as ‘we live in a post-feminist age’,

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– totally at odds with one other.The former effectively were reiterated even by former Prime Minister, John transformed the academy overnight, while the latter Howard (Summers 2003, p. 21).The assumption is that was unable to withstand the onslaught. Productivity, women have attained equality by being ‘let in’ in sigperformativity and profits trump notions of collecnificant numbers (albeit mainly to the lower echelons) tive good in the corporatised university. The pressure and any further action would violate the norm of equal for universities to compete intensified as the market treatment.The logic of the market therefore legitimates shifted from the local to the global arena. By 2006, and naturalises the re-gendering of the academy. overseas students constituted 25.5 per cent of all AusWhile one of the aims of EEO was to change the tralian higher education students (DEST). Equity, along masculinist character of leadership positions, neoliberwith other social liberal and egalitarian values of the alism has increased the ambivalence for women about 1970s and 1980s, has been largely sloughed off and becoming managers (Morley 2005; Blackmore & Sachs consigned to mothballs – at least so far as staff are con2007).A harsh, depersonalised and top-down style, concerned (c.f. Deem & Morley 2006). ventionally thought of in masculinist terms, is favoured Aiding the demise of EEO was the implosion of within the corporatised university over one that is the category ‘woman’, which was attacked as oneconsultative and collegial, which many women leaddimensional and essentialist for embodying a white, ers would prefer (Deem 2003; Kloot 2004). The reality Anglo-Celtic, heterosexual, is that the new managerialable-bodied, middle class ism allows very little space Social liberalism allowed space for subject. The implosion of for any deviation from the collective good but now it is competitive the category woman in femnorm of benchmark masindividualism mediated through the brand inist theory had a marked culinity. A line manager, name of the university that is played out in effect on the academy, by definition, is subject to the market. which has included disthose further up the line, a banding women’s studies relationship that may legiticourses. The postmodern mate corrosive leadership attack on the category woman and the transformation (bullying) (Thornton 2004b). A managerial role in an of the university was a fortuitous coincidence for the institution that has moved to a multi-disciplinary faculty detractors of EEO in the academy. The effect has been structure offers little opportunity for academic leadernot just destabilising but lethal. ship. To signal the new mindset, managers, not professors, have become the core workers of the university (iii) Student/consumers (Cabal 1993; Blackmore 2002, p. 9), many of whom are The commitment to EEO has continued to appear paid significantly more than academic staff (Dobson spasmodically in policy documents on websites and in 2008, p. 44).The task of these new managers is to keep advertisements, but access and equity for students has unruly academics in check and promote performativtaken precedence (cf Deem & Morley 2006).The transity and productivity. The fact that a small but signifimutation of students into consumers as a result of the cant number of women have moved into management, Dawkins reforms irrevocably changed the discourse. albeit usually at the less senior level, led Belinda ProbAs students began to pay more for their education, ert to muse as to whether this reflected the declining their status as rights-bearing subjects with significant attractiveness of positions in university administration bargaining power required universities to devote (2005, p. 51). There is also some evidence that women more resources to their wellbeing. The response by leaders are more likely to find themselves in risky or universities was instrumental rather than altruistic, as precarious positions (Ryan & Haslam 2005). The culde-funding of higher education heightened the comtural changes that have accompanied Dawkins and the petition between institutions, causing them to vie with subsequent ratcheting up of modes of surveillance and one another for students. Students had to be actively auditing mechanisms, together with the need to be recruited and their differences accommodated. They entrepreneurial and promote the self, have combined could no longer be treated as homogeneous. to create a ‘chilly climate’ for women once more (Hall In the transition from staff to students in the EO & Sandler 1982, 1984; Sandler 1986; The Chilly Collecnarrative, there has been a discernible shift away from tive 1995; Payne & Shoemark 1995). gender to race and disability, focusing on access and We see the two movements – neoliberalism and EO

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phrase AA from the AA Act in 1999 is a notable examreasonable accommodation. In 2006, women conple. As already mentioned, the AA Act imposed ministituted approximately 55 per cent of the student mal reporting requirements regarding institutional population. Reaching the tipping point may have suginitiatives designed to improve the status of working gested that there were now too many women. It is women. Pressure to repeal the Act emanated from the notable that some institutions have sought to cut back Business Council of Australia, when it claimed that the on the intake of students into feminised areas within legislation constituted an ‘impost on business’, ostenthe humanities and social sciences, or even abolish sibly because of the annual reporting requirement. their humanities faculty altogether, as proposed by the More significant was the sub-text that equated AA with Queensland University of Technology. Class has made a preferential treatment of ‘the disadvantaged’ (Bacchi cautious reappearance once more through ‘students of 1996, p. 31). The pejorative imputation, slyly attacklow socio-economic background’. ing women, implied that AA offended liberal legalism’s The conceptualisation of higher education as an norm of strict equal treatment by making appointindustry (generating $12.5 billion in export revenue ments on the basis of biology rather than merit. in 2007), rather than a public good, has totally disAA acquired negative overtones in Australia as a result rupted the traditional idea of the university (Newman of the influence of North American anti-AA discourse, 1976). Nevertheless, the Newmanite notion of pursuwhich averred that it entailed the mandatory employing knowledge for its own sake has always been an ment of quotas of unmeritorious Afro-Americans and ideal. Until recently, universities were associated with women.As suggested, the AA Act was an extraordinarily nation building – producing, protecting and inculcatweak piece of legislation. While it required employers ing the idea of national culture (Readings 1996) – but to ‘set objectives’ and make ‘forward estimates’, these such values have now been replaced with a quite difwere intended as guides to facilitate the preparation of ferent set associated with the market and economic plans within organisations; they were not mandatory good in accordance with the neoliberal political phiquotas. When the AA Agency collected annual reports losophy.The commodification of higher education and from employers, there was no follow-up regarding the its acceptance by the community reveals most graphivalidity of claims made (Strachan & Burgess 2000).The cally how the market has entered the soul of society. only sanction was naming a non-compliant organisaWhile the sector has been ostensibly deregulated, tion in the annual report tabled in Parliament, a sancwith universities theoretically free to determine the tion about which some employers were scornful (p. number of students they admit, what they teach and 48). The violation was the failure to submit a report, what entrepreneurial activities they pursue, they are, not failure to effect a substantive improvement in paradoxically, subject to intense micro-management the status of women. Despite its toothless character, by government (Marginson & Considine 2000, p. 20 ff), employer groups persisted in agitating for its repeal. underscoring the way government and the market are This is despite the fact now thoroughly imbricated. that AA had been sold to Monetary incentives offered ...the AA Act was repealed and replaced employers on the basis on a competitive basis with the Equal Opportunity for Women that it was efficient and include equity and access in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth). The rational, and ‘good for busiinitiatives for students, but replacement legislation was roughly the ness’ (Game 1984). not EEO for staff. The domisame as its predecessor but weaker The business lobby nant political discourse of was not convinced, howde-regulation is selectively ever, and the AA Act was adduced but it is cleverly repealed and replaced with the Equal Opportunity obscured by the language of choice and diversity. for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth). The replacement legislation was roughly the same as its 3. The jettisoning of equality discourses predecessor but weaker (Thornton 2006). All refer(i) Affirmative Action (AA) ences to AA were excised, together with ‘objectives’ and ‘forward estimates’, lest they be construed as manAs EO units began to disappear from university camdating quotas.The requirement that there be consultapuses in the 1990s, discourses advocating equality tion with unions and women disappeared. The annual and equity also fell into disfavour. The excision of the vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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reporting requirements were weakened and could be waived in favour of triennial reporting (EOWA). Inclusion on the Employer of Choice for Women list ensures a report-free period.The criteria are not onerous and twenty three universities were on the list in 2008 (EOWA). In extolling voluntarism, the legislation is a paradigm of minimalist regulation. While retaining a formalistic commitment to EEO, it embodies the rhetoric of backlash. The erasure of AA from the EEO discourse sent a clear message to the community that a regime of strict equal treatment was now to prevail. Employers were not to be burdened with equity obligations in a neoliberal climate where the focus was on productivity, performativity and profits. (ii) From Equal Opportunity to diversity As inequality became the norm in a competitive, market-oriented world, equality and its various incarnations, including equality of opportunity, also began to be treated as passé (Summers 2003). Equality no longer comports with the values of the market, but is depicted as cumbrous and old-fashioned. Equality is an expression of longing for the way things might be, as well as a discomfiting reminder of the history of exclusion and perpetration of acts of inequality against women and Others.As with AA, efforts were similarly made to erase EO from the official lexicon. In 2003, for example, the Howard Government introduced the Australian Human Rights Commission Legislation Bill into the House of Representatives, which proposed to excise the phrase from the name of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, but the Bill lapsed. As it became fashionable for conservatives to dissociate themselves from historic wrongs, it is unsurprising that ‘diversity’, a term ostensibly lacking any obvious antonym or abrasive underside, was fervently embraced (Bacchi 2000; Thornton 2001; Blackmore 2006). Diversity is an all-encompassing term applied not just to staff, but to students, courses and universities themselves. It is described as the ‘new buzz word’ in higher education discourse (Eccleston 2008). Its emergence has effectively papered over the need to attain gender equity which, unsurprisingly, remains elusive (Winchester et al 2005, p. 1). While homosociality has always favoured those who are most like the decision makers in the construction of the ‘best person’, variations on this theme are constantly emerging, as merit is a malleable construct shaped by power (Thornton 1985, 1989).

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Maxine Lacey (2007) has shown how intransigent the phenomenon of homosociality is as the most recent incarnation requires university appointees to be the ‘right fit’.The rhetoric of the ‘right fit’ adroitly sidesteps liability under anti-discrimination law because it cannot be connected to a proscribed ground. Indeed, it has allowed hegemonic masculinity to be revived under the guise of corporate wellbeing and competition policy. Hence, the appointment of women or racialised Others is not precluded, provided that the appointee is the ‘right fit’, which means accepting the prevailing value system. A woman appointee, for example, must not identify with other women and raise discomfiting gender specific issues, such as sexual harassment or the dearth of senior women in management spaces (cf Blackmore & Sachs 2007, p. 162). Diversity, of course, is a term with positive and progressive connotations with which one cannot ostensibly take issue and is frequently invoked in conjunction with cognate terms, such as multiculturalism and pluralism (e.g. Jayasuriya 2007). Gender may be one of a list of characteristics that can be subsumed within the rubric of diversity, but is watered down by what Mary O’Brien (1984) refers to as ‘commatisation’, a device through which women disappear within a list of outsider groups: race comma gays comma gender comma class. An example from a contemporary website extolling diversity makes the point even more sharply as the history of oppression disappears altogether: Diversity issues related to race, gender, age, disabilities, religion, job title, physical appearance, sexual orientation, nationality, multiculturalism, competency, training, experience, and personal habits are explored in these links (About com). Commatisation allows job titles, competency, training and personal habits to be treated as though such variables possessed comparable significance to those of race, gender and homophobia in terms of the history of exclusion. Diversity displays a similar ability to trivialise oppression and slough off any notion of past wrongs or structural disadvantage, thereby exonerating contemporary employers. The discourse of diversity conveniently occludes the history of inequality and inequity that is at the heart of the imperative for change, as well as the adversarial binarism of victim and perpetrator, complainant and respondent. Diversity discourses also neutralise and depoliticise so that they are devoid of any notion of power (cf Bacchi 2000). The anodyne term ‘diversity’ papers over the abrasive and negative undertones of

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inequality. Diversity is a feel-good term that not only appeases the critics of EEO, but also plays a significant ideological role by obscuring the way the market perennially produces and reproduces inequality. The Commonwealth Public Service set the scene when it specifically adverted on its website in 2000 to a change from an ‘equal employment opportunity (EEO) culture to a workplace diversity culture’ (Bacchi 2000; Thornton 2001).This change in the discourse has been widely reflected within the public and private sectors, as well as within universities. Equity and diversity units have tended to replace EEO units, if stand-alone units have not been abolished altogether. ‘Diversity’ has also made an appearance in course names. For example, titles such as Sexuality, Gender and Diversity, have commonly replaced women’s studies, which may contribute to the silencing of both women and the feminine, a phenomenon that is now widespread within universities (Bailyn 2003, p. 149). The discourses of ‘diversity’, ‘managing diversity’ and even ‘productive diversity’ (Cope and Kalantzis 1997) represent a change that has overtaken EEO everywhere. It is also notable that diversity has no legal meaning, so that there is no obligation on employers to do anything but ‘let in’ a few women and Others as evidence of their liberality (Bacchi 2000, p.67). The legal concept of discrimination as a manifestation of less favourable treatment is irrelevant in the diversity context in which there is no right created, no standard of behaviour, no notion of a violation, no cause of action and no remedy. Indeed, the anti-EEO lobby has welcomed the shift away from what some see as the ‘punitive equal opportunity approach’ (Bacchi 2001, p. 130). ‘Managing diversity’ signals the shift in focus from employees to management, for it is ‘about enhancing the managers’ capability to tap the potential of employees’ (Matthews 1995, p. 152), as well as to reduce their power (Bacchi 2001, p. 127). ‘Managing diversity’ also insidiously deflects attention away from just who is doing the managing (Thornton 2001, p. 95; Blackmore & Sachs 2007, p. 229). To work in the interests of employees, managing diversity has to have the commitment of those at the top of the organisation (Matthews 1995, p. 155). Twenty years ago, there may have been such a commitment, but this is rarely the case today. Corporatisation and commodification have brought new imperatives with them, and diversity has become just another technology of power to be deployed in the interests of the organisation. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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Diversity is a discursive construct that can be invested with a positive meaning that recognises the skills, abilities and unique attributes of individuals. The temptation for a university in a competitive neoliberal environment is to cut corners, do nothing and rely on the rhetorical power of the concept unaided. It is therefore unsurprising that diversity is now supplanting EEO in job advertisements, prospectuses and web sites. Knowledge of EEO may still be included as a criterion for appointment, but tends to be treated perfunctorily by selection committees or ignored altogether. Instead of diversity and difference, it is homogeneity on the part of staff that is now sought by universities to teach the substantial numbers of students, particularly those who are high fee-paying international students (cf Bacchi 2001, p. 131). Docile and pliable, these staff will obey managerial edicts exhorting standardisation, particularly if they are casual or on contract, as is increasingly the case. A sprinkling of women and Others enhances the liberal ring of the diversity rhetoric while simultaneously operating within the McDonaldised mould and complying with performative and auditing templates. In the corporatised university, the primary focus has shifted to students, where equity and diversity are the buzz words. Extolling diversity within the student body is primarily designed to pave the consumer path into university for non-traditional students in accordance with the market ethos. They are all welcome – provided they are prepared to pay.

Conclusion I have identified several phases in the brief life of EEO in the modern university. The EEO movement had just begun in universities when it was overtaken by the Dawkins reforms. AA was never a popular term in Australia, and it was a dimension of the official discourse only for as long as the AA Act lasted, that is, between 1986 and 1999.The impact of changes in the discourse was accentuated by neoliberalism in the workplace, which led to a resiling from EEO and the embrace of diversity. The rapidity of change in nomenclature reflects the fickleness and uncertainty associated with the postmodern university, where everyone must constantly reinvent themselves to survive. In focusing on the structural changes that have occurred, I do not wish to suggest that women and Others have passively accepted them. Many have

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hold a seductive appeal for feminists, as well as managresisted, and feminist scholars are still engaged in ers, because it does not have the same overtones of projects that transcend the simplistic notion of ‘letdisadvantage denoted by in-equality. In this respect, the ting in’ a few women, which is the typical bureaucratic discourse of diversity has been very effective in galvaresponse to criticism. However, the neoliberal worknising opposition to EEO. place is highly intolerant of dissent, and autonomy and Just as the victors get to write the history of wars from collegiality, the twin variables of the traditional unitheir own perspective because they have the power versity, have been significantly curtailed. Similarly, acato do so, we see how governments and corporations, demic freedom has weakened because of government including universities, have been able to exercise their micromanagement and the various internal regimes power to delimit understandings of EEO, invent new of surveillance and control (Marginson & Considiscourses and deploy perfectly good concepts, such dine 2000, p. 20 ff). Codes of conduct, for example, as diversity, to their own are invoked to discipline ends. However, Foucault’s those who exercise the Neoliberalism has succeeded in depicting insight that power is not traditional academic role equality as a cumbrous and old-fashioned static but constantly circuof critic and conscience of relic of modernity. The everyday reality lates gives us hope, for it society if they turn their of work intensification, competition means that it is always poscritical gaze towards their and uncertainty ... has very effectively sible for a new site of conown institution. suppressed the voices of women and Others testation to emerge, with a The irrefutable logic new language that cannot of the market is such that within the academy so that the discourses be ignored. dissent cannot be permitof EEO have been rendered passé. The contemporary united to tarnish the corpoversity is beset with conrate brand name. With the tradictions. Its fickleness, fluidity and sensitivity to market as driver, the discourses of inequity, inequality contemporary moods within a global context suggest and discrimination have become muted, if not ineffathat it has become postmodern. At the same time, it ble. Blackmore & Sachs (2007, p. 125) draw attention remains a paradigmatic modernist institution in that it to the paralysing effect of the technologies of perforencapsulates reason and good order, as well as being mativity on public debate. Critique does not comport committed to the preservation and transmission of with a culture in which approval ratings themselves known knowledge. Furthermore, I suggest that it are measured. League tables, both national and global also contains a premodern element in the way that it are one such mechanism, or metric, to use the voguish adheres to the benchmark masculinity that remains at phrase.Virtually unheard of a decade ago, league tables its core. are now regularly invoked to sharpen competition and Although the market has turned the university exhort even greater levels of productivity. upside down, it continues to be a significant instituNeoliberalism has succeeded in depicting equality tion within a democratic society, which necessitates as a cumbrous and old-fashioned relic of modernity. that the voices of women and Others be heard. The The everyday reality of work intensification, competisocial project that sought equitable representation tion and uncertainty, which includes the need to reinwas frustrated by the neoliberal turn. Relying on the vent the self or face redundancy, has very effectively tired gender refrain, ‘it’s just a matter of time’, in the suppressed the voices of women and Others within expectation that the number of women students will the academy so that the discourses of EEO have been eventually right the skewed gender staffing profile rendered passé. Neoliberalism is obsessed with commerely serves to reify the status quo. petitive individualism, displaying little patience with EEO is not just about ‘letting in’ more women to the notions of collective good and redistributive jusuniversities, although the statistical data reveals the tice unless the collective is understood in terms of the low representation of women staff, particularly within interests of the corporation. the higher echelons (Queensland University of TechFeminists are also ambivalent about EEO, for it may nology, Equity Section 2007). It is a discourse and an be equated with assimilation to a masculinist standepistemology that challenges the dominance of benchard so as to construct women as marginal or lacking mark masculinity. For this reason, it had to go. Excision (Ferres 1995). Hence, the language of diversity may

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was supported by the coincidence of corporatisation, where the technologies of audit insidiously operate to induce homogeneity and quell dissent. The discourse of diversity has effectively reified these technologies by further neutralising and depoliticising benchmark masculinity in order to deflect attention from the play of power beneath the surface. Margaret Thornton is Professor of Law and ARC Professorial Fellow at the Australian National University. Versions of this paper were presented as a keynote address at the Equal Opportunity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EOPHEA) conference, Melbourne, 19-22 November 2007 and the Gender, Sexuality and Culture Seminar Series, ANU, 19 March 2008. Thanks to Dr Trish Luker for research assistance and the ARC for financial assistance.

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Morley, L 2005, ‘Sounds, Silences and Contradictions: Gender Equity in British Commonwealth Higher Education’, Australian Feminist Studies, 20(46), pp. 109–119. Newman, J H 1976 (1st ed. 1852), The Idea of a University, ed. with intro. and notes by I T Ker, Clarendon, Oxford. Noble, C & Mears, J 1995,‘EEO and the “New” Universities: A Case Study’ in Payne, A P & Shoemark, L (eds), Women Culture and Universities: A Chilly Climate?, National Conference on the Effect of Organisation Culture on Women in Universities, UTS Women’s Forum, Sydney. O’Brien, M 1984, ‘The Commatisation of Women: Patriarchal Fetishism in the Sociology of Education’, Interchange 15(2), pp. 43–59. Payne, A M & Shoemark, L (eds) 1995, Women Culture and Universities: A Chilly Climate?, National Conference on the Effect of Organisation Culture on Women in Universities, UTS Women’s Forum, Sydney. Peetz, D 2007, ‘Collateral Damage: Women and the WorkChoices Battlefield’ <www.qpsu.org.au> Poiner, G & Burke, R 1988, No Primrose Path: Women as Staff at the University of Sydney, University of Sydney. Power, M 1997, The Audit Culture: Rituals of Verification, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Probert, B 2005, ‘“I just couldn’t fit it in”: Gender and Unequal Outcomes in Academic Careers’, Gender, Work and Organization, 12(1), pp. 50–72. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Equity Section statistics based on DEST data 2007, Selected Inter-Institutional Gender Equity Statistics, November.

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Reconceptualising postPhD research pathways A model to create new postdoctoral positions and improve the quality of postdoctoral training in Australia J Berman, S Juniper, T Pitman & C Thomson University of Western Australia

Focusing on the developmental needs of early career postdoctoral fellows – the lifeblood of an internationally competitive researchintensive university – this paper suggests an inextricably linked, two pronged approach to improving research performance at Australian universities. The first is to reconceptualise post-PhD research pathways and in doing so conceive a mechanism for creating new postdoctoral positions; the second is to develop a coherent programme of policies, processes and practices in postdoctoral education and training. In this way, Australian universities will increase their success in attracting and retaining the brightest and best postdoctoral students from all over the world and thereby improve research performance.

Introduction: developments in researcher training in the US and UK In 1998 the Graduate and Postdoctoral Education Committee of the Association of American Universities (AAU), recognising that postdoctoral students (‘postdocs’) have a crucial role in helping research intensive universities realise their full potential in research activity and accomplishments, made a series of recommendations for improving postdoctoral training (AAU, 2005). A key player in the drive for implementing the recommendations has been the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA, formed in 2003) which has 140 institutional members and represents over 40,000 postdocs. The AAU and the NPA have been working to re-establish the postdoc as a trainee, in transition between postdoctoral training and permanent employment. The definition of postdoc, as recommended by the AAU, is ‘a recent doctoral graduate, in a temporary position, engaged in full-time research under the supervision vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

of a faculty member, in preparation for an academic career’ (AAU, 2005). They assert that during the three to five-year training period, frequently referred to as a ‘transition to independence’, postdocs should receive the advanced instruction needed to embark on a successful career. As a consequence of the AAU’s recommendations and NPA’s activities, more attention has been given to postdoctoral training by the National Academies, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other government and non profit organisations. Indeed, in mid 2007 the US Congress approved a new provision on postdoctoral mentoring as part of a larger bill reauthorising the NSF. Developments in postdoctoral training in the US were echoed in the UK through the 1996 Research Careers Concordat between universities and funding agencies which agreed standards, expectations and responsibilities for the career management of researchers in universities on fixed term contracts. This initia-

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tive was followed by the Roberts Report (2002) SET for Success, which focused on increasing the quantity and quality of science, engineering and technology experts as part of the Government’s Productivity and Innovation Strategy. The findings of the report led to the Government’s provision of ‘Roberts money’, which included funding for generic skills training both for postgraduates and postdocs, the creation of up to 200 Research Council UK (RCUK) Academic Fellowships to provide better career paths into academic positions, and the establishment of the UK Higher Education Research Development Group (UKHERD), a national network of professionals charged with developing research staff in UK Higher Education under the auspices of RCUK. The RCUK is currently developing a new national researcher development program that will run from 2008-2012 and aims by 2008 to incorporate a new Code of Practice for Researchers into the terms and conditions of Council grants. These UK developments are in the main compatible with the 2005 European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. In addition to investing in improving the training of postdoctoral researchers, there have also been moves in the UK and US to implement policies and practices to attract the best researchers from abroad. Australia’s failure to respond to these developments will only further accelerate the ‘brain drain’ from this country. As we have seen, the US model was predominantly bottom up – the grassroots National Postdoctoral Association pushed for the creation of university postdoctoral offices which then worked together with the NPA to lobby government and funding bodies to address postdoctoral issues. In contrast, the UK model was mainly top down - initiated from, and funded by government. No such plans appear imminent from either direction in the current Australian context. Indeed, besides an excellent and in-depth 2001 Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs report (DETYA) (Thompson et al., 2001) on postdoctoral training and employment outcomes, there is a dearth of literature on the nature of postdoctoral training and issues relating to career researchers (Akerlind, 2005). This paper suggests that Australian universities should reconceptualise post-PhD research pathways and in doing so conceive a mechanism for creating new postdoctoral positions while concurrently implementing a coherent programme of policies, processes and practices in postdoctoral education and training. The outcomes would not only serve to improve research performance and

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productivity in Australian universities but also contribute to averting a potential increase in the ‘brain drain’ of our brightest and best to overseas universities. This is especially pressing in light of the anticipated difficulties in attracting and retaining sufficient numbers of quality academic staff in the coming decades.

Reconceptualising post-PhD research pathways There has been a massive growth in the number of PhD enrolments over the past decade. In 2001 there were 147,035 domestic students enrolled in postgraduate studies in Australian universities. In 2006 this had risen to 177,229, an increase of 21 per cent (DEST, 2007). A wide variety of potential post-PhD research pathways exists.A recent report on the employment outcomes of PhD graduates from the Group of Eight major research universities (G08) universities revealed that after five to seven years only 30 per cent worked as university lecturers or tutors (Western et al., 2007). There are disciplinary differences, with researchers in the medical and biomedical sciences having relatively more opportunities for ongoing funding within the NHMRC fellowships scheme (Thompson et al., 2001) but this may be because there are relatively fewer academic positions available.The relatively low numbers of PhD graduates continuing in academia and the varied employment destinations of postgraduates (Graduate Careers Australia, 2005) has contributed to the current trend in research training to increasingly recognise the central value of the PhD for the acquisition and development of advanced generic/transferable skills relevant to both research and employment (CADDOGS, 2005).As in the UK and the US, the generic skills debate in Australia focuses on identification of key skills and attributes (taking into account disciplinary differences); whether there should be a compulsory coursework component in the PhD (which inevitably impacts on PhD completion times), as well as issues relating to assessment and the cost of delivery. Curiously, although there has been some discussion about which skills need to be achieved before entry to doctoral degrees and which are appropriate for development within the doctorate itself (Gilbert et al., 2004; CADDOGS, 2005, Cooper and Juniper, 2002), there has been virtual silence on the subject of generic skills training for postdocs. While research undertaken in Australia and the UK indicates that most postdocs aspire to a research only or an academic career, this is not always achievable

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The crucial issue is that all postdocs, whether Postdoctoral Fellows or Research Associates, should be equally recognised as being in a transitional period of advanced research training. During this advanced training period – which could, it is proposed, be up to six years - postdocs should be provided with skills and training to enhance their ‘transition to independence’. In addition, a variety of career development and life skills workshops and seminars would offer postdocs opportunities to develop both transferable skills and to learn to support and manage their careers in sustainable ways. A protocol for the employment of postdoctoral researchers would ensure that team leaders provide postdocs with the time release necessary to take advantage of these opportunities. Tailored mentoring is essential to the success of postdoctoral training.All postdocs should be mentored according to individual institutional mentoring guidelines, which could include advice that aspiring career researchers and academics would benefit from being mobile and clarification that there is no institutional

or optimal for the individual (Thompson et al. 2001; Akerlind, 2005). Postdoctoral training should therefore reflect and cater for a range of possible research career pathways. This paper suggests that universities should consider implementing tailored postdoctoral training based on the pathway that best matches each postdoc’s particular interests, abilities and skill sets, as summarized in Figure 1. As indicated, it is suggested that all research appointments in the post-PhD phase should be referred to as postdoctoral.The exact nature of the postdoctoral appointment can be quite varied. For example the Australian Research Council (ARC) provides for a range of postdoctoral appointments, from research associates (RA) to senior fellows. Some postdocs are employed on another academic’s grant on the basis of their experience and would have played little or no part in the formation and submission of the grant. However, others may have played an active role in the design and submission of the application to the funding body but were ineligible to be Chief Investigators due to funding body regulations. Figure 1: Reconceptualising post-PhD research pathways

Non-University research – e.g. industry, CSIRO

Academic in non research –intensive University

Research- related e.g. R&D manager, specialist technician

Academic (research and teaching – continuing)

Career Researcher (continuing appointment)

Further postdoc/s elsewhere Optimal time for transition to realistic research career pathway

Candid assessment of most suitable career pathway

Postdoc Fellow

RA

Mentored advanced training (incl. opportunity for transition to independence), up to 6 years

PhD

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choose or develop the best strategies and approaches obligation for employment beyond postdoc training. to address that problem’ (www.nationalpostdoc.org). At the same time, postdocs would be expected to Furthermore postdocs should be able to demonstrate take responsibility for their career development and, a likelihood of being predominantly self-funded in as close as possible to recruitment, would be guided the future. This could be evidenced by track record, to design a career development plan with mutually such as having won two or three consecutive research agreed upon expectations, goals and milestones. grants either in their own name (usually as funded felUniversities should provide regular feedback on perlows or Chief Investigators) formance and a formal evalor, where this is not posuation should take place at From the viewpoint of the institution, the sible due to funding rules, least annually (perhaps via longer [contract research staff] remain ‘in by having had a significant an already existing profeslimbo’, hoping for a continuing position to role in winning external sional development review arise, the greater an informal expectation funding for research and processes). Discussion of is created that the university has an having played a key role the postdoc’s most probobligation towards them... in the ensuing projects. able career pathway would Career researchers would be an important focus of be expected to attract subthese meetings as subsestantial revenue from publications, external research quent training and career development will be based funding and the supervision of PhD students. on the pathway identified. Throughout their period of mentored advanced training, postdocs would receive advice to help Reconceptualised post-PhD research them best position themselves for a career path that pathways as a mechanism for creating matches their particular interests, abilities and skill new postdoctoral positions sets. Some might desire to become career researchers or academics in research-intensive universities, some At present in Australia there are many contract research may choose research-related career paths - for example staff who are working on projects for which funding as a specialised technician, R&D manager or commerwas obtained by someone else. The roles they undercialisation manager, while others may prefer to work take – ranging from research duties (including project in a non-research intensive university or to research and laboratory management) to specialist technical in a non-university environment such as in industry support and course coordination – are vital for the or public service. In addition there exist pathways functioning of their research teams and units. However, in publicly funded, non-university research agencies, it is in neither the postdoc’s nor the institution’s intersuch as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial est that this arrangement continue indefinitely. From Research Organisation (CSIRO),Australia’s national scithe viewpoint of postdocs, they face career uncertainty ence agency and one of the largest and most diverse as they often move from short-term contract to shortscientific institutions in the world. term contract and frequently only succeed in remainAfter the period of mentored advanced training,a posting afloat by scraping together funding from a variety doc researcher aspiring to become a career researcher of sources. Their particular interests, abilities and skill might, subject to performance, apply for a continuing sets may be better suited to, and better rewarded in position as a career researcher. Applicants for a conalternative career paths. tinuing position as a career researcher would have to From the viewpoint of the institution, the longer demonstrate a capacity for independent research. Instithey remain ‘in limbo’, hoping for a continuing positutions should be encouraged to explain exactly what tion to arise, the greater an informal expectation is constitutes ‘independent research’ as there is always an created that the university has an obligation towards inherent danger of misunderstanding when subjective them – either by creating a continuing position or terms are applied. For example, the National Postdocthrough loyalty offering a position rather than appointtoral Association (NPA) in the US defines an independing on merit. Finally, these researchers are continuing ent researcher as one who ‘…enjoys independence of to occupy positions which could be advertised in thought – the freedom to define the problems of interopen competition, and allow high-quality completed est and/or to choose or develop the interest and/or to postgraduates to gain valuable postdoctoral train-

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ing necessary for their establishment as independent researchers. Two case studies, detailed below, further illustrate this point. Case study A: the research associate in a science faculty of a research-intensive Australian university The postdoc in this case is employed as a research associate on a large grant, has publications, helps to supervise a number of PhD students, performs essential work in the laboratory and contributes to the administrative management of the research group.Yet, according to the Head of School, she does not possess the skills required to make the transition to independent scientist. The postdoc has managed to remain on staff thus far in a number of short-term positions but there will not be funding via the team leader’s grants forever. In the opinion of the Head of School, it is highly likely that at some stage the postdoc may have no choice but to make a career transition to industry or elsewhere. However, no-one is taking an active role in managing this process – it is assumed that the grant will run its course and the postdoc will only then accept that ‘the writing is on the wall’ and move on. This situation is potentially detrimental to the postdoc’s career. It is almost certain that it is in the postdoc’s best interests to be encouraged to apply elsewhere sooner, while she is relatively young. Case study B: the postdoc in an arts faculty of a research-intensive Australian university This postdoc has, for almost a decade, oscillated between providing teaching relief for academic staff who have research commitments and working as a research associate on successful research grants won by other staff. In the case of the former he is not necessarily seen as an expert in the teaching material, but rather as someone who understands the overall syllabus and administrative structure of the faculty. In the case of the latter he is primarily employed as the research associate because the team he works with feels a sense of loyalty and responsibility. This sense is increased with each new grant that is won. Unfortunately for the institution, the postdoc has become passive in the arrangement. He now has a sense of expectation that his work is acceptable and that it is easier for the faculty to use him for their teaching and research support than look elsewhere. The postdoc does not have the capacity to achieve an independent research career and has a track record which is unlikely vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

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to be competitive for an academic position. It is in the interests of the university to terminate the relationship with the postdoc; however it is equally true that the research team has a duty of care to counsel the postdoc and provide meaningful support to assist him in a transition to another career. Contract research staff who are not successful in attracting funding in their own right play a key role by performing functions which are vital to the operations of their research team. This is true, but is it optimal? This paper recommends that research positions such as those described above be prioritised for new postdoctoral scholars with potential for independent research careers.They form the lifeblood of an internationally competitive research intensive university. Postdoctoral training positions are rare; resources must be maximised and opportunities not wasted.

Improving the quality of postdoctoral training In order to improve the quality of postdoctoral training, Australian universities should consider appointing a Postdoctoral Coordinator with primary responsibility for postdoctoral affairs. This is a model which has proved successful elsewhere, for example in the US (Postdoctoral Fellows Focus Group, 2007; AAU, 1997; AAU, 2005; NPA, 2005) and has been advocated for adoption in Australia (Thompson et al., 2001). The coordinator provides a crucial link between researchers and the administration and devises strategies to increase postdoctoral productivity and creativity by removing potential barriers to success. Standard postdoctoral policies and procedures should be implemented, including: a letter of appointment; a centralised appointment process to help identify, track and reach out to postdocs; a check in orientation for postdocs; a protocol for the employment of postdoctoral researchers to ensure that team leaders provide postdocs with the time release necessary to avail themselves of research and career development training; a standard set of benefits and practices, regardless of funding source or level; exit surveys and tracking of postdocs into their careers; a postdoc committee to liaise between administration and postdocs with the aim of enhancing the postdoc experience (including both postdocs and academic staff); a curriculum for postdoc training to assist the postdoc’s transition to independence; mentoring according to institutional guidelines; and a regular annual or bian-

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nual review of training progress (including feedback to postdocs and their mentors), undertaken by tenured professors who are not directly involved in or benefiting from the postdoc’s research efforts. Professional development, career development and life skills workshops and seminars which accommodate a range of possible career trajectories should be offered. Workshops could include: • conflict management • team work (including teams and the team process), • communicating effectively • networking • interview techniques • leadership qualities • public speaking and presentation skills • career planning and research employment opportunities in academia and industry as well as alternative careers (including transition advice and CV preparation and job searching skills) • issues specific to international postdocs (visa delays, language barriers, cultural biases) • managing a project and a laboratory • building and maintaining sustainable relationships with industry • grant writing • building a track record in research • mentor and mentee training • research ethics, and • PhD supervision. This seminar series should be complemented with relevant resources, including career development resources, web based news service and links, a survival guide for international postdocs (including FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions), and online information about housing, childcare and immigration issues. Social events for postdocs should be organised, including the establishment of a postdoctoral society for meeting other postdocs, networking and educational activities.Within limits, support for the families of postdocs could be provided in areas such as partner’s employment, accommodation, and childcare/school. A mentoring program for all postdocs should be implemented. In their ‘Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors’, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Graduate, Research, Education and Training (GREAT) asserts that ‘effective mentoring is critical to postdoctoral training and requires that the primary mentor dedicate substantial time to ensure personal and professional development’ (AAMC, 2006). Similarly, the “…critical

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role of supervisor mentoring, and professional socialisation beyond mere thesis supervision, in producing strong outcomes” is advocated by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) (Western et al., 2007: 57). Mentoring schemes should include the following as prerequisites for success: top down support (senior administration) combined with bottom up assistance (active postdoc association); avoidance of possible conflicts of interests, with mentors being selected from outside the research group; a culture of willing mentors which is developed and nurtured; the use of individual development plans; and recognition by Promotions & Tenure committee of the crucial role of mentoring to the research endeavour. All of this requires the institution to inculcate a culture of mentoring. Some of the arguments for participating in a mentoring scheme would include pointing out that mentoring is an important part of faculty life since it contributes to the research community to which the mentor belongs; fulfils requirements of granting agencies; and develops and advances the next generation of investigators who will lead the research enterprise. It also makes an important and positive difference to a protégé, provides an impetus for reflections on one’s own career, and it is exciting and rewarding to be involved in fostering the independence of new investigators. Funding bodies should be lobbied to re-evaluate their policies regarding postdocs, and professional societies encouraged to collaborate in the development of innovative programs to meet better the needs of postdoctoral scholars. For example, lobbying of the National Institutes of Health in the US by the National Postdoctoral Association to support transitioning postdocs to scientific independence and to fund programs that promote the professional development of postdocs has led to the establishment of NIH and NSF definitions of a postdoc. Furthermore the NIH has instituted a ‘Pathways to Independence Awards’ and ‘Guidelines for professional development on training grants’. For its part, the NSF Geosciences Directorate has produced ‘Guidelines for Principal Investigators’ concerning mentoring on research grants. All of the above-mentioned measures are linked by an over-arching theme of expectation. Currently, in Australian universities, postdocs are set adrift with no clear direction on what is expected from them, outside of the direct and specific outcomes associated with the research they are conducting. Likewise, individuals working with the postdocs – most notably

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the chief investigators and heads of school – are not exactly sure what their responsibilities are in respect of career guidance and professional development of the postdoc. Ideally, academics working with postdocs should, at the commencement of employment, make clear the range of possible research career pathways, realistic expectations for career advancement, and the support available to achieve identified goals.

References

Conclusion

Association of American Universities (AAU) Graduate and Postdoctoral Education Committee 2005, Postdoctoral Education Survey: Summary of results. Retrieved 15 May 2007 from <www.aau.edu/education/05_PostDocSumm101705.pdf>

Over the past decade, universities in the US and Europe have been investing heavily in addressing the developmental needs of early-career postdoctoral scholars. This paper suggests that universities in Australia adopt a similar framework to improve the quality of training and support provided to early career postdoctoral fellows. This will not only serve to improve research performance in Australia but will also avert a potential increase in the ‘brain drain’ of our brightest and best to overseas universities. This is especially pressing in light of the anticipated retirement, over the coming decade, of a large cohort of academics, not only in Australia but worldwide and the expected difficulties in attracting and retaining sufficient quality academic staff in the coming decades. Dr Judith Berman is Senior Research Development Officer, Research Services, University of Western Australia. Dr Sato Juniper is Manager, Graduate Research and Scholarships, Graduate Research and Scholarships Office, University of Western Australia.

Akerlind, G 2005, ‘Postdoctoral researchers: roles, functions and career prospects’, Higher Education Research & Development, 24: 1, pp. 21–40. Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2006, The Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors. Retrieved 8 June 2007 from <www. aamc.org/research/postdoccompact/postdoccompact.pdf> Association of American Universities (AAU) 1997, Committee of Postdoctoral Education: Report and recommendations. Retrieved 16 April 2007 from <www.gradsch.psu.edu/policies/faculty/aau.html>

Cooper, G & Juniper, S 2002, ‘A postgraduate research training programme in generic skills and strategies: description and evaluation’, Research and Development in Higher Education, 25: 136–43. Council of Australian Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies (CADDOGS) 2005, Framework and Context Statement for best practice in generic capabilities for research students in Australian universities. Retrieved 10th November 2007 from <www.ddogs.edu.au/download/1522830306> Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) 2007, Students 2006 [full year]: selected higher education statistics. Retrieved 2 November 2007 from <www.dest.gov.au/sectors/higher_education/publications_resources/profiles/students_2006_selected_higher_education_statistics.htm> Gilbert, R, Balatti, J, Turner, P & Whitehouse, H 2004, ‘The generic skills debate in research higher degrees’, Higher Education Research & Development, 23:3, pp. 375–388. Graduate Careers Australia 2005, Postgraduate Destinations 2004: The report of the Graduate Destinations Survey. Graduate Careers Council of Australia, Melbourne. National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) 2005, Recommendations for Postdoctoral Policies and Practices. Retrieved 12 September 2007 from <www. nationalpostdoc.org> Postdoctoral Fellows Focus Group 2007, ‘A 10-Step Plan for Better Postdoc Training’, The Scientist, 20 (1). Retrieved 21 May 2007 from <www.the-scientist.com/ article/display/18834/> Roberts, G 2002, SET for Success: the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. Retrieved 15 September 2007 from <www. hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/F/8/>

Mr Tim Pitman is Research Development Officer, Research Services, University of Western Australia.

Thompson, J, Pearson M, Akerlind G, Hooper J & Mazur N 2001, Postdoctoral Training and Employment Outcomes, Evaluations and Investigations Programme (EIP) Report, Canberra: Higher Education Division, DETYA.

Dr Campbell Thomson is Director, Development and Research Services, University of Western Australia.

Western, M, Kubler, M, Western, J, Clague, D, Boreham, P, Laffan, W & Lawson, A 2007, PhD Graduates 5 to 7 Years Out: Employment outcomes, job attributes and the quality of research training. University of Queensland, prepared for DEST.

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REVIEWS

The legitimacy of quality assurance in higher education Council of Europe higher education series No.9 by Luc Weber and Katia Dolgova-Dreyer (eds) ISBN 9789287162373, 158 pp., Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, 2007 Review by David Woodhouse This is the ninth volume in the Council of Europe Higher Education Series, and draws on two previous publications and two fora. It considers quality assurance (QA) from the triple perspective of public responsibility, institutional governance and legitimacy, including the co-existence of public and private systems. Although it is written in a European context, with mainly European examples, and is intended to contribute to the development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), it covers a great deal of ground in QA and gives examples of how the main principles of QA may be implemented in different countries and circumstances. It is therefore of interest to a much broader audience in a context in which the international discussion ‘is no longer on whether a QA system is needed, but on what this system should be like’ (p. 10). Lindqvist points out that ‘One of the key elements in setting up the EHEA is the quality of higher education and the development of quality assurance systems for higher education institutions’ (p. 49). Purser observes: ‘The basic credibility for [the] broader European QA contexts now rests on the Bologna process, and on the commitment of ministers, higher education institutions, staff, students and stakeholders to work towards the Bologna goals.This European dimension has added and extra layer of legitimacy to QA processes’ (p. 147). Amaral adds that ‘There is an indisputable responsibility and legitimacy of public authorities in guaranteeing the quality of higher education’ (p. 40). In Europe, there is a movement towards systems based on accreditation mechanisms. Although the first chapter of the book ignores US accreditation which has been in place for over a century and speaks as though quality assurance began only 20 years ago (p. 21), Amaral looks to the US experience and quotes

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Trow from 1994 on the defects of US accreditation:‘to a considerable extent, external academic accountability in the US, mainly in the form of accreditation, has been irrelevant to the improvement of higher education’ (p. 42). He then points out that Dill recommends that the route to quality assurance must combine ‘a mutually reinforcing system of institution-based quality assessments of teaching and learning and a system of external academic audits’ (p. 43).As the Series Editor says external QA is a complement to internal QA and development’ (p. 7). Nonetheless, the EU has opted for accreditation, which probably translates to an increasing mistrust of institutions and academic peer review methods, a trend that is being followed by a number of European countries.The use of performance indicators and benchmarks is becoming a common practice in European policy implementation, which is congruent with the implementation of accreditation mechanisms, rankings of institutions and the emergence of a stratified EHEA. Williams describes the development of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) for quality in relation to institutions and QA agencies (p. 75f). The ESG were developed in the context of the European universities Association’s (EUA) Graz Declaration of 2003:‘the purpose of a European dimension to QA is to promote mutual trust and improve transparency, while respecting the diversity of national contexts and subject areas’ (p. 76). However, the present inclination towards using the ESG as criteria for entry into the emerging register of (European) QA agencies. While it makes sense not to have two conflicting sets of criteria, this move might lead to the ESG being regarded more as a checklist than as reference points to guide institutions and agencies in their development. Examples of implemen-

The legitimacy of quality assurance in higher education , Review by David Woodhouse

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tation of the ESG are given from two countries. Kohler (p. 59f) outlines some parameters for governance of institutions and systems that are conducive to QA. Rauhvargers (p. 107f) discusses the link between QA and the recognition of individual qualifications, referring to cross-border qualifications, joint degrees, mutual trust, the work of the European Consortium for Accreditation, the ENIC/NARIC centres, the ESG and qualifications frameworks. As Weber says: ‘QA will greatly facilitate recognition, but recognition does not follow automatically from QA’ (p. 11). It is also not clear that the mutual recognition agreements signed between QA agencies will often be invoked.The problems experienced by students in achieving credit

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for partial study abroad are another area that needs greater attention. Sharp (p. 117f) goes to the heart of ‘why are we doing all this?’ and the answer he gives is ‘to achieve educational excellence’. In this context, he states that ‘the impact of QA processes will be maximised when the outcomes of the QA systems themselves become inputs and we move into the virtuous circle of quality enhancement’ (p. 120). Purser concludes: ‘QA is continuously moving … balanced approaches, grounded in the core values of higher education and research, are needed to ensure that the legitimacy of QA continues to grow among all actors and stakeholders’ (p. 147).

Casting for the VC Recruitment and Selection of Vice-Chancellors for Australian Universities by Bernard O’Meara and Stanley Petzall ISBN 9781876851309, Victorian Universities Regional Research Network Press, Ballarat 2007 Review by Paul Rodan In an introductory note to this volume, readers are advised that ‘to ensure the monograph is easier to read, less than 50 per cent of the original appendices have been included’. Unfortunately, in order to ‘ensure’ that a research thesis is readable, more is needed than mere exclusion of appendices: substantial modification is usually desirable, since what was necessary to survive the PhD examination process is not synonymous with what is needed to hold the interest of a less captive reader. Curiously, the supervisor of the thesis is a full co-author. Potentially, the topic is of interest to large sections of the higher education community. After all, vicechancellors (VCs) are the key leadership figures in the industry, their decisions affect most of those reading this journal, and there have been some controversial comings and goings in recent years. It would seem a reasonable hope that some of the more spectacular vice-chancellor problem appointments might have been analysed for flaws in the selection process, but alas – not so. Those seeking ‘meat’ in this volume will be confronted by the vegetarian/tofu alternative. For all but a human resources (HR) academic, the theoretical perspectives and US literature review vol. 50, no. 2, 2008

could have been substantially cut back. Using publicly available material, the authors provide a range of data on vice-chancellors from 1960 to 2000: age, tenure, gender, previous role, discipline base, internal or external candidate, marital/parental status, recreation, club membership, honours, school system attended, university attended, academic achievement, major career, country of birth. From a methodology point of view, it is puzzling that the authors restrict their school categories to ‘government’ or ‘independent’, ignoring the usual sub-division of the latter into the elite and the less elite: there is clearly a substantial difference in the view from Melbourne’s elite high-fee Scotch College compared with that from (say) a Christian Brothers school in a working class suburb, charging minimal fees. Equally odd was the exclusion of UQ and UWA from the same category as the first four Australian universities, creating ‘19th Century institutions’ and ‘early 20th Century institutions’– a meaningless division. In any event, by most of the indicators, the story from 1960 to 2000 has not been linear.The proportion of VCs with a government school background was 40 Casting for the VC , Review by Paul Rodan

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per cent in 1960, peaked at 50 per cent in 1990 and in 2000 was 28 per cent. The problem with these data is that, with only thirty nine institutions, one or two changes can skew a percentage. In summary, there are now women VCs; fewer VCs are in the Melbourne Club and its ilk; there are no knighted VCs left and some time between 1985 and 1990, it became possible for unmarried folks to become VCs. The volume outlines the impact of an increase in the number of universities in creating more leadership opportunities, along with the emergence of more apprenticeship paths as greater institutional size and complexity saw a growth in DVC and PVC posts. With a pecking order amongst the larger number of institutions, a growing number of VCs will move to the leadership of another university. The more original contribution of the book lies in its examination of recruitment and selection documentation from Australian universities, along with surveys administered to participants in the selection process: current and former VCs, current and former chancellors, and other selection panel members. In not one of the categories was a majority response rate obtained, due to the death of some of those involved, claims of faulty memory by others and (most common) concerns about sensitivity/confidentiality, this despite the instrument being relatively benign and non-threatening. Thus, it is not possible for the responses to be viewed as representative: indeed, given what might be presumed of the non-respondents, it could be concluded that an important perspective was absent. Still, a fair set of impressions was obtained. Newer universities were more likely to seek a CEO type with threshold academic credibility, while older elite institutions could opt for academic eminence, but it is probably more the case that their status affords greater freedom of choice. The trend is towards smaller selection committees, reflecting hostility to representative membership, but this reviewer notes that governing councils are increasingly smaller themselves. VC selection is clearly the chancellor’s moment in the sun, even for those who are largely ceremonial between VC appointments. Use of search firms/consultants is probably growing, but nothing in the text persuaded this reviewer that such practice is money well spent. Sadly, for those of democratic bent, the practice of presentations to key groups by short-listed candidates seems on the wane, as frail egos cite the need for confidentiality of application. The process was invariably dependent on interviews, with no instance of psy-

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Casting for the VC , Review by Paul Rodan

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chological type testing being cited. On this point, the authors implicitly endorsed the view that candidates for a VC position had, by virtue of prior record, laid open their leadership characteristics for all to see. Some will share my opinion that this is a contestable proposition. The book concludes with two selection case studies in which the inexplicable effort to shroud the identity of the institutions borders on farce: any vaguely knowledgeable reader could identify them as RMIT University and University of Ballarat. In the case of the latter, the authors (one of whom works at that institution) write that ‘The [successful] candidate interviewed exceptionally well and was appointed for a period of six years.’ This is an extraordinary claim by someone not present at the interview, and leaves this reviewer with some concerns about objectivity. Coincidentally, these two appointments proved rather controversial. In the case of Ballarat, the ‘exceptional interviewee’ adopted a highly aggressive approach on industrial relations which, right or wrong, diverted considerable energy and resources into conflict and by the end of his tenure, left the institution less united than he found it. At the very least, the authors might have explored the extent to which this approach could have been predicted and whether such issues were raised in the selection process. The Ballarat author was well-placed to investigate this and while off the record sources may be best avoided in a PhD, some well-informed speculation would not have been out of place in this book. In the case of RMIT, the sin of omission is even graver, since the forced resignation of the VC is referred to earlier in the text, but (consistent with the pretence that we’re not supposed to know that it is RMIT) is not taken up in the case study. Given that Ruth Dunkin’s resignation produced a volume of public commentary about the nature of her selection and the process, this is negligent at worst and a lost opportunity at best. Ultimately, while the description of selection processes and the views of some participants are of value, most potential readers are probably more interested in whether the processes work, as determined by available evidence. Failed vice-chancellorships provide an obvious opportunity to examine the relevant selection process for flaws, to see what went wrong, could this have been predicted from past behaviours or personality traits? In ignoring these opportunities, especially given a raft of resignations between thesis submission (2002) and the time of updating material (2005), the authors have denied readers a livelier flesh and blood product. vol. 50, no. 2, 2008


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