University of South Australia | Developments & News

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[Shuz]
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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#331 Post by [Shuz] » Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:36 am

I'm very surprised why this is even being considered given that the majority of people don't even want it to happen.
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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#332 Post by SRW » Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:54 am

Llessur2002 wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:22 am
SRW wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:13 am
Don't forget UofA also has Roseworthy and Waite, and UniSA is in Whyalla and Mt Gambier.

In terms of the city campuses it would be logical enough to consolidate disciplines east or west (e.g. Medical/Health to West). Either way they will need new buildings, depending on decisions about teaching delivery. UniSA is quite good at external/online teaching but UofA mostly spurns it, and is consequently short of physical teaching space. A bigger uni would also probably attract more students (this is one of the arguments in favour). I wonder if the recently proposed UniSA building will be placed on the back-burner pending outcome?

The most curious part for me is that Flinders is not mentioned. In the 2018 talks, it declined to participate. But as these talks resulted from a state government 3-to-1 merger policy, I'd've thought they'd feel obliged to partake (although, to be fair, given funding comes almost wholly from the Commonwealth the state has limited leverage but for changing establishing acts in parliament).

It would be unfortunate if Flinders is not part of the considerations. I'm sceptical of the benefits of a merger between UofA and UniSA but can see complementarities between UniSA and Flinders. For one, it would give UniSA a medical degree and teaching hospital. Alternatively, if there's a decision that the state needs 2 unis instead of 3 or 1, perhaps UniSA and UofA do merge but Flinders takes Mawson Lakes to be our suburban institution. If we're doing this, do it holistically.
I don't believe the merger commission was going to specifically look at merging all three institutions - just two as a minimum. I suspect Flinders are quite happy being left out of the discussions and would probably benefit from the merging of the other two as they'll attract students who are specifically looking for a smaller institution and/or those who did not want to attend UniSA or UoA for other reasons.
It didn't set an expectation of which institutions (if any) merge, but Labor's policy proposal specifically stated all would be involved:
Labor in government will establish a University Merger Commission to chart a path. It will include the leadership of the three universities and be headed up by an eminent commissioner with higher education experience.
Perhaps Flinders will only be involved when the commission is formally established mid next year?
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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#333 Post by EBG » Thu Dec 08, 2022 11:36 am

Back in the late 60's early seventies Flinders Uni went to great trouble to become independent from Adelaide Uni. It was originally set up as the university of Adelaide at Bedford park.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#334 Post by Brucetiki » Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:02 pm

Well...it's been about 30 years since UniSA large major merger, so they're due another one :D

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#335 Post by Prodical » Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:34 pm

I do not understand the "forced" merger of these two universities - big is not beautiful and the culture at each of our three unis is quite different (which is not a bad thing - unis specialise). The best universities in the world are not the biggest -

Adelaide as a population of 1.6m and can support three unis.

Melbourne is much larger (by probably 3) but has RMIT + Melbourne + Monash + Swinburne + Victoria University + La Trobe + Deakin + the Australian Catholic Uni + private institutions. There is also Federation uni at Ballarat

IMO this is an answer looking for a question.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#336 Post by Algernon » Fri Dec 09, 2022 1:28 am

Prodical wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:34 pm
I do not understand the "forced" merger of these two universities - big is not beautiful and the culture at each of our three unis is quite different (which is not a bad thing - unis specialise).
Recall from my times as a UniSA student 20 years ago, Adelaide Uni students loved calling us Super Tafe

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#337 Post by Norman » Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:30 am

Prodical wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:34 pm
I do not understand the "forced" merger of these two universities - big is not beautiful and the culture at each of our three unis is quite different (which is not a bad thing - unis specialise). The best universities in the world are not the biggest -

Adelaide as a population of 1.6m and can support three unis.

Melbourne is much larger (by probably 3) but has RMIT + Melbourne + Monash + Swinburne + Victoria University + La Trobe + Deakin + the Australian Catholic Uni + private institutions. There is also Federation uni at Ballarat

IMO this is an answer looking for a question.
I agree. Universities should differentiate themselves from each other and offer points of difference. Maybe the universities should focus on dropping niece subjects if they are having financial issues.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#338 Post by SRW » Fri Dec 09, 2022 1:08 pm

Norman wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:30 am
Maybe the universities should focus on dropping niche subjects if they are having financial issues.
A lot of this has already happened/is happening, but it's not always so simple. Some low enrolment courses have high prestige and/or research outcomes that feed into the (sadly) all important rankings. Not to mention contributing a social good (vs a solely economic/jobs prism).
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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#339 Post by abc » Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:48 pm

Prodical wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:34 pm
I do not understand the "forced" merger of these two universities - big is not beautiful and the culture at each of our three unis is quite different (which is not a bad thing - unis specialise). The best universities in the world are not the biggest -

Adelaide as a population of 1.6m and can support three unis.

Melbourne is much larger (by probably 3) but has RMIT + Melbourne + Monash + Swinburne + Victoria University + La Trobe + Deakin + the Australian Catholic Uni + private institutions. There is also Federation uni at Ballarat

IMO this is an answer looking for a question.
hate to be that guy, but I just am that guy with OCD... I think you added about 300k onto the Adelaide population there

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#340 Post by Patrick_27 » Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:12 pm

Flinders do research really well, so too does UoA; UniSA do practical learning really well vs. UoA. Both UniSA and Flinders do online learning really well. UniSA and Flinders have great business/international studies topics, Flinders and UoA have great Arts topics, UniSA/UoA/Flinders all have great law topics. The list goes on. UoA (for some reason) still holds greater international and domestic prestige over the other two, in spite of their lagging with the times.

Personally, this merger idea stinks, and seemingly is to stands to benefit UoA the most part because financially they’re up shit creek without a paddle. If it had to happen, philanthropically I think Flinders and UniSA would make for a better merger - both are taking similar steps forward to move into the new age of learning.

But as the media have since published (in the past 24 hours), Flinders were asked to join these discussions and never responded to those requests from UniSA and UoA.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#341 Post by Algernon » Sat Dec 10, 2022 12:39 am

Patrick_27 wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:12 pm
UoA (for some reason) still holds greater international and domestic prestige over the other two, in spite of their lagging with the times.
Rankings are weighted toward volume of journal publications and citations, so research focused unis will outperform the more practical/skills based colleges. Also a reason why many European institutions are outranked by poor Australian unis - no publication in English, less wide citations captured. The rankings are only fit for a narrow set of assumptions. Personally I consider it embarassing how lowly ranked unis can be in my country of residence compared to some Australian unis like UniSA. Not to say UniSA is a poor uni (I went there) - but the academic standards here are very high, certainly undeserving to be ranked several hundred places lower.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#342 Post by ChillyPhilly » Sat Dec 10, 2022 8:02 am

Llessur2002 wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:22 am
SRW wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:13 am
Don't forget UofA also has Roseworthy and Waite, and UniSA is in Whyalla and Mt Gambier.

In terms of the city campuses it would be logical enough to consolidate disciplines east or west (e.g. Medical/Health to West). Either way they will need new buildings, depending on decisions about teaching delivery. UniSA is quite good at external/online teaching but UofA mostly spurns it, and is consequently short of physical teaching space. A bigger uni would also probably attract more students (this is one of the arguments in favour). I wonder if the recently proposed UniSA building will be placed on the back-burner pending outcome?

The most curious part for me is that Flinders is not mentioned. In the 2018 talks, it declined to participate. But as these talks resulted from a state government 3-to-1 merger policy, I'd've thought they'd feel obliged to partake (although, to be fair, given funding comes almost wholly from the Commonwealth the state has limited leverage but for changing establishing acts in parliament).

It would be unfortunate if Flinders is not part of the considerations. I'm sceptical of the benefits of a merger between UofA and UniSA but can see complementarities between UniSA and Flinders. For one, it would give UniSA a medical degree and teaching hospital. Alternatively, if there's a decision that the state needs 2 unis instead of 3 or 1, perhaps UniSA and UofA do merge but Flinders takes Mawson Lakes to be our suburban institution. If we're doing this, do it holistically.
I don't believe the merger commission was going to specifically look at merging all three institutions - just two as a minimum. I suspect Flinders are quite happy being left out of the discussions and would probably benefit from the merging of the other two as they'll attract students who are specifically looking for a smaller institution and/or those who did not want to attend UniSA or UoA for other reasons.
Flinders are definitely happy - they rejected the idea of being involved in the merger.
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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#343 Post by Llessur2002 » Sat Dec 10, 2022 2:11 pm

Algernon wrote:
Sat Dec 10, 2022 12:39 am
Patrick_27 wrote:
Fri Dec 09, 2022 11:12 pm
UoA (for some reason) still holds greater international and domestic prestige over the other two, in spite of their lagging with the times.
Rankings are weighted toward volume of journal publications and citations
Significant proportions of an institution's score in two of the major rankings schemes are based on the results of global reputation surveys of academics and employers (33% in the Times Higher Education and 50% in the QS World University Rankings) and there are good arguments that a large merged institution would be able perform far stronger in this respect than the existing smaller institutions can - at least in the medium to long term, if it is designed and managed well. Reputation is really what's holding back UoA's ranking performance in these two schemes, the citations and publications-related performance is pretty much as good as it gets score-wise.

Shanghai Jiao Tong's Academic Ranking of World Universities methodology is very publications/citations heavy with no reputation-based indicators. Here it's all about bibliometric output and the number of highly-cited authors an institution employs. Again, there are arguments that a larger institution would be able to better attract and compensate these authors as well as those publishing significant numbers of papers in the all-important Nature and Science journals.

I'm personally pretty excited by the prospect of a merger, I think it will bring benefits to the state that can't be achieved through the small institutions we currently have which, thanks to the way Commonwealth funding of undergraduate places is capped, are pretty much as big as they'll ever get.

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#344 Post by Listy » Sat Dec 10, 2022 4:33 pm

There's the small matter of 5 Nobel laureates too ...

FWIW Adelaide Uni reported a net surplus of $200 million this year, with 2.5 billion in assets and $250 million liabilities
UniSA reported a surplus of $50 million, with 1.2 billion in assets and $600 million liabilities
Flinders Uni is reporting a surplus of $36 million and assets of $1.1 billion / $250 million in liabilities
By contrast the University of Melbourne reports income of $151 million, with 10.5 billion in assets and 2.5 billion liabilities.

Financially, there's an order of magnitude difference between us and the eastern state unis, and size matters. While all 3 institutions are seemingly healthy enough financially, the reasons for a merger are more long term strategic - govt. funding for universities & research is becoming increasingly scarce, and an increasing percentage of the remaining funding is being scooped up by the big Uni's in Sydney and Melbourne (& ANU) with the rest of Australia missing out. So as a state we are locked in a battle of funding attrition with the eastern states and it makes sense to pool resources. (The major Unis in WA are also increasingly pooling resources and are proposing the creation of a super statewide entity (akin to the University of California model), so SA is not alone in this concern about access to research and education funding)

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Re: University of South Australia | Developments & News

#345 Post by NTRabbit » Sun Dec 11, 2022 9:10 pm

[Shuz] wrote:
Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:36 am
I'm very surprised why this is even being considered given that the majority of people don't even want it to happen.
A friend who is an academic at an interstate institution told me that UofA was floundering across the board even before Covid ripped away all their full fee paying internationals, and this is more about keeping UofA alive than anything else.

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