ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Welcome to ‘The New Social Contract’, a podcast that examines how the relationship between universities, the state and the public might be reshaped as we live through this global pandemic.
NEWS GRAB: Linda Mottram, Journalist on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “Universities were among the first big organizations in Australia to take a massive hit from the pandemic when lucrative international students were banned from returning to this country”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Universities have existed for close to a thousand years and across the centuries they have been places for making sense of the world and for shaping it. But it would be a mistake to see universities as static and unchanging.
Under the pressures of war, political rupture and social and economic demands, they have often been remade. So, is this what we’re experiencing now, as COVID-19 rips through our lives?
NEWS GRAB: Alison Barnes, National President of the NTEU on Sky News ‘Govt university package all ‘smoke and mirrors’ “…there could be up to 21000 job losses across Australian universities”.
NEWS GRAB: George Megalogenis, Author and Journalist on RN Big Ideas ‘The purpose and future of the university (part two)’ – a broadcast version of an event presented by the ANU College of Law and the ANU Centre for Law, Arts & the Humanities, that was curated and facilitated by Natasha Cica of Kapacity.org at the National Library of Australia on 17 March 2020. Tamson was invited to participate in this talk as an expert in the history of universities, an area she’s been working on since 2004. “…The crisis we’re going through with COVID19 is the equivalent of the Second World War”.
NEWS GRAB: Alison Barnes, National President of the NTEU on Sky News ‘Govt university package all ‘smoke and mirrors’ “over the last decade, $10 billion of funding has been pulled out of Australian universities”.
NEWS GRAB: Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor, ANU on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “…This is the time to redesign… I don’t want a hard reset anymore than anyone else…I just think it is naive to think that big change is not on the way”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: As our old ways of working are suspended or transformed, it’s hard to know which of these changes are temporary – and which will be here to stay.
NEWS GRAB: Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor, ANU on PM ‘Fears Australian universities could collapse in wake of COVID-19’ “…rather than chasing the change that happens. I think we need to be leading the change”.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH: Meanwhile our students are looking at a future in which they bear the costs of this pandemic and the continuing ecological crisis.What will they demand of universities as they make lives in a very different kind of world?The uncertainty is making it difficult for everyone, for university leaders, academics and students.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR TAMSON PIETSCH:I’m Tamson Pietsch, a historian at the University of Technology Sydney and I’ve long been interested in universities and their relationship to society.I want to use this time in lockdown to begin a conversation with you about the kind of higher education sector our society needs. By using the lens of the past, present and even the future, we’ll investigate what the public can legitimately demand of their universities, and how higher education in Australia might be remade.
Episode One – is coming to your podcatcher soon…
MALE VOICE OVER: The New Social Contract is a podcast series made by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney. The production team live on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, whose lands were never ceded.
1 – https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/fears-australian-universities-could-collapse-in-wake-of-covid/12134658
2 – https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6148931486001
3 – https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/the-purpose-and-future-of-the-university.-part-two/12101262
4 – https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_6148931486001
5 – https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/pm/fears-australian-universities-could-collapse-in-wake-of-covid/12134658
In the season finale of The New Social Contract, host Tamson Pietsch is joined by Dr Gwilym Croucher, Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, to consider for the final time how the relationship between universities, the state and the public might be reshaped as we live through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this episode we look beyond Federal Education Minister Tehan’s proposals to ask three questions:
Higher education leaders and policy makers in Australia are facing a lot of hard decisions right now.
The New Social Contract Podcast spoke with UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs and Shadow Minister for Education and Training Tanya Plibersek to find out their different perspectives on the purpose and role of universities in the 21st century.
There are lots of factors contributing to the uncertainty in the tertiary sector at present – will international students return? How much debt can be sustained? What will happen to research funding?
But one thing that would make it easier to act in the present, is a clear plan for what universities should do in the future. What are universities in Australia for? The answer to that question will shape the kind of system we get.
*Note: The interview with Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs took place on Tuesday June 9 2020.
The interview with Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Education and Training took place on Tuesday June 16 2020.
Who is it that makes up the constituencies of a 21st century university? And what should different sections of the public be demanding from those institutions?
These questions go to the core of higher education’s purpose. Do universities create communities – or do communities create universities? And why might we be seeing the answers to these questions change?
Thanks to The New Social Contract episode six guests: